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church again. Men and women who had previously taken little or no part in any organized effort to help themselves or the race were drawn into the movement. Men of all classes and all denominations united and pulled together for the common good as they had never done before. The result of this was that when the work was over and the finished building came to be dedicated, the people felt that it belonged to them to an extent that they could not have felt if it had cost them any less effort and sacrifice.

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Another way in which this gift has helped the Negro people has been by enabling the Young Men's Christian Association to teach how it is possible to make religion touch practical life. That" old-time religion," from which the Negro got so much comfort in slavery, turned all attention to the next. world. In the Young Men's Christian Association he learns to associate religion with cleanliness, with health, with pure living. He learns to associate religion with the reading of books, with opportunities for study and advancement in his trade or profession. In short, the young colored man learns in the Young Men's Christian Association how religion can and should be connected up with all the ordinary practical interests and wholesome natural pleasures of life.

Another direction in which, it seems to me, Mr. Rosenwald's gift and the Young Men's Christian Association have been a help to the members of my race is in what they are doing to convince the white people of this country that in the long run schools are cheaper than policemen; that there is more wisdom in keeping a man out of the ditch than in trying to save him after he has fallen in; that it is more Christian and more economical to prepare young men to live right than to punish them after they have committed crime.

Some years ago at Buxton, Iowa, where there is a community of about fifteen hundred Negro miners, the Consolidated Coal Company was persuaded to erect a colored Young Men's Christian Association building at a cost of $20,000. For several years this Christian Association was about the only government that community had. So satisfactory did this investment prove that, after a short time, another building was erected for a boys' branch of the Association. When

the manager of this company was asked his opinion as to the value of this work, he said: "The Association has made a policeman and a prison unnecessary in this community."

This work, begun at Buxton in 1903, has now become a regular feature of the Young Men's Christian Association's work. There are similar Associations among the lumber men at Vaughn, North Carolina, and Bogalusa, Louisiana. Recently an Association was started among the five thousand Negroes employed by the Newport Shipbuilding Company, at Newport News, Virginia. At this place night classes were established to give the boys and young men of the community a general education. In addition, there is a social room where members may play billiards, pool, and other games, and an athletic field where they have outdoor games and sports. Thousands of colored men are employed in mines, in lumber camps, iron mills, and construction camps, in which there are neither schools nor churches, nor any other influence that makes for better living. Under such conditions employers see that it is not only human and right, but sound economy, to provide some sort of welfare work for their employees, both white and black. The result is that these Associations are springing up more rapidly than the Association can find competent men to direct them. At Benham, Kentucky, an Association has recently been started for colored miners. At Birmingham, Alabama, the American Coal and Iron Company has recently fitted up a splendid plant for its employees, white and colored. branch of the work illustrates how the Association has been able to adapt its work to all kinds and classes of men.

This

The organizing of the colored people for the gathering and collection of subscriptions, the inspiration that comes from labor in common for the common good-all this is in itself a character-building process, and has had a far-reaching influence upon the churches and other religious organizations throughout the country. These efforts have helped not merely the black man, but the white man as well, in bringing the best element of both races together in labor and counsel for the common good. To the South especially,

where the best black and the best white people almost never meet and know each other, the struggles, the sacrifices, and the generous enthusiasm which the building campaign has brought out in the black man and white have served to reveal each race to the other and to bring about an understanding and community interest between them that could probably have come about in no other way. Tuskegee Institute, Alabama.

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A SERMON IN PATCHWORK

BY LUCINE FINCH

HE quilt shown in the accompanying photograph is the work of an aged Negro woman, who put into it the reverence, the fantastic conception of sacred events, and the passion of imagination of her people. Her idea was, as she voices it, "to preach a sermon in patchwork." In other words, to express through this humble and homely medium the qualities of mind and soul that are the inborn possession of the Negro-the leveling of all events to his personal conception of them, and the free, colorful imagination of a primitive mind. The Negro's religion is instinctive, interwoven into the whole warp and woof of his being, and it finds its way out, into the realms of expression, in everything that he does. This unconscious, superstitious, symbolic relation with the Great Force behind and in all life might easily be the chief characteristic of the Negro. In order fully to comprehend the wonderful imagination wrought in mystic symbols into this old quilt one must really know something about the Negro himself, more especially about the "old timey "Negro, who is so fast and so tragically disappearing.

