The American Race Problem


"Episcopus in parilbus Bolsbevikiium et Infidelism"



Reprinted from Time, Feb.25, 1924


Dear Lord, Thy church on devious ways
Hath fallen in these latter days.
The auger-holes of Leighton Parks
Would sink a half a dozen Arks.
While what is said by Percy Grant
Doth make the mast both creak and slant,
And Reiland, Lord, thou knowest his breath
Doth threaten yawning, billowy death.
While Guthrie doth, with song and dance,
Into the spot-light blithely prance.

What can we do? The rich and great
Upon their words and preaching wait-The men who own the railway shares,
The oil kings and the millionaires.
Dear Lord, thou knowest, without their cash,
Thy holy church would go to smash.

And then there's Bishop Lawrence, too'
Oh Lord, what would'st 'Thou have ass do?
He raised us millions, Lawrence did;
We cannot put him on the skid
If we tried him 't'would raise a roar
From Maine to the pacific shore.

"What! Lawrence called a heretic?
See all he's done! It makes us sick I"
And yet, dear Lord, Thy church is true
To that which Thou would'st have her do.
Thy Bishops faithful shepherds are
To guard the flock from wolf and b'ae,
And ever keen to drive away
Doctrines erroneous, strange, and to
Guard zealously, from earthly taints,
The Faith delivered to the Saints,
Lord, dost Thou doubt it? Then look down
And watch them skinning Bishop Brown.



As men marched impatiently across the last years of the 19th Century, while Titantic voices prophesied the glory of a bigger, brighter, better age to come, an Episcopal clergyman, vital, imaginative, brilliant, went forth to serve God in Arkansas. Vision and power were his. He felt the kingdom of Heaven was not impossible of fulfillment in America. He became Bishop. Let men love one another and praise God!

The 20th Century came and eternal harmonies continued to vibrate in the mind of the Bishop. He could not fully utter them. His talk became a little wild. Men did not love one another utterly. His talk became wilder, and began to grate upon vestrymen and other bishops with bank accounts. At a general meeting, in Boston, he was nearly mobbed. Finally his health broke, and in 1912 he went to live in Galion, Ohio, the Rt. Rev. William Montgomery Brown, Bishop of Arkansas, resigned.

Then suddenly, across a dangerous ocean and a continent of war, his aging eyes beheld a great nation being born from the womb of a great theory-Russia, the first-born of Communism. Like old Sirneon he cried:

"A light to lighten the Gentiles," but with more vitality than the Biblical patriarch he proceeded to write a book. He called it "Communism and Christianism."

Of course it was heretical. He was charged with heresy before the House of Bishops. They decided not to' try him, but to endeavor to get him to subside peacefully.. But the old man proved as difficult as a porcupine. The matter dragged.

Last week it became known that Bishops Hal of Vermont, Francis of Indianapolis and Gravatt of West Virginia, had formally charged him with heresy and he would be brought to trial. The reason for this action was simply that the Protestant Episcopal Church cannot allow an old man to go about uttering communistic and other wild doctrines in the name of an Episcopalian prelate.

The action has nothing whatever to do with the modernist controversy. Bishop Brown's trouble is more pathological than theological. He is a nuisance which the Bishops feel they must efficiently and speedily dispose of.

Some of the passages from Bishop Brown's bad book:

Gods in the skies (Jesus, Jehovah, Allah and Buddha) are all right as subjective symbols of human potentialities and attributes, and of natural laws, even as the Stars and Stripes on a pole, Uncle Sam in the capitol and Santa Claus in a sleigh are all right as such symbols; but such gods are all wrong...

I place the Brother Jesus of the Christian religion and the Uncle Sam of the American politics on the same footing with each other and with others of their kind as subjective realities .

The birth, death, descension, resurrection and ascension of all the saviour-gods, not excepting Jesus, are versions of the sun myth ....

As an objectivity there is no such divinity (meaning the Triune God, Father, Son and Spirit) He is a subjectivity existing in the imagination of orthodox Christians ....

Bishop Brown, in Galion, Ohio, shows signs of fight. The church is full of heretics, says he, and he will not get out until the other heretics get out. Then he makes the crack which is intended to smart in high places: "Is it my theology or my economics that is being attacked?" It is, of course, his economics, which even the Modernist handles with care.

One of the great plays now "on Broadway" is G. B. Shaw's "Saint Joan." A central scene is a conversation between the Bishop of Beauvais and the Earl of War-wick. The Bishop objects to Joan of Arc because in her passion for God, she overlooks the respect which is a Bishop's due. The Earl objects to her because, in her passion for France, she overlooks the respect due to a Feudal Earl. Bishop and Earl join hands to burn her.

And thus, for differing reasons, every normal American objects to the aged and mentally warped Brown of Galion, Ohio.



MARXISM is correct in its opposition to religion if it be regarded as a belief in a supernaturalistic God, Bible, church, heaven or hell. But none of these beliefs have anything to do with religion' and politics.

What is religion? Religion is the desire and determination to make the most of life by having it as useful, long and happy as possible.

What is politics? Politics is the effort to find out the way to the most abundant life and to walk therein.

What is the way? The way is truth.

What is truth? Truth is a fact so interpreted by experience, observation, investigation and reason that if it be regarded in conduct it will tend to make life more and more what it should be,

What is a fact? The doings of nature are so many facts and there are no others.

