Anti-Wokeness, “Feminism,” and Head-coverings

There’s a quote floating around the internet that is attributed to R. C. Sproul which encapsulates one of the problems with the modern “head covering movement”:

The wearing of fabric head coverings in worship was universally the practice of Christian women until the twentieth century. What happened? Did we suddenly find some biblical truth to which the saints for thousands of years were blind? Or were our biblical views of women gradually eroded by the modern feminist movement that has infiltrated the Church.

Head Covering: A Forgotton Christian Practice for Modern Times

This quote is all over the place. It’s been posted on Facebook. It’s on “A-Z Quotes.” It’s been featured on a number of blogposts, and at one point, it was apparently featured on the front page of (“Ladies: R. C. Sproul Says COVER YOUR HEADS!!!!!!!!!!”). The lead article at the Head Covering Movement Website right now is a link to a Youtube video that includes this quote (“What About Head Coverings?” [32:43]). It’s even been published in a book (Jeremy Gardiner, Head Covering: A Forgotten Christian Practice for Modern Times (2016)).

Here’s the problem: I’m pretty sure R. C. Sproul never said that quote, and more substantively, the claim at the heart of the quote itself is historically inaccurate.

Did R. C. Sproul Really Say That?

R. C. Sproul

Let’s start with the genuineness of the quote. I’ve scoured the internet, and I can’t find an actual original source anywhere showing that Sproul said this. It is no secret that R. C. Sproul held that women should wear head-coverings. He wrote about it in multiple books, he broadcast it on his radio program, and he spoke about it at Q&A’s. But in all of those places, I’ve never seen him connect this to “the feminist movement” or make broad brush historical claims like this, because I think Sproul knew the Reformed tradition better than that.

Jeremy Gardiner, “founder emeritus of the Head Covering Movement” and author of the book Head Covering: A Forgotten Christian Practice, wrote a blogpost featuring the quote, but interestingly admitted that “I haven’t been able to track down the original source of this statement. It is a heavily quoted statement and one such quotation appear’s [sic] in Greg Price’s article ‘Head Coverings in Scripture’” (“Why Head Coverings? Reason #4: Church Practice”). In his book, he footnotes the quote with a (now defunct) internet link to Greg Price’s article.

I’ve found two versions of the Price article online: here and here. Both posts include 37 quotes from church history, and the last quote is from R. C. Sproul. Then the article closes with a concluding paragraph, which includes the reference to the feminist movement. That paragraph begins like this: “Though the many authors cited above differ on various issues associated with headcoverings…” As Sproul is one of the “authors cited above” these appear to be Price’s words, not a continuation of Sproul’s. Unfortunately, the article does not give a citation even for the Sproul quote that it does include.

The way this spurious quote has been used over the years is sloppy, it’s poor scholarship—“don’t believe everything you read on the internet!” But it fits a “culture wars” narrative that is compelling to some streams of conservative Christians, and it features an easy bogey[wo]man–“The Feminist Movement”–which makes this kind of historical claim powerful to those feeling embattled, and eager to go to war with the culture over “biblical principles.” If the quote isn’t genuinely attributable to R. C. Sproul, it voices the kind of claim that some groups want to believe is true about America’s “cultural decline” from Biblical values.

The Reformed Tradition

However, the deeper problem with the quote is not just that R. C. Sproul most likely didn’t say it, but that it just isn’t true. The narrative goes like this: the church simply “believed the Bible” for 1000, 900, and 60 years after Christ, until the influence of The Feminist Movement eroded Christians’ confidence in Biblical truth. When they read 1 Corinthians 11:5 (“every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head”), they simply believed it and obeyed it, and they put a cloth on their heads. Since the 1960s, however, “liberal” Bible commentators have started coming up with “new” ways of interpreting Bible passages like 1 Corinthians 11, and have come up with the argument that head coverings were a “cultural practice” that made sense in the cultural context of 1st century Corinth, but since our 21st century culture is different, head-coverings don’t apply to us anymore. The answer, on this telling, is to get back to the “universal practice” of the church before Feminism ruined everything. For some drinking from the waters of “anti-wokeness” headcoverings are even be viewed as a way to push back against the “wokeness” of the culture around us by showing our commitment to the “old paths.”

Unfortunately for this narrative, it falls flat on its face as soon as you start reading some Reformed interpreters, starting in the 16th and 17th centuries, a good 400 years before The Feminists “ruined” Biblical hermeneutics.


Theodore Beza

Let’s start with Theodore Beza (1519–1605), successor of Calvin in Geneva. In his brief “study Bible” notes on 1 Corinthians 11, he said this:

It appeareth that this was a politike law serving onely for the circumstances of the time that Paul lived in, by this reason, because in these our daye, for a man to speake bare-headed in an assembly, is a signe of subiection.

The New Testament of our Lord Iesus Christ : translated out of Greeke by Theod. Beza ; with brief summaries and expositions upon the hard places by the said authour, (1599), 74.

Is it a “universal principle” that men should uncover their heads, and women should cover them? Beza thought this was “onely for the circumstances of the time that Paul lived in.” In Paul’s day, the way to show authority was to uncover your head. In Beza’s day, uncovering your head showed “subiection,” so men kept their heads covered. Whether one covered or uncovered was dictated by what that act symbolized in a particular culture. And in Beza’s culture, men wore hats (check out the picture!).


William Whitaker

It’s fascinating to look at the debates between 16th century Catholics and Protestants over how to interpret scripture. William Whitaker (1548–1595) was an English reformer, and published a “disputation” with Catholic Cardinal Robert Bellarmine. According to Richard Muller, Whitakers’s work was “representative” of Protestant interpretation of the 16th century, and became “a point of reference for sound doctrine throughout the seventeenth century” as well (Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 2, 482). Whitaker was debating the role of human traditions in Catholic interpretation versus Protestant integration, and used head coverings as an example, calling it an “indifferent ceremony”:

…of indifferent ceremonies, it is even farther from touching us… He [Paul] desires men to pray with uncovered, women with covered heads: which injunctions are not of a perpetual obligation; for they are not now observed even by the papists themselves; so as to make it plain that all churches are not bound to the same ceremonies.

A Disputation on Holy Scripture, Against the Papists, Especially Bellarmine and Stapleton (1588), 549.

One of the most influential English Reformers believed that headcoverings was an example of the difference between a Roman Catholic approach to “traditions and ceremonies” and a Protestant approach to Scripture and practice.

The Geneva Bible

The Geneva Bible

Interestingly, the notes to the Geneva Bible echo the same interpretation. The Geneva Bible “is one of the most historically significant translations of the Bible into English, preceding the King James Version by 51 years,” published in 1560, and “was one of the Bibles taken to America on the Mayflower” (“The Geneva Bible”). The brief notes in the Geneva Bible on 1 Corinthians 11 include this:

This tradition was observed according to the time and place that all things might be done in comelines and edification.

The Bible. Translated according to the Hebrew and Greeke, and conferred with the best translations in diuers languages, 514 [1108]

“According to the time and place”–the same sort language that used to explain “meat sacrificed to idols” in 1 Corinthians 10:25 (on the same page).

The Westminster Assembly

The Westminster Assembly

The Westminster Assembly met from 1643 to 1653 and wrote the Westminster Confession of Faith, an enormously influential confession in the Reformed tradition. There were a number of men who were members of the assembly, and several of them made their views of head coverings very clear. In his book The Keys of the Kingdom, Daniel Cawdry (1588–1644) explored what kinds of things a Synod could rightfully require of its ministers in worship? Can it require them to do things that Scripture doesn’t teach, like wear a special robe when preaching? Cawdry brings up head coverings in his answer:

Question: “Whether the Synod has power to enjoy things both in their nature and use indifferent.” …I answer: that for men to pray or prophesy with their heads covered, or with long hair, and women uncovered, were things in their own nature indifferent (unless you make it necessary, as a moral duty for men to pray or prophesy uncovered, and women contra; which no interpreters upon that text do)…

Vindiciae clavium: or, A vindication of The keyes of the kingdome of heaven, into the hands of the right owners (1645), 57.

Apparently, in Cawdry’s day, “no interpreters upon that text” required head coverings, or not, one way or the other.

Cawdry teamed up with fellow Westminster Divine Herbert Palmer (1601–1647) to write a book on the Sabbath. Was the Sabbath a universal command for today? Cawdry and Palmer thought so, and they used head coverings as a contrast to demonstrate the distinction between Bible passages that were “variable, or temporary” and those that were “invariable and perpetual”:

Divine Apostolicall Institutions (that we may draw to our purpose) were again of two sorts: First, variable, or temporary, which were such injunctions as were prescribed, either for some speciall ends, as that law for abstaining from blood, and things strangled, Acts 15.1, for avoiding offence to the Jews, or to some special nations, or persons, as agreeable to the customs of those places and times, as that of women being vailed in the congregations, and some other the like. Secondly, invariable and perpetual: such as concerned the whole Church…

Sabbatum Redivivum: or, The Christian Sabbath Vindicated (1645). 463.

So, when the Westminster Confession of Faith said that “there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature, and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed” and they footnoted 1 Corinthians 11:13–14 on that point, we should interpret the confession in light of the published statements of the Divines (Westminster Confession of Faith, I.6).

Matthew Poole

Matthew Poole

Matthew Poole (1624–1679) wrote a commentary on the whole Bible, of which Charles Spurgeon said “On the whole, if I must have only one commentary, and had read Matthew Henry, as I have, I do not know but what I should choose Poole” (Commenting and Commentaries, 6). Here’s what Poole’s commentary says on 1 Corinthians 11:

Interpreters rightly agree, that this and the following verses are to be interpreted from the customs of countries… Nothing in this is a further rule to christians, than that it is the duty of ministers, in praying and preaching, to use postures and habits that are not naturally, nor according to the custom of the place where they live, uncomely and irreverent, and so looked upon.

Annotations Upon the Holy Bible, 577.

Poole notes a variety of cultural practices among Romans, Greeks, Jews, and even Muslims. He notes that even in his own day, when it comes to men and women and covered and uncovered heads, some male ministers preach with their heads uncovered, but “in France the Reformed ministers preach with their heads covered.” 

Francis Turretin

Francis Turretin

Finally, I’ll mention Francis Turretin (1623–1687). Turretin was an influential reformed theologian, both in his own time, but also for 19th century American Presbyterians, as his Institutes of Elenctic Theology was the main theology textbook at Princeton Theological Seminary (in the North) and Union Presbyterian Seminary (in the South). In the section of his Institutes on The Lord’s Day he compares what he considers the “temporary” nature of an ordinance like headcoverings with the “invariable and perpetual” institutions, like the Lord’s Day:

XIV. Although certain ordinations of the apostles (which referred to the rites and circumstances of divine worship) were variable and instituted only for a time (as the sanction concerning the not eating of blood and of things strangled [Acts 15:20]; concerning the woman’s head being covered and the man’s being uncovered when they prophesy [1 Cor. 11:4, 5]) because there was a special cause and reason for them and (this ceasing) the institution itself ought to cease also; still there were others invariable and of perpetual observance in the church, none of which were founded upon any special occasion to last only for a time by which they might be rendered temporary (such as the imposition of hands in the setting apart of ministers and the distinction between the offices of deacon and pastor). Since the institution of the Lord’s day was of this kind, from this we infer that the Intention of the founders was that the observance of this day should be of perpetual and immutable right.

The Lord’s Day


So is it true that the church has always held that head coverings were a “universal” and “perpetual” commandment for the church until The Feminist Movement of the 1960s ruined everything? I hope this brief survey of some of the leading Reformed interpreters shows that this statement is false on its face. I quote all of these white, European, Reformed men, not because I think they are the be-all and end-all of Biblical interpretation, but simply to show that even on its own terms, the conservative Reformed tradition has never held “universally” that head coverings are a perpetually binding obligation for Christians today. This post didn’t trace the “cultural” view of head coverings into the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, but it is interesting to note that R. C. Sproul acknowledged that even his own mentor, John Gerstner, held that head coverings were “customary” (“What RC Sproul Believes About Head Covering,” [4:46]).

