Du Bois Negro Church: Preface & Table of Contents

Du Bois Negro Church: Preface & Table of Contents


ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



 Report of a Social Study made under the direction of Atlanta University

together with the Proceedings of the Eighth Conference

for the Study of the Negro Problems, held at Atlanta University, May 26th, 1903



Books by Du Bois

The Suppression of the African Slave Trade  (1896)  / The Philadelphia Negro: A Social Study (1899)  / The Souls of Black Folk: Essays and Sketches (1903)  /  John Brown.(1909) 

The Quest of the Silver Fleece (1911)  /  Darkwater: Voices Within the Veil (1920)  Gift of Black Folk: The Negroes in the Making of America (1924)  / Dark Princess: A Romance (1928) 

 Black Reconstruction in America (1935) / Black Folk, Then and Now (1939)

Color and Democracy: Colonies and Peace (1945)  / The World and Africa: An Inquiry (1947)  / In Battle for Peace (1952)


A Trilogy: The Ordeal of Monsart (1957) Monsart Builds a School (1959) nd Worlds of Color (1961) / An ABC of Color: Selections (1963)


The Autobiography of W.E.B. Du Bois: A Soliloquy on Viewing My Life from the Last Decade of Its First Century (1968)

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Shirley Graham Du Bois, His Day Is Marching On: A Memoir of W.E. B. Du Bois (1971)


Leslie Alexander Lacy. The Life of W.E.B. Du Bois: Cheer the Lonesome Traveler (1970)


Du Bois on Reform: Periodical-based Leadership for African Americans. Edited and Introduced by Brian Johnson. 2005 / A Du Bois Bibliography


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Edited by W. E. Burghardt Du Bois, Corresponding Secretary of the Conference

The Atlanta University Press Atlanta, Ga. 1903

The Negro Church is the only social institution of the Negroes which started in the African forest and survived slavery; under the leadership of priest or medicine man, afterward of the Christian pastor, the Church preserved in itself the remnants of African tribal life and became after emancipation the center of Negro social life. So that today the Negro population of the United States is virtually divided into church congregations which are the real units of race life.

Report of the Third Atlanta Conference, 1898.