Of what must a real gospel consist? The only real gospel that the world can have must be constituted of facts rightly interpreted, solely with reference to making the most of human life here and now, not elsewhere and else when.

What is the greatest of all known facts? The fact that man is only a part of nature (evolved in the image and likeness of a beast, not made in the image and likeness of the God, Jehovah) and, therefore, he is on exactly the same footing as to his origin, history and destiny as a mountain, mushroom and mouse, with no more prospect of a future existence in heaven or hell

Why are the Soviet Russians advancing more rapidly in the way towards the ideal civilization than other peoples? Because they are trying to banish the gods from the skies and capitalists from the earth.

Can people, then, be both Marxian-Leninian, or Bolshevik-Communists and Jesuine Christians? Yes. For they alike seek to secure to the world a more abundant life through a knowledge of the truth or science.

Did Jesus say anything to this effect? Jesus did not say things any more than Santa Claus does, but those who wrote the Christian version of the ageless and matchless drama of human redemption, creating and staging him as its central figure, put these two wonderful sayings into his mouth:

I am come that the world might have life and have it more abundantly.

And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.





The Communist Party considers it as its historic duty to unite all workers regardless of their color against the common enemy, against the master class. The Negro race must understand that capitalism means racial oppression and Communism means social and racial equality.


1. Abolition of the whole system of race discrimination. Full racial, political, and social equality for the Negro race.

2. Abolition of all laws which result in segregation of Negroes. Abolition of all Jim Crow laws. The law shall forbid all discrimination against Negroes in selling or renting houses.

3. Abolition of all laws which disfranchise the Negroes.

4. Abolition of laws forbidding intermarriage of persons of different races.

5. Abolition of all laws and public administration measures which prohibit, or in practice, prevent Negro children or youth from attending general public schools or universities.

6. Full and equal admittance of Negroes to all railway station waiting rooms, restaurants, hotels, and theatres.

7. Federal law against lynching and the protection of the Negro masses in their right of self-defense.

8. Abolition of discriminatory practices in Courts against Negroes. No discrimination in jury service.

9. Abolition of the convict lease system and of the chain gang.

10. Abolition of all Jim Crow distinctions in the army, navy, and civil service.

11. Immediate removal of all restrictions in all trade unions against the membership of Negro workers.

12. Equal opportunity for employment, wages, hours, and working conditions for Negro and white workers. Equal pay for equal work for Negro and white workers.


Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.-John Baptist.

I have lived into my third generation. If I could live to its end, twenty-five years more, I would see a new world-a world without an exploitation problem; a world without a race problem; a world without a class problem; a world without a poverty problem, and a world without a war problem.

Most certainly the dawn of this new world is breaking and in less than fifty years, before the end of the twentieth century, its glorious sun will be well above the horizon for all mankind. Even now it is appearing for the inhabitants of the greater parts of the continents of Europe and Asia, causing them to rejoice as no people have ever rejoiced.

Within the two generations through which I have passed, the Negro race problem has grown into one of the greatest among all social problems. In the first of these generations it was the great American problem and wholly concerned with the Afro-American slaves. During the second it still remained unsolved. The Civil War was supposed to solve it but; at last, sad experiences have forced rapidly multiplying thousands to see that the only problem solved by wars is how to make the world safe for millionaires.

Anyhow, the Civil War did not solve for America its black race problem and the World War extended this problem to Africa and also made it as great for England and France as it ever has been for the United States; and, worse, it added to the black race problem of America and Africa the colored or dark race problems of China, Japan, India and South America, making the problem of the dark races as a whole enormously great.

The problem of the colored or dark races is now among the greatest problems which confront the white race, yet unless it is solved no part of the human race can stand. Not only will the black, yellow, brown and other dark races go down but the white race with them.

Though most unfortunately the World War did much to increase the greatness of the problem of the colored races, it as fortunately gave birth to the greatest among all schools, the school of communism, in which white, black, yellow, brown and dark mathematicians who are now alike, without any reference to color lines, working together upon it in all parts of the world. We know that the mathematicians of this school can solve the colored race problem because they have already succeeded in one great country and to some degree in many others.

These racial mathematicians are the bolsheviks, the social engineers, in whom I center all my hope for the figuring out of a better? world. They will, within the first two or three generations of the new era which opened on the most momentous day in human history, November 7th, 1917, solve not only this tremendous dark race problem: but, also, the more terrible problems of exploitation, poverty and slavery and with these four they will solve the fifth, the most terrific among all problems, the problem of war.

In a lecture on the Communist and Capitalist Solutions of the Chinese Problem, published in Part III of the booklet, Communism and Christianism, I have dealt with the yellow part of the colored race problem.*  That lecture is almost as applicable to India, Africa, South America and, indeed to all colonial countries as to China; but the great black race problem which we have within the United States was hardly touched.  I grapple it in this lecture.



I was born near' the middle of the nineteenth century, when in Christian countries people tried to solve social problems in the orthodox way; that is, by reference to the revelations of the Christian God in a great book called the Bible.

Most among you were born near the beginning of the twentieth century, when in every country people more and more try to solve social problems in the heretical way. that is, by reference to the discoveries of man in a far greater book called nature.