I personally don’t have strong feelings about head coverings. As I looked around my own church this past Sunday I saw a wide variety of practice: some women wearing hats, some wearing head wraps, some women wearing other coverings, many with their heads completely uncovered. If someone reads 1 Corinthians 11 and comes to the conclusion that they feel led to wear a covering in church, great! Just don’t turn this into yet another weapon in the American culture wars, part of a never ending rampage against “the woke” the “feminists” and the “liberals,” and above all, don’t make false claims about history to try to make a catchy point. The receipts will always find you out…


Black Protest against Dwight L. Moody, Part 4: “A Dividing Fence Was Put Up”

(Photo by Daniel Janzen on Unsplash)

Note: this is part 4 of a series giving context for an 1886 article by Francis Grimké; see:

Two Decades of “The Middle Wall of Separation”

In May 1876, Moody conducted a revival in Augusta, Georgia. An observer felt that “Perhaps there was never a time before now where religious feeling was stronger, deeper, or more general in Augusta… Mr. Moody thinks the cause of Christ ten-fold stronger upon earth than ever before, and that the great interest that is manifested in Augusta is but a type of the general spread of the gospel among the nations that is going on.” Of course, that “religious feeling” related to “piety” and “fervor” but had nothing to do with conviction over racism or white-supremacy. Apparently, at these meetings, whites literally put up a “wall of separation” to keep Black people in their place: 

“When he first began holding his open-air meetings here, negroes mingled so indiscriminately with the audience that it became disagreeable to the whites, and a dividing fence was put up. Mr. Moody did not like this, and spoke of it, when one of our pastors informed him that it was impossible for the blacks and whites to mingle even in a religious audience. Mr. Moody then said, “I see you have not gotten over your rebellious feelings yet.” “No,” said the minister, “I am proud of my rebellious feelings and will be a rebel until I die.” The conversation was designably interrupted by others, and the matter was dropped.”

Our Augusta Letter,” The Atlanta Constitution, May 4, 1876.

The matter was dropped, but the fence was not, and this “dividing fence” would remain a fixture at Moody’s meetings in the south for over two decades. This account of the “dividing fence” was reprinted across the country, in the New York Times, in the Chicago Tribune, in Boston, in Nashville, in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Iowa, and even across the Atlantic in England and in Scotland. ( search).

Moody may have been personally opposed to segregation, but at his own meetings, he actually practiced it for nearly twenty years.

“What Mr. Moody Did in Texas” (1895)

Two decades later, in 1895, Moody held a series of meetings in Dallas, Texas. Newspaper accounts mention Black people attending the meetings in “the colored people’s gallery” (“The Moody Meeting,” Dallas Morning News, February 21, 1895). The accounts were disparaging and paternalistic to the Black attendees: “The baskets were passed around the little group of colored brethren, and most of them dropped in quarters and halves, showing that they have hardly reached high modern civilization as yet in regard to giving—they overdo the matter. A nickel is the limit” (“Spiritual Power,” Dallas Morning News, February 23, 1895). They played to racial stereotypes: “Mr. Moody called on the colored people to sing a hymn. Brother Moody is a down-easter, but he has learned somewhere in his travels that if there is anything in the world a colored brother can do it is to sing” (“Plenteous Grace,” Dallas Morning News, February 26, 1895). On another night, they noted that Moody always selected a “swinging tune for the colored brethren. He seems to know their weakness for mellifluous music” (“The Love of God,” Dallas Morning News, February 27, 1895).

Nevertheless, the editor of The American Missionary, a monthly magazine published by the American Missionary Association, saw hopeful signs, and wondered, “Race Prejudice—Is It Waning?” An AMA affiliated pastor in the South had written in about the Moody meetings in Dallas, and recounted this:

“At the opening of the meet­ing Mr. Moody noticed the colored people sitting away off from the platform and railed in to cut them off from the whites. He did not like so unequal accommodation—so plain a distinction. When the meeting was over I waited and spoke with him. We walked down to the colored department. He said, “I don’t like this railing business,” and he threw himself against the railing, but it did not fall. He said, “Give me till to-morrow to get that down.” The next day when the colored people went to the tabernacle they found the railing torn away, the seats moved up near the platform, a stove put up and a curtain stretched in the rear to keep out the wind. From that time on the colored people flocked to hear the great evangelist. But Mr. Moody did not stop there. He came down and asked the colored people to sing. So unexpected was his invitation, it caught us unprepared. The next day 1 got my choir together and added a few from some of the other colored churches. The old sexton arranged seats for us and placed an organ there. At the night service Mr. Moody said, “ We will now ask the colored people to sing.” I arose and faced my choir, and the little organ pealed forth as it was touched by the hand of a colored girl, and the choir sang “ Scatter Sunshine.” There were about 7,000 or 8,000 people present, all save about 300 were white. It was a new feature. The people seemed to be surprised, astonished, excited. They stood on their feet, they peered over each other. When we were through singing, Mr. Moody said, “Why, it will never do to let them beat us that way,” and the audience responded with a hearty laugh. The next day the daily papers said we made “ fine music,” and the Dallas News was headed: “The great Moody meetings. An audience of 9,000 and a colored choir the feature.” I have not heard of any objection, censure, or anything concerning Mr. Moody’s method. No paper spoke against the colored people singing, and we sang one song at each service after that. White and black say such a thing never was done in Texas before.”

What Mr. Moody Did in Texas,” The American Missionary 49.7 (1895), 220–21; the Dallas News article can be found here: “Moody and Sankey,” Dallas Morning News, March 9, 1895).

Edward Blum sums up this scene well: 

“It was a marvelous turn of events. The most noteworthy evangelical of the late nineteenth century took a clear stand against racial segregation. Tragically, it was too late. Moody no longer wielded the public power he once had, and this action garnered almost no attention from the press. By this time his influence had waned considerably… 

At the height of his public power in the 1870s, Moody had not challenged the racial status quo. He had kept quiet; he had prized unity among whites over human brotherhood. In the years that white Americans flocked to hear him and sat riveted by his stories, he had refused to stand against he tide of racial prejudice and segregation. In fact, he had brought the force of his own spiritual authority to propel those waters. When Moody did raise against segregation int the 1890s, Jim Crow was too firmly entrenched in American society” (144).

Reforging the White Republic, 144.

Indeed, neither the Dallas Morning News, nor any other paper report I can find, made any mention of “What Mr. Moody Did in Texas,” other than a one page account in The American Missionary. This act of desegregating one of his meetings was too little, too late. The 1890s saw the peak of Black lynchings in the United States, and as Ida B. Wells noted, Moody never spoke out against it publicly. By 1895, allowing Black and white people to attend a revival meeting together was a nice gesture, but the crying need of the hour was for loud denunciation of the white lynch-mob.

Blum says that “Blacks and whites would not longer have separate seating arrangements at Moody’s revival” (144). Did Blum mean to claim that Moody’s revivals were integrated from this point on, or just that the revival in Dallas was integrated? Gregg Quiggle took him to mean the former and claimed that “From this point on, his meetings were integrated” (“An Analysis of Dwight Moody’s Urban Social Vision,” PhD Thesis, The Open University (2010), p. 243). I haven’t conducted an exhaustive search to see how many other meetings were integrated or segregated, but the following year in Nashville, Moody was back to his regular program, with separate services “for colored people” (“Four Special Sermons,” The Nashville American, February 10, 1896). It is possible that the action taken in Dallas was impulsive and momentary, not a sign of any decisive shift in practice.

Notes on Sources

James Findlay

I concur with Edward Blum: “For the best scholarly biography of Moody, see James F. Findlay, Dwight L. Moody: American Evangelist, 1837–1899 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1969)”

This is published form of Findlay’s dissertation, completed at the University of Northwestern under Arthur S. Link (“Dwight L. Moody, Evangelist of the Gilded Age: 1837–1899” (1961). Findlay’s book includes a section documenting Moody’s segregated revivals in the 1870s and 1880s, and provides several footnotes that served as the starting point for this series.

Lyle Dorsett

Lyle W. Dorsett, A Passion for Souls : The Life of D.L. Moody (Chicago: Moody Press, 1997

Lyle Dorsett’s nearly 500 page biography of Moody makes only one brief reference to his segregated revivals, the initial meeting in 1876: “He considered holding his position and refusing to back down. But after much counsel he surrendered. The audiences remained segregated” (246).

Dorsett does not mention at all the segregation in the meetings throughout the 1880s, nor the Black protest that accompanied it. In fact, he emphasizes the “pain” and “turmoil” of Moody: “When the Whittles and Moodys left Georgia, D. L. Moody was limping emotionally from many wounds” (246). Moody’s hurt feelings and “humiliations” are centered; Black protest is totally ignored. Perhaps this is to be expected in a book published by Moody Press, with a Foreword by the President of Moody Bible Institute. Nevertheless, this is how whitewashed reputations are passed down from generation to generation, as Dorsett’s biography is probably the most accessible to the current generation of evangelicals.

Edward Blum

Edward J. Blum, “Inventor of Legends Miraculous: National Reconciliation and Racial Segregation during America’s Third Great Awakening,” in Reforging the White Republic: Race, Religion, and American Nationalism 1865–1898 (2005): 120–45.

Edward Blum has examined the broad scope of Moody’s career as “the most famous and powerful evangelical leader in the United States” and in particular, his role in the “reunion” of the white North and the white South after the Civil War. Blum shows how Moody encouraged Americans to “set aside social and political issues in order to focus on spiritual conversions and personal piety” (123). This setting aside of “politics in the 1870s and 1880s “had a specific meaning. It invariably meant a rejection of radical Reconstruction and its emphasis on black civil rights and civic nationalism” (129). Blum documents how Moody “acted as a bridge between the white North and the white South. Reunion was forged at the expense of racial reform and African American rights, and people of color tried to resist it” (145). Blum’s chapter also contains a section on Moody’s segregated revivals int he 1870s and 1880s.

Michael S. Hamilton

Michael S. Hamilton, “The Interdenominational Evangelicalism of D. L. Moody and the Problem of Fundamentalism”in American Evangelicalism: George Marsden and the State of American Religious History, ed. Darren Dochuk, Thomas S Kidd, and Kurt W. Peterson (2014): 442–67.

What I’ve called the “Moody Machine” in individual revival campaigns, Hamilton traces as a broader “Moody movement” that created an infrastructure for “interdenominational evangelicalism” that is still with us today. 

“The popular movement that after 1925 came to be called “fundamentalism”—that is, the movement based in independent bible institutes, missionary organizations, and large autonomous urban churches—had been organized in the late nineteenth century by Dwight L. Moody and his lieutenants” (233).

“what Moody midwifed into being was in fact a new form of interdenominational evangelicalism that has reshaped American life” (234).

“The three institutional legs of the Moody network were Bible institutes, independent missionary organizations, independent missionary organizations, and large autonomous urban churches” (258).

Hamilton shows how Moody “had an extraordinary ability to bring together religious leaders who opposed each other on questions related to holiness, dispensationalism, the timing of the millennium, and other matters” including, as Hamilton highlights, the issue of evolution (248). Moody also wielded this ability, as Blum demonstrates, to bring together white Northerners and Southerners after the way, but he pointedly did not attempt to bring together Christians from across the color line. Though Hamilton does not discuss Moody’s segregated revivals, reading his chapter alongside Blum and Findlay shows some striking comparisons. For example, Hamilton spends a significant portion of his chapter on the way Moody and then later fundamentalists engaged the issue of evolution.  Moody was a “bridge” figure between Christian evolutionists, and fundamentalists who saw it as a threat. For example, a pastor named Henry Drummond had written a book “synthesizing evolution and evangelicalism. “Despite pressure from his subordinates to exclude Drummond, Moody never ceased inviting him to take a prominent role in his enterprises” (248–49). 

Moody’s willingness to resist pressure in the case of evolution is in sharp contrast to the constant excuses he gave when giving in to “local pressure” to segregate his southern campaigns. He was more than willing to do so in the one case, regardless of who he might “lose”; he was utterly unwilling to do so in the other. He was willing to bring “opposing parties” together on the issue of evolution; he was not willing to bring Black and white Christians together in the face of Southern racism. 

Mike McDuffee

Michael McDuffee

Michael McDuffee was professor of history & historical theology at the Moody Bible Institute for nearly twenty-five years, and has grappled hard with Moody’s legacy of white-supremacy. His post “Almost Done Leaves Things Unfinished” (2021) explores in depth Moody’s segregated meetings, relying heavily on Blum. In his 2013 post “I See Men Like Trees, Walking,” McDuffee documents Moody’s own endorsement of white-supremacist “evangelist” Sam Jones, and how Moody’s publishing company printed white-supremacist comments, Biblical commentary, and racist anecdotes for decades. McDuffee’s articles are a good model of how to grapple with a racist legacy, and advocate for meaningful institutional response.