PREFACE . . . . .v

BIBLIOGRAPHY . . . . .vi

1. Primitive Negro Religion . . . . .1

2. Effect of Transplanting . . . . 2.

3. The Obeah Sorcery . . . . . 5

4. Slavery and Christianity . . . . .6

5. Early Restrictions . . . . . 10

6. The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel . . . . .12

7. The Moravians, Methodists, Baptists, and Presbyterians . . . . .15

8. The Sects and Slavery . . . . . 20

9. Toussaint L’Ouverture and Nat Turner . . . . .22

10. Third Period of Missionary Enterprise . . . . . 26

11. The Earlier Churches and Preachers. (By Mr. John W. Cromwell) . . . . .30

12. Some Other Ante-Bellum Preachers . . . . .35

13. The Negro Church in 1890 . . . . . 37

14. Local Studies, 1902-3 . . . . .49

15. A Black Belt County, Georgia. (By the Rev. W. H. Holloway) . . . . . 57

16. A Town in Florida. (By Annie Marion MacLean, Ph. D.) . . . . . 64

17. A Southern City . . . . .69

18. Virginia . . . . . 80

19. The Middle West, Illinois. (By Monroe N. Work, A. M., and the Editor) . . . . .83

20. The Middle West, Ohio. (By R. R. Wright, Jr.) . . . . . 92

21. An Eastern City . . . . . 108

22. Present Condition of Churches–The Baptists . . . . . 111

23. The African Methodists . . . . .123

25. The Zion Methodists . . . . . 131

26. The Colored Methodists . . . . . 133

27. The Methodists . . . . . 134

28. The Episcopalians . . . . . 138

29. The Presbyterians . . . . . 142

30. The Congregationalists . . . . .147

31. Summary of Negro Churches, 1900-1903 . . . . . 153

32. Negro Laymen and the Church . . . . . 154

33. Southern Whites and the Negro Church . . . . .164

34. The Moral Status of Negroes . . . . . 176

35. Children and the Church . . . . . 185

36. The Training of Ministers . . . . . 190

37. Some Notable Preachers . . . . . 202

38. The Eighth Atlanta Conference . . . . .202

39. Remarks of Dr. Washington Gladden . . . . .204

40. Resolutions . . . . . 207

Index . . . . . 209


A study of human life to-day involves a consideration of conditions of physical life, a study of various social organizations, beginning with the home, and investigations into occupations, education, religion and morality, crime and political activity. The Atlanta Cycle of studies into the Negro problem aims at exhaustive and periodic studies of all these subjects so far as they relate to the American Negro. Thus far, in the first eight years of the ten-year cycle, we have studied physical conditions of life (Reports No. 1 and No. 2), social organization (Reports No. 2 and No. 3), economic activity (Reports No. 4 and No. 7), and Education (Reports No. 5 and No. 6). This year we take up the important subject of the NEGRO CHURCH, studying the religion of Negroes and its influence on their moral habits.

Such a study could not be made exhaustive for lack of funds and organization. On the other hand, the United States government and the churches themselves have published a great deal of material and it is possible from this and limited investigations in various typical localities to make a study of some value.

This investigation bases its results on the following data:

United States Census of 1890.

Minutes of Conferences.

Reports of Conventions, Societies, etc.

Catalogues of Theological Schools.

Two hundred and fifty special reports from pastors and officials.

One hundred and seventy-five special reports from colored laymen.

One hundred and seventeen special reports from heads of schools and prominent men, white and colored.

Fifty-four special reports from Southern white persons.

Thirteen special reports from Colored Theological Schools.

One hundred and nine special reports from Northern Theological Schools.

Answers from 1,300 school children.

Local studies in–

Richmond, Virginia. . . . . . Atlanta, Georgia.

Chicago, Illinois. . . . . . Greene County, Ohio.

Thomas County, Georgia. . . . . . Deland, Florida.

General and periodical literature.

In the preparation of this report the editor begs to acknowledge his indebtedness to the several hundred persons who have so kindly answered his inquiries; to students in Atlanta University and Virginia Union University, who have made special investigations; and particularly to Professor B. F. Williams, Mr. M. N. Work, Mr. R. R. Wright, Jr., and Mr. W. H. Holloway, all of whom have given valuable time and services to this work.

The Rev. F. J. Grimke has kindly allowed the use of his unpublished report, made to the Hampton Conference in 1901; Mr. J. W. Cromwell has loaned us the results of his historical researches, and Dr. A. M. MacLean has given us the results of a valuable local study. The proof-reading was largely done by Mr. A. G. Dill.

Atlanta University has been conducting studies similar to this for the past seven years. The results, distributed at a nominal sum, have been widely used.

Notwithstanding this success the social problems that has ever faced the Nation, for substantial aid and encouragement in the further prosecution of these important studies is greatly hampered by the lack of funds. With meagre appropriations for expenses, lack of clerical help and necessary apparatus, the Conference cannot cope properly with the vast field of work before it.

We appeal therefore to those who think it worth while to study this, the greatest group of  further prosecution of the work of the Atlanta Conference.

Other sources: DocSouth

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#10 – John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

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#12 –The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 – The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 – The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 – Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can’t Commit  by RM Johnson

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#25 – Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

*   *   *   *   *

Hands on the Freedom Plow

Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC

By Faith S. Holsaert, Martha Prescod Norman Noonan

Judy Richardson, Betty Garman Robinson, et al.

The book opens a window onto the organizing tradition of the Southern civil rights movement. That tradition, rooted in the courage and persistence of ordinary people, has been obscured by the characterization of the civil rights struggle as consisting primarily of protest marches. In rural Dawson, Ga., Carolyn Daniels housed SNCC workers organizing for voter registration, and whites retaliated by bombing her home. But at the end of a vivid depiction of this and other anti-black terrorist acts, she writes, in an apt summary of the grass-roots organizing that is the real explanation for civil rights victories, “We just kept going and going.”