I have tried to solve the race problem both ways. I could not get anywhere with my orthodox nineteenth century Bible figuring, so of late years I have been figuring the scientific, the nature way.

When I did my figuring on the race problem in the old orthodox way, I proceeded on the basis of theological prejudices. Now that I am figuring in the new heretical way, I proceed upon scientific facts. The difference in the two ways is, then, a question of procedure. whether with reference to ancient, revealed prejudices or modern, discovered facts. I no longer believe in super natural revelations from the skies by gods. I accept nothing as revealed until it has been naturally discovered on earth by man.

When I speak of ancient prejudices I know what I am talking about. I have had them. I suffered from them just as much as any doddering old fundamentalist whom you can name in the House of Bishops. I feel sorry today for people who are still suffering from the prejudices which so blinded me through the whole generation of my active ministry in the Episcopal Church.

But I do not feel despondent. I had as bad a case of prejudice as any, and if I could be cured, there is no reason to suppose that the other bishops can not.

That I was cured is now well established by history. It is for this I was excluded from the House of Bishops. So long as I kept all my prejudices intact, I was thoroughly welcome in it.

I used to have a prejudice as to the color of God.! thought that he was white. I thought the Almighty belonged to the Caucasian rACE; and, of course, that Adam. made in his image and likeness, was white. I even wrote a book about it all. I entitled it, The Crucial Race Question, and I proceeded on the assumption that the Christian God had all the prejudices against the Negro that I had, and that the church must solve the problem in the way that any lily white God who had lived in the south long enough to acquire southern ideals would be likely to solve it.

Understand, I did not hate the Negro. I wanted to help him, or I thought I did. I wanted to uplift him. But I wanted him to keep his place. In other words, I was a living insult to him, assuming that his place was by divine decree secondary to. mine. His place was to be an humble servant of the white man and his reward for his unquestioning and unending servility was to be a condescending pat on the back now and then.

I even granted that Negroes would live in heaven when they were dead, if they were sufficiently respectful and obedient to us superior white folks while they lived on earth. In fact, I must have figured that we would need them there. God had some reason, I knew, for creating them. He let them live on earth; obviously, so that they could shine our shoes; and he would, doubt-less, let them live in heaven so that they could keep our halos shined.

So I argued in my book that instead of having blacks and whites in the same churches, where the Negroe might get the absurd notion that they were equal before God with us Caucasians, that we should give them a separate and special Jim Crow church in which they could practice for the lowly parts that God would let them play in a Jim Crow heaven.

Now, all this was perfectly logical, if you once grant the ancient premise from which my logic flowed, but it was hardly twentieth century logic. The premise was not modern. It was an ancient theological prejudice and had nothing to do whatever with modern scientific facts.

Did the bishops put me out for entertaining such theological prejudices? They did not. It was only when I got to dealing with scientific facts that they excluded me. A bishop just naturally loves a theological prejudice and hates a scientific fact; but the twentieth century reckons with such facts. And that is why the bishops and their churches have been losing out until they have ceased to count for much.

Let me tell you more about the peculiar kind of race prejudice which I displayed. I was in Arkansas, but I was not originally from Arkansas, and my prejudices, therefore, were a little different from those of the Arkansas native. In fact, you will be surprised when I tell you how different they were and why.

I was from the north. I was from a section of Ohio where there were few Negroes. I did not even see one until I was ten years old, and I never was used to associating with them and always felt strange when I met with and talked to one. Southern people, Qn the other hand, were used to having them around, which created a very different psychology.

From time immemorial, ignorant tribesmen have always shrunk from contact with alien tribes. A large part of human history is taken up with the wars which alien tribes waged against each other for no other apparent reason often than that they were alien.

People from the outside, whether they had different skins or not, had different ways, arid being different from the home folks meant that they were inferior. The home folks were suspicious of them, feared them and therefore hated them. If the aliens had a differently colored skin, they shrank from every contact with them and wanted to kill them.

But after they had carried on a tribal war long enough, these alien tribes often made peace and became one tribe. Fighting is one way of getting acquainted. It is a very poor way today, for with modern weapons, nations can almost exterminate each other before they have a chance to. say, how do you do. But in the early days, tribes which had fought each other for one or two hundred years got so well acquainted that they did not seem queer any longer, and so they ceased fighting and amalgamated.

That is the way we happen to have that interesting tribe which now calls itself Anglo-Saxon. To be an Angle at one time, meant that you were angling to catch and kill a queer Saxon, and to be a Saxon was to be out to catch and kill a queer Angle. But now their descendants proudly talk of their Anglo-Saxon blood as though it were one pure 8train and not the hyphenated hybrid which it is.

When it comes to racial stock, we are all hyphenated and we are all hybrids. Even the Jews, who in many countries are still queer to the Gentiles, are not one race. They are like the Gentiles, a lot of races. In the Old Testament, Jehovah is frequently represented as becoming peeved because his chosen people were consorting too freely with the Canaanites and other heathen tribes. But it is not claimed that he did anything much about it. After the different bloods were mixed, the Jewish God, Jehovah. could not or would not unmix them, and the Christian God, Jesus, can not or will not unmix the white and colored races in America today.

But, assuming that Jehovah and Jesus really exist, and that, being Gods, they could and would do anything that ought to be done by them, their failure to unmix hybrid bloods leads to the conclusion that they are not worried about them, and that good Jews and Christians should not be.

