Africa and the American Negro
One of the vital and urgent problems before us is the relation of the American
Negro to the civilization and redemption of his Fatherland. God's hand must
be recognized in his presence in America. This is now the home and heritage
of these American born of the colored race. Here he will stay. But the fore¬
finger of that same Hand that brought him hither points the way to Africa for
the tens, the hundreds, and, in future years, to the thousands who shall be
agents of God in the redemption of the Dark Continent. It will appear that
the call is not for the weak, the poor, the ignorant of the race. Such may only
relapse into barbarism. But Africa now needs the best brain, and the best
heart, the finest moral fiber, and the most skilled genius and power that the-
American Negro can furnish for her civilization and redemption.
To give light on these problems is the definite aim of this Congress. You
shall have presented to you the latest and most accurate information on
Africa; you shall have set forth clearly by word, by maps, and by illus¬
trative slides, the land and people as they are; the life, character, customs of
the natives; their tribal relations, and languages; the progress of discovery and
occupation; the latest work of geographers; the march of civilization; the
partition of Africa; the achievements of missions; the difficulties and draw¬
backs of missionary effort, and the outlook of missions for the nineteenth
We may congratulate ourselves that on our program there are speakers rep¬
resenting three continents; that we are to hear venerable and heroic mission¬
aries who have labored from one to two score years in Africa; travelers who
have penetrated the dark regions of Africa; Africanists of world-wide fame;.
scholars who have made original discoveries in the languages and in the reli¬
gious beliefs of the people; natives of that last and most interesting of the
continents, who bring the knowledge of personal life and experience, and
whose presence and words furnish the strongest appeal for the civilization and
redemption of their people.
I take pleasure in turning over the chairmanship of this session to Bishop
I. W. Joyce, of Chattanooga, who will present to you His Excellency Governor
Atkinson, of Georgia, from whom we shall have the address of welcome for
this Empire Commonwealth.