Organizing involved the kind of commitment and willingness to face risk that Penny Patch conveys in only a few short sentences describing covert nighttime meetings in plantation sharecropper shacks. Patch is white. But that did not lessen the fear or reduce the danger of remaining seated while poll watching in a country store as whites came in and out, giving her and her black co-worker menacing stares.

Full journalistic disclosure requires me to say that many of these women are friends and former comrades. But knowing the movement that we were all a part of also demands that I share my observation: While these pages look back, looking forward from them reveals that there are many useful lessons for today in the strength of these women.—Charles E. Cobb Jr.

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1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

By Charles C. Mann

I’m a big fan of Charles Mann’s previous book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, in which he provides a sweeping and provocative examination of North and South America prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus. It’s exhaustively researched but so wonderfully written that it’s anything but exhausting to read. With his follow-up, 1493, Mann has taken it to a new, truly global level. Building on the groundbreaking work of Alfred Crosby (author of The Columbian Exchange and, I’m proud to say, a fellow Nantucketer), Mann has written nothing less than the story of our world: how a planet of what were once several autonomous continents is quickly becoming a single, “globalized” entity.

Mann not only talked to countless scientists and researchers; he visited the places he writes about, and as a consequence, the book has a marvelously wide-ranging yet personal feel as we follow Mann from one far-flung corner of the world to the next. And always, the prose is masterful. In telling the improbable story of how Spanish and Chinese cultures collided in the Philippines in the sixteenth century, he takes us to the island of Mindoro whose “southern coast consists of a number of small bays, one next to another like tooth marks in an apple.” We learn how the spread of malaria, the potato, tobacco, guano, rubber plants, and sugar cane have disrupted and convulsed the planet and will continue to do so until we are finally living on one integrated or at least close-to-integrated Earth. Whether or not the human instigators of all this remarkable change will survive the process they helped to initiate more than five hundred years ago remains, Mann suggests in this monumental and revelatory book, an open question.

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The Persistence of the Color Line

Racial Politics and the Obama Presidency

By Randall Kennedy

Among the best things about The Persistence of the Color Line is watching Mr. Kennedy hash through the positions about Mr. Obama staked out by black commentators on the left and right, from Stanley Crouch and Cornel West to Juan Williams and Tavis Smiley. He can be pointed. Noting the way Mr. Smiley consistently “voiced skepticism regarding whether blacks should back Obama” . . .

The finest chapter in The Persistence of the Color Line is so resonant, and so personal, it could nearly be the basis for a book of its own. That chapter is titled “Reverend Wright and My Father: Reflections on Blacks and Patriotism.”  Recalling some of the criticisms of America’s past made by Mr. Obama’s former pastor, Mr. Kennedy writes with feeling about his own father, who put each of his three of his children through Princeton but who “never forgave American society for its racist mistreatment of him and those whom he most loved.”  His father distrusted the police, who had frequently called him “boy,” and rejected patriotism. Mr. Kennedy’s father “relished Muhammad Ali’s quip that the Vietcong had never called him ‘nigger.’ ” The author places his father, and Mr. Wright, in sympathetic historical light.

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery /

George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 — The Founding of Haiti 

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update 28 July 2008




Home  Turner-Cone Theology Index    Religion and Politics    WEB Du Bois Table  Toussaint Table   Fifty Influential Figures   History of Education   Nathaniel Turner  Fifty Influential Figures

Related files:  The Black Religious Crisis   A Theology of Obligation & Liberation  Howard Thurman  The Negro Church  Pan-Africanism and the Black Church  Death of the Black Church  

The Black Church Is Dead   Beyond Vietnam A Time to Break Silence   Racism Republican Style    Sitting ducks at the superdome  Mahalia Jackson    Prophet & Apocalypse Now   Religion and Politics

 Is God a White Racist   Death of the Black Church  

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