You may call yourselves colored, and people who call themselves white may insist on calling you colored. But it is generally recognized that many colored people have a lot of white ancestors, and if the facts could be known, it would doubtless be discovered that the whites have a lot of colored ancestors.

The man who is calling you a Negro, and is discriminating against you because he calls you a Negro, can not prove before any scientific tribunal that he is not partly Negro himself. It is a wise child who knows his father, to say nothing of his grandfather and his great grandfather. That is one of the things which you never can tell.

You doubtless have heard the story of the colored preacher who was expounding to his congregation the exact difference between faith and knowledge.

"Now, there is Brother and Sister Jones," he said, 'with their twelve children, right there in the front seat. They is all your children, isn't they, Sister Jones?

"Yes, Sister Jones, she has knowledge that they is all her children. And Brother Jones, he has faith that they is all his."

Well, we Anglo-Saxons have faith that there is no colored blood in our veins, But we have no knowledge of it. We can not establish it as a fact. And if we can not establish it as a fact, it has no part in a genuine, twentieth century discussion of the American race problem.

Suppose that science should discover a method by which anyone's male ancestors could be accurately determined. What of it? Suppose it should be discovered that I had some Negro blood-what of that? I would be just the same person that I was before the discovery. I would be no more worthy and no more unworthy. My body would be just as good and no better than it was before, and so would my brain and my disposition and capacity to be of use to my fellow men. None of these things would be changed in the least by the discovery that I was part Negro. **

That is a fact; but being a fact, Americans who discuss their vexed race question do not want to have anything to do with it.

I myself would have been much disturbed if such a fact had been called to my attention when I was writing my book, The Crucial Race Question, and trying to establish a Jim Crow church to prepare colored people for my Jim Crow heaven. For my absurd theological prejudices would cause one to feel that such a discovery made all the difference in the world, in fact all the difference in two worlds, in this world and the next, heaven or hell.

Pardon me if I seem to ridicule the theological mind. I ridicule it because I had one, and no one has better reason than I to know just how utterly ridiculous the theological mind is. According to the theological mind, everything always depends on something which can not possibly be determined.

When we are dead is there for us another life in another world? Nobody knows and it is impossible that anybody can know. And so, says the ridiculous theologian, it is absolutely necessary for us all to makeup our minds definitely on the subject of a future life and to hold to the belief that there is to be one for most in a hell of woe below the earth and for some in a heaven of bliss above the earth. A chief reason for my exclusion from the House of Bishops was disbelief in a future life in one of these utterly impossible places.

Yet the theologians are liberal in their way. They permit us to be densely ignorant of all the knowledge which it would be humanly possible for us to get. We may think that two plus two equals nine, that water runs up hill, that we will not burn our fingers if we take hold of a red hot pipe, and that God will f6rgive us for our ignorance. But unless we know by faith certain things which nobody knows by experience and nobody can possibly find out, God will damn and burn us for all eternity.

Now, that is not the twentieth century mind. People are asking what is the matter with the bishops and the churches? The answer is, they have lost out as to the twentieth century mind. The twentieth century mind says: thou shalt not catch hold of a red hot pipe, for in the moment that thou catcheth hold of a red hot pipe thou shalt catch hell. Not a fictitious, theological hell below the earth (there is no below or above from the earth) but a real scientific hell: on earth.

That is the kind of a hell which you can understand. the kind which is based upon fact, the kind which you can avoid by knowledge. But you can not avoid the theological hell or gain the theological heaven because the avoidance of that hell or the gaining of that heaven involves belief in a whole lot of ancient absurdities which no true son or daughter of the twentieth century can believe. In fact none among the bishops believes it.

Does any bishop believe in the Bible hell and heaven? No, not one. But the doctrine of redemption from this hell to this heaven is the essence of the faith said to be once for all delivered by Cod to the Christian saints. Ask the bishops whether they really believe in the Bible kind of heaven and hell, and in the doctrines of the fall of Adam and the redemption of the world by the blood of Jesus which goes with the orthodox belief in heaven and hell. I asked them and offered to go out without a trial if they said they did. They could not say this. So they tried me and put me out of their synagogue.

The bishops did this because they have not the twentieth century mind, and knew not what they were doing. In my "bad" books (five of them) entitled, The Bankruptcy of Christian Supernaturalism. and in my "bad" lectures (four each year) of this magazine, Heresy, I am trying to get the twentieth century mind across to my dear brethren. It is hard sledding! But I shall keep on working at it until. for me, the night cometh in which no man can work.

When I was giving my august pronouncements on the Crucial Race Question of our country, I did not have a scientific mind. I had a theological mind, full of theological prejudices. and an episcopal mind, full of episcopalian prejudices, and an Ohio mind, full of Ohio prejudices. and an Arkansas mind, full of lately acquired Arkansas prejudices. Since a mind full of absurd prejudices is the chief qualification for the episcopate. the church certainly made no mistake in selecting me as the head of a Southern Diocese.

Prejudices are like racial stocks. They get mixed up very easily, and the fellow in whose brain they are mixed up the most is likely to think that he is the sole possessor of the only Simon-pure, unadulterated prejudice on earth. An Arkansas mind is bad enough, but when you mix it up with an Ohio mind you get a sorry concoction of prejudices.