Centering Black Voices

Throughout this series I have given extended quotes from the Black figures who protested Moody. This is an intentional effort to center their voices, an act of excavating material that has been buried under the years of white forgetting. White forgetting is itself a part of Moody’s legacy. Edward Blum notes that “Moody displayed an historical amnesia that mirrored and theologically justified the northern impulse to step away from radical Reconstruction” a “forgetfulness” that “glossed over the decade of horrible sectional and racial violence” (Reforging,132). In particular, I’ve highlighted the role that Francis Grimké played in these protest. This is due in part to personal interest—it would be possible to examine Black protest from the perspective of the A. M. E. Church, for example—but I think it is also warranted historically, by the prominence of Grimké’s reputation, and the effect that his protest had. My hope for those who have read this series, is that by reading Black voices directly, a complacent and forgetful white evangelicalism might be awakened to the true roots of our movement, and the courageous voices who advocated for change.

“DO NOT WANT MOODY”: Black Protest against Dwight L. Moody, Part 3: 1887–1894

Note: this is part 3 of a series giving context for an 1886 article by Francis Grimké; see: 

In 1885 and 1886, Black leaders, both within and outside the church, protested Dwight L. Moody’s segregated revivals. Did their protest have any effect? How was the memory of Moody’s racist practice and the Black response to it passed on over the years? Did Moody himself take any notice of these Black voices? This post examines these questions, with a particular interest in the way Francis Grimké’s experience and his published protest was referenced by other Black pastors in subsequent years.

A. M. E. Church in New York: “Mr. Moody Could Not Preach in a Barn” (1887)

William B. Derrick (source)

One year after Moody’s segregated tour of the south, and Francis Grimké’s published protest, the New York Annual Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church was held in June 1887 at the Bridge Street A. M. E. Church in Brooklyn. In their discussion on “the state of the country,” Dr. Benjamin T. Tanner (1845–1913) said this:

The report should condemn the conduct of Dwight L. Moody… I would not have ‘Evangelist’ Moody preach in a bar-room of mine if I owned it, much less in a church. His conduct in his Southern tour has been shameful towards the negroes of the South, and in Charleston, when I was there, he positively refused to allow representation in his evangelical meetings from among the colored churches of the city, placing caste above Christianity and his patented system of salvation, by which the whites could be saved and the blacks lost, above the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ, which offers salvation to every sinner.

Dr. William B. Derrick (1843–1913), secretary of the conference, concurred with Tanner:

“The committee will report on both these questions with no uncertain voice… and I hope that every conference will help us in denouncing these outrages as they deserve. We have a double cross to bear, and heavy ones too. We are more cordially received in haunts of vice than in the alleged temples of Christ. Mr. Moody shows his narrow nature by his appeal to caste in the South, and dragged his meetings to the level of a circus, in which he plays the clown… We have so many things to fight against that we may run short of ammunition, but we will fight until the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man is recognized at least by professing Christians.”

Without Gloves: Dwight L. Moody Denounced by Colored Clergymen,” The Brooklyn Standard Union, June 10, 1887.

Another account quoted Tanner in slightly different words, but with the same substance:

“I simply want to say there is one phase of the subject on the state of the country which I trust will receive the attention of the committee on a supplementary report, and that is the conduct of the Evangelist Moody in the South. I could wish that there could go up one unbroken voice against the conduct of the Evangelist Moody in the complete surrender which he made to the Southern spirit of caste. I happened in Charleston, S. C., and in Jacksonville, Fla., and in both of these cities the colored clergymen were created with the most unmerited contempt. Mr. Moody could not preach in a barn of mine, and certainly not in my church. He has gone South, and in so far as his influence could he has crystallized the worst phase of caste prejudice that the world has ever seen. He shelters himself behind the arrangements which he makes with the Southern clergymen; and, while excluding colored people from the Moody services, they give to them one day in their churches. Many of our colored pastors open their churches and allow Mr. Moody to give them the crumbs from the white churches. We are men and Christians, entitled to respectful consideration from ministers of the Gospel; and as Christians we wish for nothing more, and as men we can submit to nothing less. I hope that the committee in the supplementary report will express our sentiments upon this complete and unholy surrender of Mr. Moody to the wicked spirit of American slavery. When he was called upon to explain his unchristian conduct he treated the respectful request with silence. A gentleman, the Rev. Frank Grimke, his equal in profession and his superior as a scholar, wrote an account to the Independent of Mr. Moody’s unchristian course, to which he paid no attention. Such are the acts of this professing evangelist, who so deports himself as if he had a patent upon Christianity.”

(“Could Not Preach in a Barn: What a Colored Preacher Thinks of Evangelist Moody,” The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, June 11, 1887)
Benjamin T. Tanner (source)

Tanner was the editor of the A. M. E. Church Review, a quarterly journal that published four articles by Francis Grimké between 1885 and 1887 (see Francis and Charlotte Grimké in the A.M.E. Church Review, 1885–1887). It is fascinating to know that Tanner was in Jacksonville with Grimké at the time of Moody’s segregated revival. Tanner referencing Grimké at the 1887 New York Conference is an example of how networks of Black leaders kept their colleagues’ work visible in public discourse, even when white media outlets might have preferred to ignore it.

Chicago: “He likes a ni**er well enough in his place” (1887)

T. W. Henderson (source)

The report of the New York Conference reverberated through the country, including in Moody’s home base of Chicago. A reporter for the the Chicago Daily Inter Ocean interviewed A. M. E. pastor Thomas W. Henderson (1845–1915) for comment. Henderson affirmed his New York brethren’s sentiments, and added his own experience of discrimination: 

“Mr. Moody deserves all he got and more too… Every charge which Dr. Tanner made against Mr. Moody at the New York conference is true. Everybody knows that since Mr. Moody’s visits to the South he has completely ignored the colored race. He has fallen from the platform upon which he started out.” Henderson then described how in 1880, Moody had visited his church in St. Louis and preached, but several years later, when Henderson tried to speak with him again, he reported Moody as saying, “‘Oh, don’t bother me; I’ve no time to talk to you.’ … I made five or six more attempts to see him, but never obtained an audience. He treated other colored ministers precisely the same way.”

The reporter sought out an alternative opinion from Mr. B. F. Jacobs. Interestingly, Jacobs had heard Moody speak about the issue of race in the South, and specifically the meetings in Jacksonville, where Francis Grimké was pastoring:

“I heard Mr. Moody speak about that very matter when he was here last winter. He said that the trouble originated in Jacksonville, Fla., and came about in this way. All the arrangements for his meetings there were in the hands of the local committee who invited him. They arranged for the special building and its seating, and I believe they set aside the gallery for the colored people. These didn’t want to be partitioned off, and came to Mr. Moody about it. He explained to them that he couldn’t interfere in the arrangements of the local committee, and they at once conceived the idea that he was against them. He knew that if he did anything contrary to the local arrangements he would alienate the entire white population, and so he declined. Mr. Moody expressed to me great sympathy with the colored people, and a sincere desire to help them. At one place in the South, he offered to hold special meetings with them, but they refused, as a general feeling had been aroused against him among the entire race. I think he feels as kindly toward them as ever, and I know that he is very anxious to reach them, and greatly regretted any feeling that was excited.”

Hasty Action. That of the Colored Preachers in New York in Attacking Mr. Moody,” The Chicago Daily Inter-Ocean, June 21, 1887.

It is interesting that Moody said the trouble originated in Jacksonville. Black pastors had protested his segregated meetings in Washington in January 1885. They protested his meetings in Chattanooga in February 1886 and in Galveston in March 1886, all before the meetings in Jacksonville in April 1886. But something about Jacksonville must have caught Moody’s attention, at least as reported by Jacobs. Perhaps it was Grimké’s article published in the New York Independent, which would have garnered more attention than notices published in local newspapers throughout the South. Regardless, this would prove that Moody indeed aware of Grimké’s protest—he simply chose to do nothing about it.

Henderson wrote in the following week to contest the framing of the previous article. Henderson also explicitly explained why the use of segregated “galleries” was so offensive to Black people—it was the very same system used during slavery to segregate church services then, placing enslaved Black people in the gallery, operate from the white worshippers.

The whole letter deserves to be read in full, but here are some of the key quotes:

“Mr. Moody went South full of zeal for the salvation of souls. He found a loft, usually called a gallery, for his colored hearers—just such a one as was used in slavery times; the colored people protested; they thought they wanted to go to the sweet heaven Mr. Moody was picturing and wanted to start from the same level. But this God-sent man said, “I have nothing to do with where people sit; and if the committee says you colored people must go into the gallery, there you must go.”

Moody’s services were very crowded, and seats could be hard to find, but apparently he had a practice of calling out to the congregation to help someone find a seat—except for Black people. Henderson:

“Now, I call to witness every man, woman, and child whoever attended one of Mr. Moody’s meetings, that he was always watching for vacant seats and calling out from the platform, “Come this way; here is a seat, and there is a seat.” But I challenge any man to say that he ever heard Mr. Moody calling to a colored man or woman to come forward to a seat.”

Henderson contrasted Moody with a Senator Sherman:

“Senator Sherman finds colored men refused admission to his rooms in a Southern hotel, and at once leaves the hotel and goes to where they can be admitted. Mr. Moody, a great religionist, finds colored people refused to the floor of his meetings where he is preaching that Jesus Christ is no respecter of persons, and he simply tells them, “you must stand it; I can’t help it.” But says to them, “I will go up to some of your colored churches and talk to you.” They felt insulted and told Mr. Moody that they would try and get their sins washed away without him. They had no faith in any such a man.”

Henderson then reported on Moody’s demeanor in Chicago:

“I refer to what I have before said—Mr. Moody paid no more attention to the colored ministers of Chicago than he did to the dogs on the streets. I know of my own knowledge that the leading colored minister of Chicago, a man well-known personally to Mr. Moody, placed himself directly in the path of Mr. Moody more than a half dozen times during his late stay in this city, for the very purpose of testing this very question, and received no more attention, nor half as much, as if he had been a common pick-pocket. The gentlemen mentioned in your article may say as often as they please that Mr. Moody has great interest in the colored people, but for our part we answer, “The Lord deliver us from all such interested representatives of the Lord Jesus.” Mr. Moody’s interest is like that of many other whit men. He likes a ni**er well enough in his place, and he thinks the gallery, or loft, or some such quarter is his place.”

The Action Not Hasty,” The Chicago Inter Ocean, June 25, 1887

Louisville: “DO NOT WANT MOODY” (1888)

William M. Hargrave (source)

In January and February 1888, Moody conducted an extended campaign in Louisville, Kentucky. As usual, the committee planned segregated meetings, including one “for colored people only” (“Ministers in Session,” The Louisville Courier-Journal, January 3, 1888). While the meetings were reported in detail in the Louisville Courier-Journal, there are very few details regarding the attendance of Black people, except for a brief reference on the last day of the meetings: “The doors opened at 5:45 o’clock, and a little after 6 there were no vacant seats. The colored people came early, but Mr. Moody said they had not asked him to preach to them” (“Notes,” The Louisville Courier-Journal, February 13, 1888).

Perhaps this was the immediate source of the report published the same day under the top line heading “DO NOT WANT MOODY.” The write reported that “It has been a matter of common report for several days that owing to the lukewarmness of leading colored preachers Mr. Moody had not been invited to return to Louisville next fall and preach to the colored people, although he had from the pulpit announced his willingness to do so.” The reporter spoke with William M. Hargrave, pastor of Knox Presbyterian church for comment. When asked about the “lukewarmness” toward Moody, Hargrave said this:

“I think that the local committee in charge of the Moody meetings made a great mistake in the arrangements, and if there is any lukewarmness it has grown out of that arrangement. I see no reason why there should be a color line in matters of this sort. We don’t want to perpetuate the sins of our fathers… The whites and the blacks ought to co-operate in the work of God. Why, white and black men co-operate in the election of men to office, and I don’t see why they can’t do the same in religious matters.”

He went on:

“I think any lukewarmness there may be proceeds from the separate arrangement made by the local committee. The colored people felt snubbed… Any union meeting where the people are classified according to race or color will be a failure as far as the colored people are concerned.”

Hargrave doubted Moody’s effectiveness:

“If Mr. Moody were to come to preach to the colored people I doubt if he could reach them. He has failed to reach those he wanted to so far… No, he could do us no good. He could not reach the colored people.”

Hargrave was familiar with Moody’s broader practice of segregated campaigns, and of Francis Grimké’s protest two years earlier:

“Speaking for myself, I must say that I felt mortified and disappointed when the color question was raised. It has been the same all over the South as here. The fight has been on principle. One of our best known colored ministers, Rev. F. J. Grimke, of Jacksonville, Fla, when Mr. Moody was there, wrote an open letter to one of the papers attacking and denouncing the whole business as a matter of principle—on the color line ground. This principle has been the source of my opposition to the arrangement made here.”

