Reconstruction Period Research Forum
Re: Reconstruction & National Growth 1865-1900 #3
In Response To: Re: Reconstruction & National Growth 1865-1900 #2 ()
Reconstruction and National Growth 1865-1900 by William Loren Katz.....Minorities in American History Volume 3. (1974)
While organizing my work area and book shelves I came across this title which I hadn't looked at for several years. This forum is the perfect place to share some vignettes....(literary sketches) found in each chapter. This is from the chapter 'Black Reconstruction' and appears on page (11)
Henry McNeal Turner, the first black chaplain to serve in the Civil War, entered politics during Reconstruction. Although he won election to the Georgia legislature, he and the other TWENTY-SIX blacks were expelled. He concentrated on church matters and in 1880 was elected one of the twelve bishops of the African Methodist Episcopal church.
By the 1890's Bishop Turner decided that blacks needed to leave America. The country was hopelessly racist. "there is no manhood future in the United States for the Negro, he may eke out an existence for generations to come, but he can never be a man---full,symmetrical and undwarfed."
Four times Bishop Turner visited Africa searching for a home for his black exodus. He told his followers "God is a Negro" and urged them to refuse a part in the armed forces during war. The stars and stripes, he said, is a "dirty contemptible flag." He prayed he would not die under it. His wish was granted. On May 8, 1915 he died in Windsor, Ontario, Canada.
Art's note: To me, this sketch reflects the deep hurt and humiliation that Recontruction inflicted upon those brave black people who had fought in the recent Civil War. Who tried to become the citizen's the Constitution promised they could become, only to be rejected by the evils brought about by the period of Reconstruction.