It was so in my case and it is so in the case of thousands of northerners wh9 take up their residence in the south. They become much more southern than the southerners. For they add their own shrinking from the Negro (a shrinking based wholly upon unfamiliarity with him) to the southerner's attitude of cheap snobbery and pretense.

An ignorant rustic in the north who has never associated with Negroes is not likely to worry very much because he sees one riding in the same car or even eating in the same public restaurant. That, to him, is not intimate association. This ignoramus, however, just naturally shrinks from close association with a being so strange and queer as to have a colored skin. And he does not want a colored woman about the house: he does not want her black fingers touching his food, and his wife would not want her beds made or her children bathed by her.

Now, that is sheer race prejudice. We may rail against it, but it is natural enough at a certain stage in social evolution. It is the old tribal way of looking at things. The near neighbors constitute human society for such a person, and any person who is at all unfamiliar is in his eyes a little less than human.

But the race prejudices of the southerner do not have the same origin. In fact, strictly speaking, they are not race prejudices at all. Intimate contact with the Negro is not disagreeable to the typical southern white. He has had intimate contact with Negroes from his childhood. A colored nurse attended him when a baby. He generally went to sleep with his head pillowed between her breasts and he may have eaten from one of them while a colored baby ate from the other.

If, then, it were not for a definite education given to him for a specific purpose, such a child would never be likely to feel any difference whatever between colored people and white. If it were not for this education, a white boy would be quite as likely to fall in love with and marry a colored girl, and a white girl so brought up to fall in love with and marry a colored man, as they would be to choose one of their own race.

But the southern boy and girl are educated from childhood to keep the Negro in a position of social inferiority. Not to avoid intimate contacts, as might be the case if race prejudice were at the root of the education, but to keep the Negro in his place as a servant of the whites. This is not race prejudice. It is class prejudice. It is economic interest.

This is almost exactly the same prejudice which the children of the old feudal lords were taught to display toward the serfs on their estates. although the serfs were of exactly the same race as they. Gentlemen might be kind to their servants. They might make it a point always to speak pleasantly to them, to laugh with them at their celebrations and to cry with them at their funerals, but let any member of the servant class deign to aspire to any privilege reserved by Cod for the nobility and that servant had to be kept in his place.

But I was a theologian when I went to Arkansas and I did not know all this. Being a theologian. I was just like the other bishops. I did not know anything except a lot of things that nobody could possibly know. Yet, like the minds of all bishops. my mind was trained to absorb prejudices. where they did not directly conflict with the prejudices which I had already absorbed, and I could sometimes absorb them even when they did.

So I added my ignorant provincial Ohio race prejudice to this preposterous feudal Arkansas class prejudice and wrote my absurd book. The Crucial Race Question.

The Negroes in the south. I am sorry to say, did not resent the book. They were as ignorant as I, and some among them even thought that it was rather nice Of me to do what no other bishop had done, suggest a way by which Negroes could become full-fledged bishops in the United States with a sure enough apostolic succession, even if it was in a Jim Crow episcopacy and a Jim Crow apostolic succession.

I thought it was rather nice of me myself. I was sure that I did not hate the Negro and, with close and long association with him, I was finding his presence not at all disagreeable. He surely ought to go to heaven, if he kept his place in it; and since the Protestant Episcopal Church was the only sure route to heaven, I was more and more for giving him a nice little Protestant Episcopal Church.



Now let us pass out of the ancient world. in which the many orthodox bishops were princes and the few heretical scientists martyrs, into the modern world in which the many scientists are everything and the few bishops nothing.

Did you ever hear of Negro communism? No. You never did and you never will. You will hear of a lot of Negro communists, but you will not hear of a Negro communism, nor of a Negro communist party, not even a Negro local of the communist party.

Communism is an ideal into which the idea of race distinction can not enter; and the communist party, although it has many Negroes in it and will soon, I hope, have millions of them, is a party which Negroes, as Negroes, can not join.

It is a party which Negroes, if they are to join, must do so, not as Negroes, but as men and women. A communist can not draw the color line, because it is impossible, in the first place. for anybody to say who is white and who is colored, and because, in the second place. the drawing of such a line is destructive of every-thing which the communist wants.

People may sigh for the kingdom of God on earth and still draw the color line, for what such people really want is the kingdom of a Caucasian God. They would have nothing whatever to do with the kingdom of a God who did not believe in white supremacy.

But no one can really want the communism of man on earth and indulge in any such distinction. It is not merely impossible for one who draws any color line to get into the communist party, but it is psychologically impossible for the human mind to entertain the vision of communism and still think of any race as inferior.

I changed my whole attitude toward the Negro, not through studying the Negro problem but through getting the vision of communism.

Communism is a system of society in which there is no class exploitation and no cause for it, and in a world where there is no class exploitation, there can not be a race problem.

At bottom, since the rise of the owning class, the race problem has been a question of economic exploitation. But for this crime of crimes (economic exploitation) there would be no class or race problem, no poverty problem and no war problem.

Where there is economic exploitation, however, people will exploit those whom it is easiest to exploit. In America it is easiest to exploit the Negro, and so he is exploited most.