(“Do Not Want Moody,” The Louisville Courier-Journal, February 13, 1888.

William Hargrave and Francis Grimké crossed paths several times over their careers as Black Presbyterian pastors. Both graduated from Lincoln University (Grimké in 1870, Hargrave in 1873), and Grimké served as an agent for fundraising for the school and was studying in the Law Department while Hargrave was a student there. Grimké went on to Princeton for theological studies, while Hargrave stayed in the Theological Department at Lincoln, graduating in 1876. In 1877 Hargrave was ordained and began pastoring Knox Presbyterian Church in Baltimore, just down the road from Washington, D. C. A decade later, in 1887, Hargrave accepted a call to Louisville, to “the only colored Presbyterian church in Louisville,” where he was for the Moody meetings of 1888. Being the pastor of a Black Presbyterian church was a unique experience that both Grimké and Hargrave could relate to. In 1891, Hargrave was called to be professor of Christian Evidences and Pastoral Theology at Biddle University, the same year Grimké was also called to come to Biddle. Hargrave accepted the post, Grimké declined. A decade later, in 1904, Hargrave and Grimké were both involved in the Black protest over the eventual union with the segregationist Cumberland Presbytery. Hargrave died in 1907, while still serving as a professor at Biddle. Thus, his knowledge of, and resonance with Grimké’s protest of Moody was not accidental or happenstance, but generated from the fact that as Black Presbyterians, they shared a unique set of overlapping networks.

(On Hargrave, see “Lincoln University,” The College Courant 10.21 (1872): 251–52; “Commencement at Lincoln University,” Wilmington Daily Commercial, May 1, 1876; Minutes of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States, 1877; “Ministerial Personals,” The Christian Union (1887): 21; “Interesting Folks,” The Galion Daily Leader, October 3, 1891; Minutes – United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., 1901; “Union Question Will Be Keenly Discussed,” Wilkes-Barre Times, May 26, 1904; Presbyterian Church in the U. S. A. General Assembly, Minutes, 1907; Lincoln University, College, and Theological Seminary. Biographical Catalogue 1918 (Lancaster, Pa., The New Era Printing Company, 1918)

Ida B. Wells: “jim crow arrangements” (1893–94)

Ida B. Wells

Ida B. Wells was living in Memphis in 1886 the year of Moody’s segregated revival meetings there. That experience was significant enough to her that she recounted it seven years later, in 1893, when she travelled to England “to arouse public sentiment on the subject” of lynching (Alfreda M. Duster, ed., Crusade for Justice: The Autobiography of Ida B. Wells (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1972), 96). 

While in England, Wells was asked about D. L. Moody:

“The only other occurrence of special importance which happened during this trip had to do with the questions that were asked me after each lecture. Almost invariably, when I said that the Christian and moral sentiment of my own country remained silent in the face of these mob outrages, someone would ask, What about Rev. D. L. Moody and Miss Frances Willard? Both of these persons were well known and highly esteemed by the British people. Rev. Moody had visited and preached through­ out Great Britain on several occasions… My answer to these queries was that neither of those great exponents of Christianity in our country had ever spoken out in condemnation of lynching, but seemed on the contrary disposed to overlook that fashionable pastime of the South. I remembered very clearly that when Rev. Moody had come to the South with his revival sermons the notices printed said that the Negroes who wished to attend his meetings would have to go into the gallery or that a special service would be set aside for colored people only. I had noticed mention of this in colored newspapers printed in the towns where Rev. Moody had spoken. 

Not in one instance was there ever any word to show that Rev. Moody objected to this segregation. In every case he ap­peared and spoke to the segregated gathering. Perhaps he thought it better to put over the gospel in this left-handed way than not to preach to poor benighted Negroes at all. Or he might have thought that he would destroy his influence with the good southern white Christians if he attempted to rebuke their un­christian attitude. Whatever the cause, no Negroes had ever heard of Rev. Moody’s refusal to accept these jim crow arrangements, or knew of any protest of his against lynchings.”

Autobiography, 111–12.

It is interesting that Wells took note of the “colored newspapers” throughout the South that made public the Black protest. Even if the broader white world was trying not to pay attention, figures like Wells certainly were. 

The following year, in 1894, Wells took another trip to England and was asked about it again. Her comments were published in the United States in the Chicago Inter Ocean as part of an ongoing series which published letters from her during her travels:

“I have been asked as to the attitude of the Rev. Dwight L. Moody and Miss Frances E. Willard, both well known in Great Britain, on this subject of the Negro’s rights. I have been com­pelled in the interest of truth to say that they have given the weight of their influence to the southern white man’s prejudices. Mr. Moody has encouraged the drawing of the color line in the churches by consenting to preach on separate days and in sepa­rate churches to the colored people in his tours throughout the South.” 

Ida B. Wells Abroad,” The Chicago Inter Ocean, April 23, 1894.

Interestingly, in August 1894, while Wells was still in England, a meeting was held in Boston to protest lynching and “to sustain Miss Ida B. Wells, who has been in England, and has aroused public opinion there against lynching.” A number of Black figures attended this meeting, including Bishop Tanner of the A.M.E. Church, Archibald Grimke, and Rev. Francis Grimke. There is no record of Grimké speaking at the meeting, but you can hear strong echoes of his article “The Anglo-American Pulpit and Southern Outrages” (1893), in the words of Edwin G. Walker: “We would not be here at this time to hold up the hands of Miss Wells if the pulpit of this country was doing its duty on this question of murdering innocent men, women, and children in the south.”

(“They Protest in Mass Meeting,” The Boston Globe, August 30, 1894)

I can find no record (yet!) of Grimké and Wells meeting or interacting in person during this period. Wells did lecture in Washington D.C. in 1893, but there is no record that Grimké attended that meeting (“Lynching in All Its Phases,” The Washington Evening Star, Feb 2, 1893). Both Wells and Grimké were became close friends of Frederick Douglass (and his second wife Helen) but it is possible that they labored in the anti-lynching cause in their own cities and in their own ways. The story of Francis Grimké’s outspoken anti-lynching advocacy is too large to cover here, but is worthy of it’s own focused treatment, as others have started to do (see, eg, Malcolm S. Foley, “The Only Way to Stop a Mob: Francis Grimké’s Biblical Case for Lynching Resistance,” in Timothy Larsen, ed., Every Leaf, Line, and Letter: Evangelicals and the Bible from the 1730s to the Present (InterVarsity Press, 2021): 196–218).

The next time I can find Wells-Barnett’s and Grimké’s names together is in 1909 when, along with W. E. B. Du Bois and a number of other Black leaders, they called for conference which would lead to the formation of the NAACP (“To Discuss the Negroes,” The Boston Globe, February 13, 1909).

It is remarkable that so many Black leaders experienced D. L. Moody’s segregated revivals and commented so publicly on them. Frederick Douglass, Francis Grimké, Benjamin Tanner, Ida B. Wells, even a young W. E. B. Du Bois did not escape the experience. The “Jim Crow Revival” seems to have become a common part of the collective Black experience in America in the 1880s.

So far this series has focused on the Black protest to Moody’s segregated revivals, and attempted to center their voices. The concluding post explores briefly Moody’s legacy in white evangelical (and fundamentalist) spaces, much of which remains with us to this day [FORTHCOMING].

“The whole colored clergy was ignored”: Black Protest against Dwight L. Moody, Part 2: 1886

(image: Dwight L. Moody; Francis Grimké; Joseph Simeon Flipper)

(Note: this is part 2 of a series giving context for an 1886 article by Francis Grimké; see: 

In November 1885, Francis Grimké accepted a call to Laura Street Presbyterian Church in Jacksonville Florida. On January 1, 1886, Dwight L. Moody kicked off a tour that would last until April, and carry him throughout the breadth of the South. After stopping in Cleveland and Chicago, Moody’s itinerary would take him to Knoxville, Chattanooga, Nashville, and Memphis; then on to New Orleans, then Houston and Galveston, then back through Mobile, Oxford, and Selma, to Atlanta and Savannah, Jacksonville, then up to Charleston, Columbia, before finishing in Norfolk, Lynchburg, and Charlotte (“Revivalists on the Wing,” Savannah Morning News, January 1886). As had become his practice, every one of the meetings in the South was planned and conducted according to Jim Crow segregation.

Moody’s 1886 Southern Campaign (original map from the Library of Congress)

Moody faced Black protest in many of these cities. It’s possible that Black pastors protested in every single one of them, but our knowledge is limited by what was published in the newspapers at the time, and what papers we currently have access to. Even with these limitations, we can still hear a chorus of Black protest to Moody’s segregated meetings that reached a crescendo with Francis Grimké’s published article “Mr. Moody and the Color Question in the South.”

Chattanooga: “The Colored Ministers Kick”

In the second city on the tour, the Black pastors protested. The committee that had planned the Moody meetings in Chattanooga consisted of all white members, who decided that of the various meetings that Moody would hold, “one of the services should be given to the colored people, and accordingly arranged a time and place for Mr. Moody to deliver a sermon to the colored people.” Black pastors in the city did not appreciate being excluded from the planning, excluded from the regular meetings, and told when and where to go to a “separate” revival “for colored people.” They “felt that they had been ignored to some extent in not being consulted with reference to the time and place of the services of the colored people.” The Black pastors called a meeting, and passed the following resolutions:

We the independent colored ministers of the city of Chattanooga, Tenn., met at Wesley Chapel M. E. Church to consider the previous arrangements made by the committee of white brethren to have Mr. Moody preach a special sermon to the colored people of this city Sunday, January 31st, and whereas a special time and place has been considered requisite in order to reach the colored people alone without having consulted the ministry, thus designating us an element unfit to attend public services in common with other races. Therefore we feel aggrieved by the discrimination made and refuse to accept the arrangements as published in the daily papers. We hereby subscribe our names: Jas. E. Smith, B. H. Johnson, Lee Mitchell, P. H. Binford, C. L. McTyeire, J. R. Inman, G. D. Olden and C. C. Petty, Pastors.

 (“The Colored Ministers Kick,” The Chattanooga Daily Times, January 23, 1886)

In Chattanooga, rather than participate in the segregated Moody “revival,” the Black pastors of the city decided to work together to plan their own revival meetings the following month, leaving the table of Jim Crow to build their own (“Colored Union Revival,” Chattanooga Daily Times, February 4, 1886). The lives of each one of these pastors is a ripe opportunity for more research.

As more and more Black people protested these arrangements, some people tried to push the responsibility away from Moody onto the local planning committees. The argument was that Moody just showed up in the city and went where he was told to go; how could he know about all of the various racial dynamics in each city where he went? 

We know that Moody was aware of these protests, because his traveling partner, Ira Sankey, recorded this very incident in his memoir:

At Chattanooga the colored people boycotted our meetings, the colored ministers taking offense because they were not invited to take seats on the platform. We arranged a special meeting for the colored people, and were surprised to find the church nearly empty when we arrived.

Ira Sankey, My Life and the Story of the Gospel Hymns and of Sacred Songs and Solos (1907), 88.

In Nashville, Moody’s services “for colored people” were held at Fisk University (“Moody and Sankey,” Nashville Banner, February 5, 1886). A 17 year old W. E. B. Du Bois was a student at Fisk at the time, and he mentions the Moody visit in a letter, though he makes no comment on it, positively or negatively (The Correspondence of W. E. B. Du Bois, vol. 1: 5)

In Memphis, out of eight meetings, one was a special meeting “for the colored people,” as they would not be allowed to attend any of the other meetings (“Moody and Sankey,” Memphis Daily Appeal, February 5, 1886). Ida B. Wells was living in Memphis at the time, and would later recount Moody’s segregated meetings when traveling abroad in England. New Orleans, too, had separate meetings “for the colored people” (“Moody and Sankey,” New Orleans Times-Picayune, February 15, 1886)

Texas: “The Colored Clergy Dissent”

When Moody embarked on the Texas leg of his tour, the schedule was updated to include new cities, and all of them followed the same format at each place. In Galveston, Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas, there would be a number of scheduled meetings, but always a separate meeting “for colored people” (“Christian Conventions,” The Fort Worth Gazette February 18, 1886).

