THOUGHTS, DOINGS, AND SAYINGS OF THE RACE. 37
reputation and his congregation grew rapidly, and when the enlist¬
ment of negro troops was decided upon, on the recommendation of
Chief Justice Chase and Secretary Stanton, President Lincoln made
him chaplain of the first regiment of colored troops that was mus¬
tered into the service of the Government. He was the first negro
chaplain ever appointed and possibly the first colored officer to re¬
ceive a commission. At the close of the war, so excellent had been
his record, he was recommissioned a chaplain in the standing-
army by President Johnson. Later, he was detailed for Freedman's
Bureau service and sent to Augusta, Ga. ; but finding so much relig¬
ious and educational work to be done among- his people, he resigned
that place and re-entered the regular ministry of the A. M. E.
Church, delivering lectures on educational and industrial subjects,
and advising the negroes how to adapt themselves to their new con¬
dition of freedom.
During- the reconstruction period he became known as one of the
most powerful stump speakers in Georgia. He was elected from
Bibb County as a member of the Constitutional Convention, and was
afterward chosen to two successive Legislatures. When Congress
passed the Civil Rights Bill he resolved to abandon active participa¬
tion in politics and has never since been an aspirant for an elective
position. He was made postmaster at Macon, Ga., being the first
Negro postmaster in the State; but resigned on account of the bitter
opposition of the white people, and was appointed custom house
officer at Savannah.
In 1876 he was chosen by the General Conference of the A. M. E.
Church, publisher-in-chief, with headquarters at Philadelphia. Four
years later the General Conference held at St. Louis elected him
bishop. During all his other duties he had preached regularly, and
had become known as perhaps the g-reatest revivalist of his race.
He often preached three times on Sunday and every night in the
week for three or four months at a time, and he has a record of thirty
thousand additions to the church to his credit.
Bishop Turner is one of the best informed men on the Negro
question in this country. He has three times visited Africa., once
on a flying trip and twice in his official capacity. In 1891 he went to
the Dark Continent to look after the missions of his church there,
and organized conferences in Sierra Leone and Liberia. The past
spring he visited Africa and spent several months on the west coast.
The bishop is the general consular representative of the Republic of