A colored skin in America is a badge of slavery. In those countries in which the Negro has never been enslaved, he does not suffer nearly so much from the discriminations which he encounters here. In such countries, all a Negro has to do is to get enough money and enough conventional culture and he will be allowed to stay at the best hotels, unless too many rich American globe trotters enter complaints.

But that does not solve the Negro problem. It simply solves the problem of a few Negroes who have been economically lucky enough to get out of the working class into the owning class, the exploiting dasses.

It does not solve the black problem because it does not solve the white problem and the yellow problem and the brown problem and the dark problem.

The greatest and most universal problem of suffering humanity is the problem of exploitation, and neither the race problem nor any among the other great problems will be solved until the soluti6n of this problem of problems has been accomplished by the abolition of the exploitation of the working class by the owning class which will be the abolition of all economic slavery.

There have been four kinds of economic slavery-patriarchal slavery, chattel slavery, feudal slavery and wage slavery. These four slaveries, but the worst of them is wage slavery, and it will never be abolished until the bishops with their absurd theologies, and the capitalists with their cruel exploitations are banished from the earth. But this is a long story for my telling of which I must refer you to my "bad books," especially Communism and Christianism.

I would welcome it. of course, if capitalist America should become as civilized as, say. capitalist France in the treatment accorded to Negroes, but, even so. I would have to admit that such civilized treatment could not take from the Negro in America the greatest burden under which he staggers. It would simply take the burden from a few Negroes, just as it has already taken it from certain privileged groups of whites, leaving the masses, white and black, to struggle along under their burdens of poverty, unemployment. slavery and despair.

This burden of every representative of the working class (no matter what his color may be) must be borne until the world has a new religion based on science, not theology, and a new politics based service, not property. This world the workers must create for themselves by a Marxian revolution in every nation. The bishops and bankers will never do it by a Jesuine reformation.

The Negro in America staggers under a double burden. He not only suffers from the exploitation which is the lot of the white worker too, but he is not even accorded equality with the white worker in many different ways.

But let him achieve such equality and he will not achieve freedom. Even if he mixed his blood with the blood of the white race until the whole nation had become mulatto, still the vast majority of Negroes would remain slaves. They would be the slaves of other Negroes. to be sure instead of slaves of white men, but that would not solve their major problem.

Until the workers as a class, without reference to race differences, do away with all exploitation of man by man, the great majority of every race must still be victims of poverty and slavery and war. Where people see that fact, the color line just naturally disappears. Millions do see it, and fortunately for the good of the world they are increasing everywhere, nowhere more rapidly than in the United States.

There is a strange country in which everybody sees it. In respect to the race problem, at least, it is the most civilized country on earth. The Negro is not only accorded strict equality but he is naturally given a little special attention. I do not mean that he is given any special privileges. The only special privileges in that strange country go to workers and their families. In time (just as soon as their economic organization can be completed so that everybody shall become a useful worker) there will be no special privileges for anyone. But in the interim, they have in that strange country a workers' government which thinks of the welfare of the workers first and allows all others to get along as best they can-just as. in other countries, the government always thinks of the welfare of the owners first and allows the workers to get along as best they can.

You know, of course, that I am talking about communist or Soviet Russia. Communist Russia has not solved its economic problems yet, although it is solving them rapidly, much more rapidly and satisfactorily for the workers than capitalist America. And with the solution of the basic economic problems it also is solving the class problem and the race problem and the color problem; and, indeed, it is solving all the problems which go with the problem of exploitation, among them poverty, slavery and war. There is a complete new way of looking at things over there in that strange country, and the prospects of the workers are altogether different from what they are here, infinitely better.

Communism is the goal, and communism means the rise of the whole working class of the world, regardless of race, to throw off all exploitation and unite in joyous, free, all-around service to each other. The workers of the white race cannot rise into this communist heaven out of their capitalist hell unless the workers of the black race rise with them.

Who started anything like that? obviously, not the czar; not the nobility; not bishops, not the bankers; not the lazy old landowners, not the hustling new exploiters. It was the exploited ones who started it all and who are now finishing up the job. It was the commonest of the common people-those who were so utterly counted out of things under the old regime that people, excepting when they had the most lowly work to do, entirely overlooked their existence. It was all started in fact, by the very type of people in old Russia who most closely correspond to the Negroes in America.

The exploitation of workers by owners has become the greatest of all sins; and, as to this sin. Americans are the greatest among all the sinners of the whole world. The Negro is the Lamb of God who will eave America from this body and soul destroying sin, exploitation. This sin is the root of all sins and far more destructive of human happiness than any other you can think of, not excepting even the enormous gins of adultery and murder.

This is why I am insisting more and more as I grow older (and I trust wiser) that a communist revolution must save the world; that there is no other name given under heaven whereby it can be saved, and that in every country the christ to whom we must look for this sal vation by the overthrow of capitalism is the humblest strata of workers. Certainly we can expect nothing from any strata of the owning class, nor much, if anything, from the aristocracy of the working class.

So of late I have been saying with increasing frequency and emphasis that in America the Negro is the future bolshevik christ, the revolutionary christ, to whom we must look for salvation from our besetting and ruinous national sin of exploitation.

Yes, the Russian revolution was started by the most lowly among the exploited workers. These deeply wronged humble workers knew what they wanted, and they saw things so clearly that, in spite of their terrific handicaps, they outwitted the statesmanship and defeated the invading armies of the whole capitalist world.