At the first stop in Galveston, Black pastors protested the segregation publicly:

To the citizens of Galveston interested in the evangelistic meetings to be held shortly, Greeting. We the undersigned ministers of Galveston, while sympathizing with the efforts of our friends to elevate the moral and religious sentiments of our community, can not give our countenance to the discrimination made by the committee of arrangements. Unless that committee can show us that there are two heavens, one for the black souls and one for the white souls. Hence we respectfully ask to be excused from the present meetings, and any future such.—in which the discrimination will be as clearly made.

J. E. Edwards, Wm. F. Floyd, M. D., P. Morgan, J. H. Hall, B. J. Hall, F. Parker

(“Moody and Sankey Revival,” The Galveston Daily News, February 16, 1886

A reporter from the Daily News followed up with the Black pastors, and got this quote:

The trouble is simply this: The local committee invited our co-operation, which was at first freely given until we discovered that out of the three days revivals in Galveston, only one hour is set apart for colored people. Now, we do not think this is anything like a fair allotment of time, and so we had a mass meeting last Sunday, at which this question was discussed, and owing to this reason, and no other, the sense of the meeting was taken as being opposed to this unfair division of time.”

(“Moody and Sankey Revival,” The Galveston Daily News, February 21, 1886)

The reporter had also heard that “the program arranged for Galveston is the same throughout the State, and it is understood that a like dissatisfaction prevails among the colored people of San Antonio.”

In response to this protest, the Moody campaign decided just to drop “the colored meeting” from the schedule altogether:

“In consequence, at the suggestion of Rev. Henry E. Brown, agent of Messrs. Moody and Sankey, the committee have dropped them from the program entirely” (“Galveston,” Austin Daily Statesman, February 21, 1886)

The editor of the Brenham Banner opined that it was “evident that they [i.e., Black people] don’t want to be saved” (“Editorial Notes,” The Brenham Weekly Banner,February 25, 1886)

“Mr. Moody’s Wise Course”?

In early March, halfway through the campaign, the Morning News in Savannah, Georgia, published an article dedicated to Moody’s practice of segregated meetings, which they considered a “wise course.” In addition to being a great preacher, the article praised him as “a man of excellent common sense,” seen specifically in “his treatment of the race question since he has been in the South.” The Southern editor summarized the campaign so far: “Efforts were made in a number of Southern cities to induce him to make no distinction between the white and black races at his meetings.” People advocating for equal treatment were labeled “the extremists, the cranks, and those who delight in strife” who had pressed Moody “with considerable persistence.” Moody, “in effect, said: ‘No, I will not touch the race issue. Let the local committees deal with it, so far as my meetings are concerned, as they think best. They know more about it than I do, and doubtless will avoid the mistake that I would be liable to make.” This was a striking assessment, given that the these committees which “know more about” the “race issue” were entirely white, and excluded Black participation, thus creating a vicious circle of feedback: Moody appealed to his local committees; the committees excluded Black pastors; Black pastors protested against Moody; Moody appealed to his local committees…

The Morning News felt that these committees had “dealt with it thus far, and very successfully” and also wished that the entire nation, especially “the extremists at the North,” would “learn something for their own guidance in the course pursued by Mr. Moody.”

The article remarkably admits that there were no plans to deal with white supremacy any time soon; in fact, the plan was not to deal with it at all and just let everything play out: “The issue, however, is not one that can be settled in a day or a year… It can be settled only by time—that is, it will eventually work out its own settlement. This, Mr. Moody is wise enough to see.” (“Mr. Moody’s Wise Course,” Savannah Morning News, March 7, 1886.)

This was the article that Francis Grimké would quote at length and use as his foil when lambasting Moody several months later, dismantling the argument piece by piece, and calling Moody to account.

Jacksonville: “The Whole Colored Clergy Was Ignored”

Francis Grimké

Moody made his way back to the east, holding segregated meetings in Mobile, Alabama (“Moody and Sankey,” The New Orleans Daily Picayune, March 12, 1886), and arriving in Jacksonville, Florida on March 22. Here, the pattern played out yet again: Black ministers were excluded from the planning; one segregated meeting was planned for Black people to attend (without consulting them); Black pastors protested.

An article describing the meetings was published in the Savannah Morning News, but its language needs to be understood correctly—when the schedule says that the first meeting was “open to all,” it means “all white men and women.” There were separate meetings for white women, white men, and Black people, and a “general” meeting for white men and women. The language of “all” is to be understood within the total framework of whiteness.

(“Moody and Sankey: Closing of the Great Revival Meetings at Jacksonville,” Savannah Morning News, March 23, 1886).

This time the protest came in the form of a full length article written by “Rev. Francis J. Grimke” and published in the New York Independent. Grimké responded in particular to the article “Mr. Moody’s Wise Course” (see above) and dismantled the arguments in favor of Moody’s segregated revivals.

Grimké described the proceedings:

“In the city of Jacksonville, at the conference which took into consideration the coming of Mr. Moody to the city, not one colored minister was present. The whole colored clergy was ignored, and a meeting appointed for their people at the hour of one of their regular services, without consultation with them.” 

“even at the special meeting for colored people in this city (there was only one to which they were admitted, out of the eight meetings held,) it was impossible to keep the whites away, although it was announced beforehand that they would not be admitted.”

“Mr. Moody knew, further, that by this arrangement the colored people would be deprived of attending the great majority of those meetings. Again, he knew that in taking this position he was pandering to an unholy prejudice—the direct effect of which would be to harden men in their sins.”

Grimké held nothing but disdain for Moody’s practice:

“It is impossible to contem­plate this man from his lofty eminence, as the most noted evangelist of modern times, and yet stooping to a thing so mean, so cowardly, so utterly opposed to the plainest teachings of the holy religion in which he professes to believe, without mingled feel­ings of pity and disgust. Under some cir­cumstances it might be the duty of Chris­tian charity to go backward and cover his shame; but in the present instance the whole affair is so aggravated, so utterly without excuse as to call only for the sever­est condemnation.”

The whole article is a powerful rebuke of racial prejudice, and deserves to be read in full:

Francis Grimke, “Mr. Moody and the Color Question in the South” (1886)

Charleston: “Only White Persons Were Allowed To Attend”

From Jacksonville, Moody went on to Charleston, South Carolina. There, the segregated meetings were reported explicitly: 


At the services held at Agricultural hall, only white persons were allowed to attend…”

Charleston Aroused,” The Atlanta Constitution, March 29, 1886.

The Savannah Morning News put it the other way:

“The hall has been crowded daily and nightly by men and women (No colored people were admitted, special services being held for them elsewhere)”

Moody and Sankey Depart,” Savannah Morning News, March 20, 1886.

Atlanta: “Trouble with the Colored People”

Joseph Simeon Flipper

Moody’s meetings in Atlanta were held April 3–7, and the schedule had been advertised several weeks in advance. As usual, the sixteen scheduled meetings were segregated, with two of them “for colored people only.” The Atlanta Constitution added the note that “the entire order [had] been suggested by Mr. Moody himself,” which, if true, removed even the flimsy excuse that Moody deferred these decisions to the local committees (“Moody and Sankey Meetings,” The Atlanta Constitution, March 21, 1886). As in other locations, Black clergy protested, this time led by A. M. E. Pastor Joseph Simeon Flipper (1859–1944):

“During the week there has been considerable trouble with the colored people. The gentlemen who arranged the program intended two services for colored people. Certain of the colored citizens, however, kicked up a disturbance because they had not been consulted. Rev. Flipper of Big Bethel, led a party of discontents, but was finally pacified… There is a prejudice with the  colored people against Mr. Moody on account of his views on the race question: in that he conforms to the customs of the particular locality in which he is preaching”

Trouble with Colored People,” The Atlanta Constitution, April 4, 1886

Articles like this are a good example of why one must read these accounts “against the grain” of the white-supremacy that colors even the way these incidents are reported. In a situation where Black pastors are protesting racial prejudice, they are characterized as having “prejudice against Mr. Moody.” In a situation where Black people were “not permitted” to enter white-only revival meetings, they were characterized as “kicking up a disturbance.”

Nevertheless, the segregated meetings went on as planned, with the meetings “for colored people” held in Friendship Baptist Church, pastored by Rev. E. R. Carter. In an ironic twist, Mr. Moody preached from Luke 2:7: “Because there was no room for them in the inn”—but rather than make any reference to the fact that he was speaking to a group of people who were told “no room for you” at every turn in the South, including his own revivals, Moody spiritualized the text with reference to peoples “hearts” which had “no room for Christ.”

Moody made reference in his sermon to the battle for prohibition in Atlanta:

“I understand you had a vote here not long ago as to whether you would vote the devil out or keep him in, and the result was almost in favor of the devil. You could not get the votes for Christ… Every rum-seller would vote to keep him out… There is not a town or city on the face of the earth that would vote to have him come back. They don’t want him. You colored people would like to have him come? You think you would? Are you sure about it? Come, my friend, think! There would be an overwhelming majority against him. There is no room in this world for the Son of God.”

Mr. Moody Yesterday,” The Atlanta Constitution, April 5, 1886.

Again, the irony is sharp. Black Christian had been praying fervently for centuries for Christ to come back and set injustice to rights, including the injustices that attended Moody’s own campaigns. For Moody to lecture them on “desiring Christ’s return” is the epitome of religious blindness to both material and spiritual realities.

The Macon Telegraph also picked up on the recent vote, and drew a sharp contrast between the color-line rigidly maintained at Moody’s revival meetings, and the blurring of that line when garnering Black votes for prohibition in Atlanta:

“Our special correspondent from Atlanta recites the fact that negroes are debarred from the privilege of listening to the eloquence of Moody and the melody of Sankey because they are negroes. Indeed, they are deprived of a chance to be saved on account of their color.

“What renders this case peculiarly aggravating is that these same negroes but a little while ago were brothers, stuffed with hot coffee, cakes and pies and decorated with the red badges of prohibition. They were good enough to vote down the business and property of white men. They were presented with flags and memorials. It is possible that they may have been given a nickel or so. They mingled with their white brothren [sic] under the grand tent and marched arm and arm with them to the many ballot boxes, but now, when an opportunity should be offered to them to join hands and sing “Blessed be the tie that binds,” they are excluded from the benefits of tuneful psalmody and the instruction of the traveling evangelists, and all because they are black or parti-colored.”

(“Cases for the Coroner,” The Macon Telegraph, April 4, 1886).

For more on the Black temperance movement, and the role of Black voters in Atlanta’s Prohibition saga, see H. Paul Thompson’s engaging study: A Most Stirring and Significant Episode: Religion and the Rise and Fall of Prohibition in Black Atlanta, 1865–1887.

Moody Bible Institute

Interestingly, 1886 was the year that $250,000 was raised for the founding of the Chicago Evangelization Society. Moody came to Chicago in December 1886 and stayed for several months to help establish the institution, which was incorporated in February 1887.

(“City Mission Training School,” The Chicago Inter Ocean, November 21, 1886; “New Corporations,” Chicago Tribune, February 14, 1887).

Throughout the year, Moody had repeatedly pushed Black bodies to the side, and then ignored Black voices of protest when they spoke up about their treatment. Now, from a home base in Chicago, he would train generations of future Christian workers how to do evangelism.

What was the impact of Black protest against Moody’s segregated revivals? Did anyone take note? What about the impact of Moody’s endorsement and practice of segregation? The third, and final post in this series takes up those questions: [FORTHCOMING]

“Caste Prejudice”: Black Protest against Dwight L. Moody, Part 1: 1885

(image: D. L. Moody; Frederick Douglass; Robert Ingersoll; Francis Grimké)

Note: this is part 1 of a series giving context for an 1886 article by Francis Grimké; see: 

Francis Grimké very likely encountered Dwight L. Moody’s segregationist revival system for the first time in January 1885, when the evangelist was scheduled to hold a series of meetings in Washington, D. C. the weekend of January 16th to the 19th. Arguably the most famous evangelist in the world, Moody frequently attracted thousands of attendees to his meetings, and advance planning was necessary to coordinate all the logistics. The “Moody Machine” consisted of his own management team, which coordinated with local committees in each city where he visited, arranging the venues, the schedules, and the tickets to these meetings. In Washington, they decided to issue an invitation “to all ministers within a radius of fifty miles of the city, who are pastors in any evangelical church, to attend this convention… Admission will be by tickets, to be distributed by the city pastors to their membership” (“The Moody Meetings,” The National Republican, January 2, 1885).

