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African American baseball players from Morris Brown College

[Detail] African American baseball players from Morris Brown College

A sermon on lynch law and raping : preached by Rev. E.K. Love, D.D., at 1st. African Baptist Church, Savannah, Ga., of which he is pastor, November 5th, 1893.

Prominent Baptist pastor Emanuel K. Love (1850-1900) preached this sermon, lasting an hour-and-a-half, in his Savannah, Georgia church to an audience that according to the pamphlet numbered 1,500 people, including about thirty whites. Love decries the lawlessness perpetuated both by those blacks who may actually be guilty of the crimes of which they are accused and by mob violence. He also cautions blacks to be especially obedient to the laws as to dispel southern whites' suspicions of any wrongdoing.

"I appear before you to-night to discuss a subject which is of vital importance to the American people and especially to my race. It is time that the Negroes themselves should say something about this matter which is attracting the attention of the civilized world.

It is high time that we should take a position and let the world know our position. We have held our peace too long already. Every Negro pulpit should speak out on this subject.

To begin with, I state most positively, that I have no sympathy for the ravishers nor do I weep at their death. Every guilty man of them ought to have died. I object to the manner by which they were put to death. In this, I do, as every civilized man should, stand forth for law and order.

I would say to my race especially, that our only hope and safety lie in our strictest obedience to law and our unqualified support of the officers of the law. It is only then we rise to the sublimity of citizenship. Let us not seek to defend our criminals. They do us more injury than they do to others. We will be measured by them and we cannot reasonably object as long as we defend them, for then we will become accessories after the fact and thus become partakers of other men's sins. I regret that most of the lynching is done in the south and that most of the victims are Negroes. I regret most of all that such awful crimes are charged against us which provoke these lynchings. It is unfortunate that these crimes are laid at our door even if the accusers are mistaken. The south is our home, and all talk about the Negroes leaving the south to any very great extent, is the sheerest folly. Even those who have left the south have not bettered their condition. Since the Negroes must remain in the south, it is good sense, indeed, it is the highest duty to do all in their power to make the south the glory of all the world. The fact that most of these lynchings are done in the south and that most of the victims are Negroes lends, at least, the suspicion that there is foul play, affords material for political capital, forms an excuse for ambitious, wicked, designing politicians to keep the fire of dissention and race hatred in an everlasting blaze and to continue the waving of the bloody shirt and thus causing eternal unrest and the most intense anxiety among our people.

The sensible conservative Negroes are disgustingly tired of this sort of stuff and painfully regret any and every occasion that conserves its perpetuation. These things do the south no good and whatever injures the south, injures us. It is nonsense to suppose that a man's home can be injured without injuring him. To injure a home of a people the weakest and poorest of them are injured most. An apt illustration of this is unmistakably before our eyes in the yellow fever epidemic at brunswick. It injures the whole people, but it injures the Negroes worse because they are poorest and weakest. Financially weakest. They could not get away and had not enough laid up to go upon, and hence, suffered most."

  • Full text Library of Congress/Daniel A.P. Murray Pamphlet Collection