They did this eleven. years ago when they were extremely weak. They are much stronger now, and are literally growing more so every day in every way; and, therefore, I warn the capitalist nations that if they try it again a much worse defeat is an inevitability.

None among these nations, not even America, has fully recovered from the world capitalist war. All including America would go down never to rise again in the workers' world war, if the owners start it as they are hankering and preparing to do. The war which will end war (because it will end exploiting capitalism) will be on in the day that Soviet Russia is attacked.

The Russian workers saw things so clearly because they knew what extreme exploitation was. When people told them how lucky they were to have the czar to rule them, and to have such a lovely lot of dukes and bishops to take care of, they were not fooled a bit.

They were not even fooled by Christian socialists, religious reformers, nice people who said to them: We sympathize deeply with your distress for we know it is hard to have other people riding on your backs. But do not be impatient and we will put some cushions under the saddles so you will not feel their weight quite so much. But of course you understand that we can relieve you only a little until you wade across Jordan with us and set us down in the promised land, when and where at last we can allow you some rest, because we shall have wings there and fly to most places instead of being carried.

No, these workers of old Russia were not fooled. They knew that they could depend upon nobody but the exploited workers themselves to do away with exploitation. And ever since they succeeded, wherever they have looked across their own borders to extend greetings to the comrades of other lands, they have known instinctively just who their comrade: were: the exploited, of course, especially those who have been exploited so ruthlessly that they know most of what exploitation is.

That is why the communists of Soviet Russia greet the American Negro as they do. His skin is a badge of exploitation and that, to the communist, is a badge of comradeship. Wherever a group of workers want to get rid of exploitation, communists everywhere know that they are comrades.

Those workers of Soviet Russia are no nicer or more full of good intentions than. southern bishops. It is just simply that they have a different point of view. That is all. They have the twentieth century point of view. They are seeing things in terms of scientific facts, not of theological prejudices as the bishops do.

They do not know anything at all about the hell below the earth and heaven above, of which the bishops have so much to say. They do not know anything about the God and devil of the bishops----whether, if they exist, they are black or white or yellow or pink. They do not even know or care when they see a man, whether he has colored blood in his veins or not; but they do know that he is a man; and, if he is exploited and tired of being exploited by his fellow man, they do know that he is a comrade.

That is why I expect millions of American Negroes to become communists. That is why I expect the workers revolution in America to be led by Negroes. Not because they are better or worse than the white workers, not because they are superior or inferior, but because they have been in a better position to know what exploitation is.

After all, there is no other way out. There is and can be no solution of the race question which does not include a solution of the class question. For if the race problem were not mixed up with the opportunities for exploitation, it would have been settled long ago.

Granted that some provincial white folks just naturally shrink from contact with the Negro, that in itself does not constitute a serious social problem today. For they easily get over that; and, if they did not, their children would. All it requires is a little experience in meeting those who seem alien to us and they no longer seem alien.

But once let us see a chance to exploit them, and the whole situation changes. Immediately, then, we will rationalize this opportunity into a religious belief. We will think up reasons for exploiting them. The bishops will even develop the notion that God put them here for that very purpose. And if there is anything in the Bible or in our accepted religious dogmas which seems to contradict such an absurd idea the bishops will reinterpret the dogmas so that we may go on exploiting. You see how useful the obliging bishops are to the bankers. No wonder they have had such good salaries. But the bolsheviks will have no use for them. This is why the bishops and bankers do not encourage bolshevism.

It is up to the exploited in America to do the thinking and acting and it is up to the Negroes who have been most exploited to do the most thinking and acting. That is why I hail the Negroes as, not merely our equals, but our coming leaders.

I greatly fear I may have left the impression that I do not believe with the other bishops in God. Jehovah, sitting on the great white throne of the executive mansion in the capitol of the whole earth the New Jerusalem, the great city of the celestial Paradise, built wholly of precious stones and gold.

This would be a very wrong impression. Of course I do not believe one word of it literally; and, of course. no other bishop does. The bishops just try to think they do. The only difference between them and me is that I have stopped trying. They will, too.

All the Gods are dear. I believe in them wholeheartedly and I love them, especially Jesus, even as I believe wholeheartedly in Santa Claus and love him; and yet like Santa Claus, the gods are fictions, not realities. But the Christian Gods, Jehovah and Jesus and Holy Spirit, have as fictions become for me glorious symbols of great realities.

The true sons and daughters of this age of science and freedom cannot any longer believe in the triune God of the age of tradition and authority as a conscious, personal reality, but they may always believe in him as an unconscious, impersonal reality who symbolizes all reality, whether conscious or personal, or not.

It is with the Gods as with Santa Claus. No adult believes in him as a reality, but all believe in him as the symbol of two great realities~the love of parents for their children and the love of the old for the young.

No educated person can believe in the Christian Trinity as a reality, but all may believe in its three divine persons as symbols; Jehovah symbolizes the universe. Jesus symbolizes humanity. The Holy Spirit symbolizes civilization.

Not only does Jesus symbolize humanity as a whole but especially that part of it which is despised and rejected everywhere and is suffering on the cross of gold for our sins, but will rise again to become our redeemer. I can say then in all reverence and sincerity of the colored races, behold the Lamb of God who is to take away the sin of the world, the sin of the exploitation of the workers by the owners. In America the Negro is preeminently this Lamb of God.