“many ex-Confederates being present”—Richmond, Virginia

Thomas Jackson and Robert E. Lee (Library of Congress)

However, before he could travel up to Washington, Moody first needed to finish up his revival meetings in Richmond, Virginia, where he was embroiled in controversy. In December 1884, leading up to the scheduled meetings in Richmond, a “well known citizen” named B. D. Core had accused Moody of denigrating the character of two Confederate heroes, Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. Core claimed that at an 1876 revival at Hippodrome, New York, Moody had “divest[ed] Lee and Jackson of every honorable characteristic… ‘In a word,’ said he, ‘by every illustration and animus of their lives and actions, they more forcibly represented the character of the king of darkness than any since Judas betrayed the Lord of Glory.’ He then proceeded to clothe General Grant with all the grandeur of a god…”

Core was fighting the battles of the Lost Cause: “there lives not a Virginian with any pretensions to respectability who is not proud to claim a common citizenship with the immortal Lee and Jackson, and proud that Virginia had such Christian heroes to offer to the service of their country… Moody’s abuse of them is equally an abuse of each one of us who followed these peerless patriots… Their standard of a true, exalted Christian gentleman, is exalted enough for us” (“Down on Mr. Moody,” Alexandria Gazette and Virginia Advertiser, December 23, 1884).

When Moody arrived in Richmond on January 4, Southern Presbyterian Moses Hoge went to visit him immediately, and informed him “that there were no names more venerated and loved in Richmond than those of Generals Lee and Jackson, and that many of our people had been deeply pained by the report that he had spoken of them in a disparaging manner.”

Moody replied “emphatically that it was strange indeed that of all men these two should have been named as those of whom he had spoken disrespectfully, when they were the very men whom he held in the highest honor. He added that he had never said what had been imputed to him, and then proceeded to express freely and fully his admiration of these eminent men, so dear to the hearts of our southern people” (“Mr. Moody and Lee and Jackson,” Richmond Dispatch, January 4, 1885).

Apparently, Moody also sought out a meeting with Jackson’s widow. He remarked that “as soon as he reached the city [Richmond] he had sent a messenger to Mrs. Stonewall Jackson, assuring her that he had made no such remarks as imputed to him, and that he wished to talk with her.” In spite of (or, perhaps, because of) all of the controversy, “Mr. Moody had a large congregation in the evening, many ex-Confederates being present” (“Moody in Richmond,” Alexandria Gazette and Virginia Advertiser, 5 January 5, 1885).

Moody was not content to leave his apologies to private conversations. In one of his sermons in Richmond, “he wanted to say publicly and most emphatically that he had been incorrectly reported.” He was very concerned not to offend his pro-Confederate audience, and quoted the Bible to that effect: “Mr. Moody came forward and said that the Master teaches that ‘if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there remember that they brother hath aught against thee, leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way ; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.’” Moody again said that “he had always cherished for Lee and Jackson the highest respect, and he asserted that it was morally impossible for him to have said anything derogatory of their character. Even during the war, while a Northern man in his sympathies and feelings, he had always looked upon Lee and Jackson as not only great military men, but men of the highest Christian character.” He said further “that if he had at any time said in any of his sermons anything which has given offense to the people of the South, he asked the forgiveness of his brethren.” Moody wanted to get “all obstacles out of the way so that, with united hearts and hands, we might enter on this work” (“Mr. Moody’s Denial,” Alexandria Gazette and Virginia Advertiser, January 5, 1885; “Mr. Moody’s Meetings,” Richmond Dispatch, January 6, 1885).

The meetings in Richmond were held in observance with strict adherence to Jim Crow segregation, with a separate “special service for the colored people” (“The Evangelist: Mr. Moody’s Great Success,” Richmond Dispatch, January 7, 1885).

This controversy regarding Moody and the Confederate generals was national news, and was reported in newspapers in almost every state in the country, from Maine to Georgia, to Texas, to Salt Lake City; even Devils Lake, North Dakota carried a report. Moody’s effort to clarify his admiration for these Confederate generals was read across the entire country, his example was a national example. search: “moody jackson lee” [date: Jan 1883]

Moody’s willingness to publicly bend over backwards to pacify pro-Confederate southerners, praise Confederate generals, and remove any offense—with white people—stands out in stark contrast with his apparent total lack of concern for Black ministers when they would publicly voice their own concerns that very same month.

“Caste Prejudice”—Washington, D. C.

The very next week was the week of the scheduled meetings in Washington, and “A Brother in Black” wrote in to The National Republican with “a very pertinent inquiry”:

It begins to look as though the managers of the Moody meetings to be held at the Congregational Church in a few days have, for some reason, failed to supply the colored min­istry with tickets of admission to be distributed among their members. Is it that they were purposely overlooked? It would seem so, for there has been some talk of a meeting for the colored people in a colored church, and no colored minister was invited to any of the preliminary meetings which wore held before the mutter of issuing tickets was consummated. Will some one please inform me whether I am right in this opinion? 

(“A Very Pertinent Inquiry,” The National Republican, January 13, 1885)

The day before the meetings were to begin, “Another Colored Brother” wrote in to protest:

Permit me to say to your readers that the colored people of Washington have been shamefully treated by the managers of the Moody meetings to be held at the Congregational Church from the 16th to the 19th instant, inclusive.The programme marked out by these gentlemen calls for eight meetings at the Congregational Church for white persons, and one meeting at a colored church for colored people; and, in keeping with this plan, tickets of admission to the meetings at the Congregational Church have been withheld from the colored ministry. This exhibition of caste prejudice looks very bad in Christian workers, especially Christian ministers, and has already sown seeds of discord among brethren.

(“Another Colored Brother Protests,” The National Republican, January 15, 1885).

The letter went on to compare Moody’s campaign with the “infidel orator” Robert Ingersoll, whose managers, “you may be sure, would not draw the color line on such occasions.” The letter was again signed “A Brother in Black,” and it is possible that it was written by Frederick Douglass, who was living in Washington at the time. Douglass was friends with Ingersoll, and just a few months later in April, he would reference this incident in a speech, drawing the same comparison with Ingersoll (see below).

The meetings went on as planned, including the segregated meetings for Black people. (“Moody’s Seven Sermons,” The National Republican, January 19, 1885)

The next day “A Colored Clergyman” wrote in to protest this “Caste Prejudice.” His letter is powerful, and deserves to be read in full. Here are a few key paragraphs:

Editor National Republican: “Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, Circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free, but Christ is all and in all.” The sentimentsexpressed in these words are in marked contrast to the exhibition of caste prejudice manifested on the part of the managers of the convention of Christian workers, whose sessions have been held at the Congregational Church.

The colored people are surprised at the treatment they received. First, because it comes, not from the world, nor yet from the cold or lukewarm members of the church, but from those who claim to be most deeply interested in the advancement of the cause of Christ. Second, because in addition to the color of their skin they are discriminated against on the ground of their non-orthodoxy. According to the notice published in The Republican tickets were to be issued to the pastors of all evangelical denominations, and through them to the members of their respective churches. On what principle the thousands of members in good and regular standing in the colored Baptist, Methodist, Episcopal, Congregational, and Presbyterian churches, who subscribe to the same creed as the members of our white churches of the same denomination, have been pronounced unevangelical, is a question which I would like very much to have some of these brethren answer. Many grave charges have been, from time to time, made against the colored people, but this is altogether unprecedented.

The “colored minister” then pointed to some of the “injurious effects of such invidious distinctions on the part of professing Christians”:

In the first place, to my own certain knowledge, it has prejudiced a great many persons of color against Mr. Moody, who is believed by many to have been a party to the arrangement by which they have been excluded from these meetings…

In the second place, more serious still, it has prejudiced a great, many against Christianity itself. “Away with such a religion, if this is a sample of it!” is the sentiment upon the lips of many. And is it to be wondered at? Men do not stop to judge of Christianity by the life and character of its founder and the beautiful spirit of love and brotherhood which it inculcates, but by the lives of its professors. In the presence of such exhibitions as this I am not surprised that men like Mr. Ingersoll, turn away with disgust and pronounce the whole thing an imposture. The surest way to swell the ranks of infidelity and bring religion into contempt is for christian people, for the church of Christ, to continue to multiply such instances of caste prejudice.

(“Caste Prejudice,” The National Republican, January 20, 1885)

I don’t know who wrote the letter. In parts, it sounds like Francis Grimké, but it really could have been any number of Black ministers in the city. We do know that Grimké was in Washington at the time, as pastor of Fifteen Street Presbyterian Church, and that he was close friends with Frederick Douglass, having conducted Douglass’s wedding ceremony the year before, and corresponding frequently with him in those years.

“Better be an infidel than a hypocrite”—Frederick Douglass

Douglass was furious at this incident, and mentioned it in a speech that he gave a few months later. Speaking at the twenty-second anniversary of the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia, Douglass said this, near the end of his speech:

You remember the public meeting held in Lincoln Hall, and the free expression of opinion upon the unsoundness of the decision of the Supreme Court on the civil rights bill. You will also remember that the ablest and boldest words there spoken were from the lips of Robert G. Ingersoll, a man everywhere spoken against as an infidel and a blasphemer. Well, my friends, better be an infidel and a so-called blasphemer than a hypocrite who steals the livery of the court of heaven to serve the devil in. 

Infidel though Mr. Ingersoll may be called, he never turned his back upon his colored brothers, as did the evangelical Christians of this city on the occasion of the late visit of Mr. Moody. Of all the forms of negro hate in this world, save me from that one which clothes itself with the name of the loving Jesus, who, when on earth, especially identified himself with the lowest classes of suffering men, and the proof given of his Messiahship was that the poor had the Gospel preached unto them. The negro can go into the circus, the theatre, the cars, and can be admitted into the lectures of Mr. Ingersoll, but cannot go into an Evangelical Christian meeting.”

I do not forget that on the occasion of the civil rights meeting I have mentioned, one evangelical clergyman, a real man of God, gave to the gospel trumpet a certain sound. The religion of Dr. John E. Rankin, like the love of his Redeemer, is not bounded by race or color, but takes in the whole human family. No truer man than he ever ascended a Washington pulpit.

(“The Nation’s Great Act,” The National Republican, April 18, 1885; the full text of this speech was also printed in pamphlet form as Frederick Douglass, Three Addresses on the Relations Subsisting between the White and Colored People of the United States (Washington: Gibson Brothers, 1886)
Robert G. Ingersoll

The “public meeting at Lincoln Hall” that Douglass referred to was a meeting called in October 1883 by “a committee of colored men” to protest the Supreme Court ruling overturning the civil rights bill of 1875. Over 2000 people crowded into the hall, most of the Black people, though “there were many white people present.” A number of prominent Black leaders sat on the stage, including Senator Blanche K. Bruce, William Patton (president of Howard University), Frederick Douglass, Robert Ingersoll, and Francis Grimké (“Civil Rights Meeting,” Washington Evening Star, October 23, 1883). Grimké “opened the  proceedings with prayer” and then speeches were delivered by Douglass and Ingersoll, which were later printed in Proceedings of the Civil Rights Mass-Meeting held at Lincoln Hall, October 22, 1883, (available at the Colored Conventions Project).

Ingersoll’s presence at this 1883 meeting was just one of many instances of his willingness to stand in solidarity with Black people, and to “socialize” with them on equal terms. Ingersoll ate meals with Black people, invited them into his home, and even welcomed them to spend the night, all during age when “social intercourse” between the races was scandalous to many white people. Douglass recognized the bitter irony of the the fact of the nation’s most famous unbeliever, the “Great Agnostic” Robert Ingersoll displayed more genuine love for Black people than the nation’s most famous Christian evangelist, D. L. Moody.

Francis Grimké

15th St. Presbyterian

There are no explicit references that tie Francis Grimké to the Moody meetings in January 1885. It’s possible that he wrote the letter from “A Colored Clergyman” but it could have been written by any number of Black ministers in Washington. We do know that Grimké was in Washington the weekend of the Moody revivals. Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church had been closed for renovations the first two weeks of January, but had re-opened up on Sunday, January 18th with Grimké preaching the sermon (“Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church,” Washington Bee, January 24, 1885). Interestingly, Grimké was invited to sit on the platform at the Emancipation Day celebration in April, at which Douglass gave his speech. Robert Ingersoll was also invited to speak, though there is no evidence that Grimké or Ingersoll attended the meeting  (“Speakers for Emancipation Day,” Evening Star, March 12, 1885). That month Grimke had travelled to Jacksonville, Florida, where he was considering a move (“A Call to Florida,” Evening Star, April 6, 1885). By November, it was official—Grimké had resigned his pastorate at Fifteenth Street Presbyterian to take up a position at Laura Street Presbyterian Church in Jacksonville. Apparently, at the farewell service, Frederick Douglass “could not help from shedding tears” (“Rev. Grimke’s Farewell,” Washington Bee, November 7, 1885). It would be there in Jacksonville, just four months later, that Grimké and Moody would cross paths again, prompting Grimké to write his extended critique: “Mr. Moody and the Color Question in the South.”

See “The whole colored clergy was ignored”: Black Protest against Dwight L. Moody, Part 2: 1886

Francis Grimke, “Mr. Moody and the Color Question in the South” (1886)

In early 1886, Dwight L. Moody conducted an evangelistic tour of the South, including cities in Tennessee, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina and Virginia. Moody’s “revivals” were conducted with strict adherence to Jim Crow–all the planning committees in various cities were made up of white men, and separate services were planned for Black people. Among the cities that Moody visited was Jacksonville, Florida, where Francis Grimké was pastoring (from 1885 to 1889). Among the scheduled revival meetings in the city was one “for colored people only” (“Moody and Sankey,” Savannah Morning News, March 23, 1886).

A few months later, in July 1886, Francis Grimké wrote an article in the New York Independent excoriating Moody: “It is impossible to contemplate this man … without mingled feelings of pity and disgust”; Moody’s actions “call for only the severest condemnation.” Grimké quoted from an article published in the Savannah Morning News (“Mr. Moody’s Wise Course“), which was mistakenly cited as the “Laura Morning News” (Grimké was past of the Laura Street Presbyterian Church, which may explain the editor or typesetter’s mistake).

What happened to draw forth such a blistering critique against the most famous Christian in America? For the full story of Moody’s “Jim Crow Revivals” and Francis Grimké’s interaction with them, see:

Here is a transcription of Grimké’s article (original available here):

“The Color Question”: Two editions of Frederick Douglass’s 5th of July Speech at Hillsdale (1875)

On July 5, 1875, Frederick Douglass delivered a speech at Hillsdale (a part of Anacostia), in Washington, D. C. which he later titled “The Color Question.” David Blight describes it as a “withering jeremiad,” “one of the most controversial and compelling efforts of his postwar life”; “a remarkable address that was at once angry, historical, antiracist, and a confrontational appeal to black community self-reliance” (David Blight, Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom, 556, 557). 

The gains of Reconstruction for Black people were beginning to roll back, including some supposed instances of white benevolence which had been exposed as self-interested hypocrisy. Douglass himself had just had first hand experience of this in the failing of the Freedman’s Savings Bank, which he had been brought in to try to save. Douglass was angry at the state of the country, and “was not out to make friends that day in Hillsdale” (Blight, 558).

(for more on this episode, see ““The hands are white that handle the money”: Review of Carl R. Osthaus, Freedmen, Philanthropy, and Fraud: A History of the Freedman’s Savings Bank“).

The National Republican, July 7, 1875

The exact wording of the Hillsdale speech was debated at the time. An initial version of the speech was published on July 7 in the Washington National Republican, alongside a transcription of John Mercer Langston’s speech at the same event. From the article, it appears that George Washington Williams (later author of History of the Negro Race in America, 2 volumes (1882)) was tasked with reporting the proceedings of the meeting to the press. The speech was a bombshell. Blight notes that “few of Douglass’s Reconstruction-era speeches garnered as much press attention as his Hillsdale Fifth of July address” (Blight, 558). Quotes and snippets from the speech were published in papers across the entire country, white and Black, north and south, and white Democrats gleefully claimed that Douglass had called for Black people to separate from the Republican party. Blight describes it as “a prototypical case of a prominent black spokesman whose forthright statements about his people’s behavior and self-criticism were appropriated by racist forces” (Blight, 559).

George Washington Wiliams

The very next day, on July 8, the National Republican printed a different version of the speech. The paper claimed that the first version of the speech “contained a number of inaccuracies incident to a hastily prepared newspaper report. As the speech has created considerable comment, and is likely to cause more, the following verbatim report, revised by the author.” This second version is longer than the first, some of the sections are re-arranged, and almost the entire speech is worded slightly differently. Also removed were the editorial comments describing the crowd’s reaction (“[Loud applause.]”), and Douglass’s remarks directed at the audience itself (“Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen…”). I can’t find any reference to this incident in John Hope Franklin’s biography of Williams, and I don’t know if he felt slighted at all by Douglass’s retraction of the original.

Douglass wrote to the National Republican again on July 29, and referenced the edited version of the speech, noting that the speech “as published in The National Republican the 8th of July” could “take care of itself.”

Scholars have referenced both versions of the speech, and I’ve quotes from each version in various places. For example, James McPherson cites quotes from the first version of the speech in his article “White Liberals and Black Power in Negro Education, 1865-1915” (The American Historical Review, 1970–on JStor; reprinted in The Abolitionist Legacy: From Reconstruction to the NAACP, 1975).

The edited version of the speech is what appears in The Papers of Frederick Douglass (Series 1, Volume 4), and David Blight quotes from this version in several works, including Frederick Douglass’ Civil War (1989), Race and Reunion (2001), and Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom (2018).

There are some punchy quotes in the first version that don’t make it into the second. I suppose we have to take Douglass’s word for the fact that the second version of the speech is the more accurate. I am not a Douglass scholar, and am not familiar enough with his process of bringing material from speech to publication to make a judgment on whether his final edited version was more accurate, or whether he was attempting to allay some controversy. Did Douglass normally speak from notes? If so, did he often go “off script” or stick to his prepared remarks? Did he prepare his own version of “final edits for publication” from memory or from his own written notes? Is the 2nd edition of the speech more accurately “what he said” or “what he wanted to say” or even “what he wanted officially on record” regardless of his verbatim remarks on July 5th? Some of these questions are nearly impossible to verify, since we have no audio recordings fro 1875, and our only access to his speeches is in the published form(s) that we receive them in.

In any case, I think both versions of the speech are fascinating, and both are worth reading and comparing. As far as I am aware, this is the first time that the “unedited” version of the speech has ever been available, other than in the archives. I’ve done my own transcriptions of the original form the speech (July 7), the edited version (July 8), and Douglass’s letter (published July 29):

2023 English and Greek Bible Reading Plans

I found a plan for reading through the Greek New Testament in one year over at Lee Iron’s site several years ago, but it was a pdf and needed to be updated each year. I loved this plan so much, I made my own for reading the English Bible through in one year as well. Two principles are at work:

  1. Chapters longer than 38 verses are broken into two readings; The whole-Bible reading plan has you reading about four chapters/readings per day, with a few tweaks here and there so that the daily chapter breaks make the most sense;
  2. Extra day(s) added at the end of each month in order to build in space in case you fall a day or two behind.

For my English Bible reading I use a NKJV single-column Bible. The plan is arranged in Hebrew canonical order (Law, Prophets, Writings), and not the typical English Bible order (which follows the Septuagint). I switched to Hebrew canonical order several years ago and have loved the effect it has on my reading through the OT.

For the Greek NT, I read the Robinson-Pierpont Byzantine text which (rightly!) places the Catholic Epistles immediately after Acts, rather than the Pauline epistles. I love reading James, Peter, John, and Jude up front, rather than towards the end of the year. I wonder how our theology might shift if we gave slightly more prominence to these books than we typically do. I use this plan to get through the Greek NT in a year, but you could use it to read through the NT in English as well if you’d like.

So, for that tiny group out there who hopes to read through the the Bible following the Hebrew and old Greek canonical order in 2022, here are a couple of plans to print out and check off as you go:

Francis and Charlotte Grimké in the A.M.E. Church Review, 1885–1887

The A. M. E. Church Review (1895)

The African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church Review was first published in 1841 under the title “The Church Magazine,” but stopped after eight years (Daniel Payne, History of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (1891), 147–53). The magazine was revived in 1884 under the editorship of Benjamin Tucker Tanner as the A.M.E. Church Review and published quarterly. During these first few years, Francis Grimké published several articles in the Review. I have found four, only one of which has ever been made available before.

“Colored Men as Professors in Colored Institutions” (October 1885)

“The intellects of our young people are being educated at the expense of their manhood. In the class-room they see only white professors. Vacancies occur, but they are filled only by white men; the effect of which is unconsciously to lead them to associate these places and the idea of fitness for them only with white men.” (142–43)

This is a powerful article, written while Grimké was a trustee of Howard University, a role that he had been serving in since 1880, alongside Frederick Douglass and many others (Alumni Catalogue of Howard University, with List of Incorporators, Trustees, and Other Employees, 1867-1896). The school was experiencing controversy about leadership and hiring faculty, and Grimké took to the pages of the Church Review to publicly criticize the president of Howard (see James M. McPherson, “White Liberals and Black Power in Negro Education, 1865-1915,” The American Historical Review 75.5 (1970), 1364–67, available on JSTOR). In the article, Grimké argues for a kind of “affirmative action” (anachronistic, I know), and even the principle of reparations for slavery. The article was reprinted in 1970 under the title “Black Teachers for Black Schools” in anthology Black Nationalism In America, edited by John H. Bracey, Jr., August Meier, and Elliott Rudwick (available to check out online on

Here are a few quotes:

  • “In the second place, we are excluded because of caste prejudice. I say this in the full knowledge of the fact, that in these institutions there are those who profess to be our friends; who were, many of them, identified with the anti-slavery movement, who bear the name of Christ, and are under ordination vows as ministers of the gospel. All this is true, and yet this accursed prejudice exists. Abolition simply meant freedom for the slave as a man. Christianity, as interpreted by the actions of the great majority of white professors in this country, means recognition of the negro, but in his place,— as an inferior. The election of a colored man as professor in these institutions, means something more than was contemplated in the abolition movement, or is conceded by a spurious, but popular Christianity; it means equality ; it means social recognition. This, our white brethren who make up the faculties of colored institutions are not ready for, and are determined not to have, if they can possibly prevent it.” (145)
  • “There are some signs of progress. Two years ago, when the case of Professor Wiley Lane came up before the trustees of Howard University the principle was laid down that in colored institutions the preference should be given to competent colored men; which was strongly controverted by the president, who maintained that no consideration whatever was to be accorded to colored men, on account of their color, even in their own institu­tions. At the last meeting of the board the same principle was again laid down, and met with hearty applause. This is one step of progress. The principle was also advanced that colored institu­tions were to be conducted in the interest of the colored race; that when vacancies occurred the colored man was first to be thought of, and the white man only when it was impossible to secure competent colored men. “ We must decrease in these institutions, but they (i.e., the colored people,) must increase,” said a white trustee in addressing his white brethren” (148)
  • “To all that has been said, it may be objected that as colored men we have no right to complain, since the money for carrying on these institutions is furnished by white men. In answer to this I would say, First, the poverty of the colored man is no fault of his. For two hundred and fifty years the white man has been enriched by his toil. Though he may not furnish the money directly, there­fore, it does not follow that he is not entitled to it” (148–49).

“The Defects in our Ministry, and the Remedy” (October 1886)

“Intelligence, virtue and piety should be possessed by all who aspire to the sacred office, and only such should be allowed to enter. Against all others the door should be shut” (157).

This article was written the following year, and argues for the need for “intelligence, virtue, and piety” in the ministry. It’s a fascinating example of how Grimké anticipated the fatal weakness in W. E. B. Du Bois’s notion of the “Talented Tenth” (which Du Bois would come to acknowledge later in his life).

Here are a few quotes:

  • “In point of intelligence, in point of character, in point of piety, there are various defects, which call for very decided action on the part of those who hold the keys of admission to the sacred office in our various denominations” (154).
  • “Our seminaries and schools of learning have greatly increased the number of intelligent Gospel preachers amongst us. Still, there is yet a vast amount of ignorance in many of our pulpits.” (154)
  • “Third. There are grave defects in point of piety… it is just here where Our greatest danger lies. In the movement which began some years ago, in the direction of intelligence, so much emphasis was laid upon the training of the intellect that heart culture has been driven, almost entirely, into the background. This is especially noticeable among the younger men who are now entering the ministry. Their ambition seems to be scholarly rather than to be good; to be smart rather than holy; to shine intellectually rather than spiritually” (155)
  • “Hence, not unfrequently we find ministers who have been expelled from one denomination, because of some immorality, received with open arms by others. The effect of that is to encourage a class of men that every denomination, of whatever name, should combine to crush out. A man who is morally unfit to occupy the pulpit of one denomination should be morally unfit to occupy the pulpit of every denomination” (157)

“The Secret of Power in the Pulpit” (1887)

“The way to get power in the pulpit, therefore, is to be filled with the Holy Ghost, to preach in dependence upon the Holy Ghost. The reason why there is so little power in many of our pulpits is because we do not honor the Spirit; because we rely too much upon ourselves, upon our eloquence and ability as preachers, and too little upon the Divine Spirit, forgetful of the fact that whatever may be our gifts and endowments, all will go for naught unless accompanied with the baptism from on high.” (177)

This article quotes an anecdote from Dwight L. Moody. The earliest published version of the story that matches Grimké’s quote I’ve found in the London Christian‘s account of Moody’s meetings held in Scotland, reprinted from the Edinburgh Daily Review. The series started in January 1882 with “Messrs. Moody and Sankey in Edinburgh” (January 5, 1882) and went on for months. Grimké’s quote matches an excerpt from the article “Mr. Moody in Glasgow” (June 22, 1882). The anecdote was widely reprinted in American papers in the years following, and it is likely that Grimké read it there.