If I believed that the Lamb of God, Jesus, was an historical personage, and if I believed the doctrine of reincarnation, I would believe that Tolstoi was Jesus reincarnated.

And, if I believed in the existence of a conscious, personal God and that Jesus was his divine son, incarnated to the end that he might shed his blood for the redemption of fallen man from an eternity of woe in a hell under the earth to everlasting bliss in a heaven above the earth, I would believe that God, seeing the failure of his first plan of salvation, concluded to try a second, that of having his son born in a palace instead of in a stable and of having him save the world by writing such great books as Tolstoi wrote instead of by shedding such precious blood as Jesus shed

Yet I would believe that the two plans for the salvation of man have this in common: the divine son in the cases of both Jesus and Tolstoi is identified with the humblest and most exploited part of the working class. 

Conceding for a minute that there is a god who sees things (a very great concession) it is evident from this identification of Jesus and Tolstoy with the workers that God sees it to be useless for him to try , even though he has divine power, to save the world from the top down by princes and priests, and therefore if it is saved at all it must be from below up by peasants and peons. 

The world will be saved not be saved by the mighty imperial countries, the United States, England, France and Germany, but by the weak colonial countries, china, India. Africa and South America.

After Jesus, God saw, what I wish our militants could see, that the world can not be saved by blood. After Tolstoi, God saw, what I wish that our pacifists could see, that the world can not be saved by reformation.

So, conceding again, for the moment. that there is a God, Jehovah, who figures out human problems, he figured out a third plan of salvation which involved the reincarnation of his son in a Marxian revolutionist, and Lenin, the bolshevik, became the successor of Jesus and Tolstoi. This bolshevik fulfilled the will of his divine father by setting on foot a world revolutionary movement and starting it off in the right direction, towards scattering the proud in the imagination of their hearts, putting down the mighty from their seats and exalting the humble and meek, filling the hungry with good things and sending the rich empty away.

Through this bolshevik, Lenin, God is now making up for the time he lost in devising the other plans of saving the world and in trying them out through the Christians, Jesus and Tolstoy, both failures.

I am frequently asked whether I still hold to the Jim Crowism which is advocated in my book, The Crucial Race Question. I, here and now, once for all, give my answer to that vexed question, and I hereby withdraw everything in that book which is contrary to anything in this lecture. I would not be a communist if I did not utterly reject the premise that the colored races are by God's will and decree inferior to the white race and that, therefore, it has a divine right to rule and exploit them, a premise upon which the Jim Crowism of the book is based.

When, in that book, I formulated and recommended what was known as the Arkansas plan for the creation by the Protestant Episcopal Church of an Afro-American episcopate and church, I believed that the races of men owed their existence to the providence of a conscious, personal God, not to the evolution of an unconscious, impersonal nature. Consequently I held that interracial marriages were so many sins against both God and man. Moreover I thought and taught that there were degrees of this sin. It would be very sinful for

yellow and black men and women to marry, but even more so for white people to marry either yellow or black.

My idea. on this subject were changed by reading Darwin and Marx and thinking through their representations.

Darwinism has established the fact that all humanity is one great family and that the differences between its members as to color is due to geographical and climatic changes and influences.

Marxism has established the fact that the distinctions by which the human family is divided into two classes (the owning class and the working slave class) are of an economic rather than a racial character.

We shall never have a better world until we have a classless, cooperative one, without racial and economic distinctions, and this world (I am always saying) we shall never have until we banish the orthodox gods from the skies and the exploiting capitalists from the earth. America is demonstrating the fact that capitalism cannot give us a classless, cooperative world, and Soviet Russia is demonstrating the fact that communism can.

The American communist party is our national Section of international communism. This Marxian communism is the greatest movement which has ever been set on foot for the good of the world as a whole, infinitely greater than Jesuine Christianism.

Capitalism exploits the workers of the colored races even more than it does the workers of the white race. Let every worker of every race stand by his class, the working class. The communist party exists to promote the interests of the working class. The republican and democratic parties exist to promote the interests of the owning class.

The orthodox bishops are great people. They know lots about a fictitious God and about a fictitious, unpardonable sin against him, and about a fictitious, impossible hell below the earth and heaven above the earth but they know nothing about the actual, unpardonable sin and heaven and hell, else they would tell you that the worker who votes either the republican or democratic ticket commits the unpardonable sin of voting to keep his class in slavery and poverty; and, worse, he commits the unpardonable sin of helping to keep ~he hell of capitalism with its slavery, poverty and war on earth, and of doing nothing to bring the heaven of communism with its freedom, plenty and peace upon it.

Negroes of America, unite with the workers, not only of your race but of all races. The united workers of America will have nothing to lose but their chains and a great country to gain. You cannot unite by yourselves alone outside the Communist Party of the United States.

*Current events in China and world interst in them, give a timeliness and importance to this lecture.  If any reader of Heresy desires to see it, the Bradford-Brown Educational Co., Galion, O., will take pleasure in sending a free copy of Communism and Christianism to him. -- W. M. B.

**Science has established the fact that originally the whole human family was colored; and, so, every representative of its white branch has colored blood in him. I have. Every bishop has.-W. M. B.


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