It is interesting that Grimké was willing to cite Moody so favorably in this article. Just one year before, Grimké had written a scathing critique of Moody and his segregated Jim Crow “revivals,” after experiencing one of them in Jacksonville where Grimké was pastoring at the time (see Francis Grimke, “Mr. Moody and the Color Question in the South” (1886)). It is also interesting, because the editor of the A. M. E. Church Review, Benjamin Tanner, was also critical of Moody’s segregationist practice, but nevertheless, this positive reference to Moody made it into print.

Decades later, Grimké was also very outspoken against the racist shortcomings of well-known evangelists (see, for example, “Evangelism and Institutes of Evangelism” (1916), “‘Billy’ Sunday’s Campaign in Washington, D.C.” (1918), “Letter to the Committee on Evangelism” (1918)”).

“The Pulpit in Relation to Race Elevation” (1887)

“Of all the influences at work in the uplifting of our people there is none that is comparable to the pulpit—to the power of an intelligent and virtuous and pious ministry” (425).

This is an earlier and shorter version of an address that he delivered five years later at the Ministers’ Union in Washington, D. C. in 1892. The latter address is included in The Works of Francis Grimké, Volume 1 as “The Afro-American Pulpit in Relation to Race Elevation.” This earlier article has never been available until now, and it is interesting to compare Grimké’s development of this theme over these years.

“I would say to all of our brethren in the ministry, especially to those of us who are living in the South: Let us pause and consider how much there is to be done, and try to realize the importance of the position we occupy in relation to this work. We have opportunities for usefulness such as no other class of men possess. Let us be faithful to these opportunities, conscientiously using them not for the furtherance of private or personal ends, but for the general good…” (427).

“At Newport” (1887)

The Review also published a poem by Mrs. Charlotte F. Grimke, “At Newport.” This poem has been reproduced and referenced in a number of places, and I give it here in its original form:

Francis J. Grimké, “Wendell Phillips,” (February 24, 1884)

(image: Wendell Phillips and Francis Grimké)

Wendell Phillips (November 29, 1811 – February 2, 1884), one of the greatest white abolitionists of the 19th century, died on February 2, 1884. He was memorialized across the entire country, including in Washington, D.C. On February 5, a meeting was held at the Berean Baptist church “to make arrangements for holding a memorial meeting testimonial to the memory of Wendell Phillips. Among those in attendance were John Brooks, senator Blanche Bruce, and speeches were delivered by Alexander Crummel and “Rev. Frank Grimké.” Grimké was also appointed to the committee for “speakers” for the upcoming memorial service (“In Memoriam of Wendell Phillips,” National Republican (Washington, D.C., February 6, 1884).

Sunday, February 17th, Grimké delivered a sermon on the life and character of Wendell Phillips. The sermon was very well received:

“Quite a number of citizens and sojourners have requested Rev. Frank J. Grimke, to repeat his sermon delivered last Sunday. He has consented to do so, and next Sunday morning at 11 o’cl.k. the subject on the life and character of the late Wendell Phillips will be presented by the eminent and able pastor of the 15th street Presbyterian Church” 

“Sermon on Mr. Phillips,” The Bee, Washington, D. C. (February 23, 1884)

On Sunday, February 24, another memorial service was held in the evening at the Congregational Church, with music and speeches, including an address by Frederick Douglass. Francis Grimké also preached his sermon again:

“Rev. Dr. Francis J. Grimke, pastor of the Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church, repeated by request last Sunday his sermon upon the life and services of the lamented Wendell Phillips, text II Samuel iii, 28. Without exception it was one of the most able, eloquent and finished discourses that was ever delivered. Dr. Grimke held his audience spellbound throughout; and so thrilling were his descriptions o the high character of Wendell Phillips, and of his heroic devotion to his God-assigned duty, that at times there were but few dry eyes in the large congregation. Afflicted sight prevented me from taking notes. By the kindness of Mrs. Grimke, in accordance with my request, a copy of Dr. Grimke’s great sermon on the sublime subject was furnished me… A movement is on foot to publish the Doctor’s sermon in pamphlet form, so that it may go before the millions in the United States, whose freedom Mr. Phillips suffered and labored so much to establish. Dr. Grimke is the Newman of the District.”

“National Capital. Wendell Phillips Memorial Services—Dr. Grimke’s Sermon” The New York Globe (March 1, 1884).

I have not found any record of the sermon being published “in pamphlet form,” but the text of the sermon was published in The People’s Advocate (March 8, 1884), a Black-owned newspaper in Washington, D.C. I have searched the literature on Grimké, on Phillips, and everywhere I can think of online, and have not found this sermon even referenced, let alone available to read. I have transcribed the sermon and am making it available here for the first time:


First, this sermon is possibly the earliest recorded sermon by Francis Grimké (I’m not sure what can be found in the archives at Howard University). The earliest sermon in Carter G. Woodson, The Works of Francis J. Grimké is from 1892. This sermon is nearly a decade earlier. A search of Henry Ferry’s dissertation doesn’t pull any published writings earlier than 1885. The only caveat to this claim is that a summary of a short Christmas message by Francis Grimké had been recorded and published in 1881 (see “Friend of the Poor and the Suffering”: A Christmas Sermon by Francis Grimké (1880)). With that one exception, this is the earliest published material by Francis Grimké, that I’ve found so far.

Additionally, this is the first of a number of biographical addresses that Grimké gave in the decades to come. Grimké honored Black figures like Daniel Payne (in 1893), Alexander Crummell (1898), and Frederick Douglass (1898, 1907, 1908), but also white abolitionists like William Lloyd Garrison (1905), John Greenleaf Whittier (1907), and John Brown (1909). This address predates these other addresses by nearly a decade (or more).

The address also demonstrates that Grimké’s “progressivism” or “radicalism” was not a later development in his life, but had been there from the beginning. You can see one facet of this in the way he praises Phillips’s willingness to countenance armed self-defense by Black people:

One of his favorite mottoes or sayings, and one which of late years he frequently wrote in autograph albums was “Peace if possible, but justice at any rate.” So intensely did he feel on this subject, that he even went so far as to advocate the right of the slave to take the life of his pursuer. “You say that this is bloody doctrine, anarchical doctrine : it will prejudice people against the cause. I know it will. Heaven pardon those who make it necessary. Heaven pardon the judges, the merchants and the clergy who make it necessary for hunted men to turn when they are at bay and fly at the necks of their pursuers. It is not our fault. I shrink from no ques­tion, however desperate, that has in it the kernel of possible safety for a human being hunted by twenty millions of slave-catchers in this Christian Republic of ours.”

As Malcolm Foley has highlighted, Grimké would later argue in his own time for armed self defense against lynching (see Malcolm Foley, “The Only Way to Stop a Mob: Francis Grimké’s Biblical Case for Lynching Resistance” in Every Leaf, Line, and Letter: Evangelicals and the Bible from the 1730s to the Present, 196–218).Wendell Phillips may have been one early influence (among others, I’m sure) on Grimké’s thought.

The address also shows us one possible factor in the formation of Grimké’s character, and that is his following the example of abolitionists like Phillips. Grimké would be praised later in life for his courage and his uncompromising resistance to white-supremacy, wherever it may be found. These are among the traits that Grimké explicitly praises Phillips for in the address. That Grimké would go on to exhibit these same characteristics in his own long career shows how the legacy of abolitionism was carried on in the next generation.

“His Opposition Was Not to Christianity”

Finally, the address is significant for abolitionist studies more broadly, particularly the historiography of abolitionism among evangelical historians. Grimké notes how in Phillips’s own day, “Men called him fanatic, infi­del, traitor.” This reputation has stuck with the abolitionists, particularly among “orthodox” evangelical historians, namely, that abolitionists were somehow less Christian, less orthodox, less faithful to the Bible than their pro-slavery or “moderate” but anti-abolitionist counterparts. One example of this is Timothy L. Smith’s, Revivalism and Social Reform: American Protestantism on the Eve of the Civil War (1957), which repeated a false report about Phillips from 1859:

Isabella Bishop told of attending a Gar­risonian convention in Boston in 1858 at which Wendell Phillips de­nounced both George Washington and Jesus Christ as traitors to humanity, the one for giving us the Constitution, the other, the New Testament.

Smith, Revivalism and Social Reform, 180; citing Isabella (Bird) Bishop, The Aspects of Religion in the United States (London, 1859), pp. 81-92.

Yet, as soon as as Bird’s account was published, several friends of Phillips took to the pages of The Liberator to defend their friend in “Defamation Refuted”:

We the undersigned, well acquainted, and most of us long acquainted, with Wendell Phillips, and familiar with his views and opinions on the subject of slavery, pronounce the above language and sentiments, attributed to him by the author of ‘The Aspects of Religion, &e., to be entirely destitute of truth, completely at variance with his well known sentiments concerning Christianity and its author, and concerning Washington, and wholly opposite to his frequent and unvarying language, both in public and in private, during his whole life.


Francis Jackson, Samuel May, E. H. Heywood, Wm. Lloyd Garrison, Edmund Quincy, Samuel J. May.

Defamation Refuted,” The Liberator (July 27, 1860).

Echoes of this same treatment of abolitionists appears in Mark Noll’s work, who, though he doesn’t mention Phillips by name, speaks in general about “the party of abolitionists” who he says were “much more worrisome to traditional believers” (The Civil War as a Theological Crisis, 31). Noll acknowledges that “on the question of the Bible and slavery in the era of the Civil War, I have been especially helped by… Timothy L. Smith, Revivalism and Social Reform” (“The Bible and Slavery,” in Religion and the American Civil War, 66). I think that Noll’s treatment of William Lloyd Garrison, his extension to “the abolitionists,” and thus aspects of his overall framing of the “theological crisis,” need correcting, but that is a topic worth its own focused study.

In light of this contested historiography, it is fascinating to see how Grimké defends Phillips on this front:

The North, cringing and coward­ly, to borrow a phrase front Parker, “he cauterized with actual lightning; ” the church, cold, and half apologetic, he lashed with all the fury of his incensed righteousness; the constitution, with its lying declarations, he de­nounced as “the sum of villainies, a league with death and a covenant with hell.” Men called him fanatic, infi­del, traitor, but he cared not. “They call me infidel and traitor,”, he said, “and so I am, to a State that sells its citizens on the auction block, and drives them with the lash to unrequited toil. I am traitor to a church that defends this infamous system from the Bible.” His opposition, you will perceive, was not to Christianity, nor yet to the Bible, but to an apostate and recreant church, which attempted to throw the weight of its great influence against liberty and on the side of oppression.

Grimké is often cited as a figure who held uncompromisingly to Biblical fidelity and racial justice. The fact that he would defend an abolitionist like Wendell Phillips should cause evangelical historians to pause before assuming such “defamation” without proof.

Further Reading

The research and literature on Wendell Phillips is voluminous. I recommend  starting with a search at your local public library. A few resources that I’d recommend in particular include:

Archibald H. Grimké, A Eulogy of Wendell Phillips (1884) — available free online. Archibald was Francis’s older brother and delivered this eulogy in Tremont Temple in Boston, April 9, 1884.

James B. Stewart, “Heroes, Villains, Liberty, and License: The Abolitionist Vision of Wendell Phillips,” in Antislavery Reconsidered : New Perspectives on the Abolitionists (Baton Rouge : Louisiana State University Press, 1979) — available to check out online.

James Brewer Stewart, Wendell Phillips, Liberty’s Hero (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1986) — available to check out online.

Aisèrithe, A.J. and Donald Yacovone (eds.), Wendell Phillips, Social Justice, and the Power of the Past. Baton Rouge, LA: LSU Press, 2016. — Amazon.