The

The religion of the Negro of the older type is a curious blend of blind superstition wrought out in imagination, generally unreserved and not self-conscious, hysterical and ecstatic in its manifestation. It not only is not a mental state, but has very little of the mental attitude in it. It is pure emotion, in greater or less degree-absolutely sincere while it lasts, but not necessarily connected with the common activities of life. older type of Negro reduced everythingGod and the angelic hosts-to the level of his own understanding, the personal equation entering largely into his conception of such high matters. His God was the anthropomorphic God of all savage people and of all childhood-individual childhood and race childhood. A God to be feared, yet one who could be deceived, hoodwinked. A God to be reverenced, yet about whom the most absurd, incongruous, almost sacrilegious superstitions gathered.

The following lines from an old Negro "spiritual," as these songs are called, may be quoted as an example of the Negro's intimate expression of religious belief:

"Fer itself, fer itself,
Fer itself, fer itself,
Every soul got ter confess
Fer itself!

De Lawd reach down
An' he says ter me

(Every soul got ter confess fer itself!)
Dat he can't have no heaven
'Less he got me

(Every soul got ter confess fer itself!). De devil reach up

An' he says ter me.

(Every soul got ter confess fer itself!)
Dat he can't have no hell
'Less he got me

(Every soul got ter confess fer itself!)."

And now for the explanation of the old quilt pictured herewith. It is the reverent, worshipful embodiment of an old colored woman's soul. I shall use her own words, in as far as I can quote them. So many tributes were paid to flowers and leaves by using them as decorations that she determined, she said, to "preach de Gospel in patchwork, ter show my Lawd my humbility." And again, "Dis heah quilt gwine show where sin originated, outen de beginnin' uv things." The whole quilt is made of gaycolored calico, most beautifully quilted with the finest stitches. The border is rose-colored, the spotted animals yellow and purple.

In No. 1 Adam and Eve are shown in the Garden of Eden. In the upper right-hand corner is the serpent, represented with feet. When asked to explain this anatomical curiosity, she replied, elusively, "He 'blige ter have foots and han's an' all his features in dem days, ter git aroun' man, chile!" The coloring of the serpent is a brilliant yellow and black in eleven bold stripes. Immediately under the serpent's head is what she called "forbidden fruit, or original sin." It is in the shape of a dressmaker's form! The trimming around the neck even is most carefully worked out in its significance. "To ketch de eye, honey !" she said. "To ketch de eye er mortal man. Yas, suh!" To the immediate right of this strange symbol, and scarcely perceptible, is a white dove.

In No. 2 are shown Adam and Eve and Cain in the Garden, before the expulsion. The peacock, in the extreme lower right cor

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A SERMON IN PATCHWORK

ner, is made of blue and white striped calico, and is the symbol of "dey proudness befo' de fall." The white dove is again seen, in the right upper corner, next to Cain. In the lower left corner is an elk with many branches to his horns. The animals, from an anatomical view-point, might be anything, but, as a matter of fact, each one represented only itself to the old creature.

In No. 3, perhaps the most purely symbolic of them all, is shown "Satan in de Seven Stars." There may be certain primitive and unconscious occultism in this strange symbol. It is sinister in its effect, positively diabolical in its feeling. The evil figure of Satan is black, with a pink eye (he is shown in profile. "De yuther eye is behin'," she said, "an' wusser 'n dis one !"). The stars are black with white centers. When asked why Satan held one of the stars in his arms, she said, elusively, "Dar ain't no tellin' dat, chile; no tellin' dat."

In No. 4 is shown the murder of Abel by Cain. Abel is represented as a shepherd, and is in white. The sheep, wonderfully quilted in, are also white. Cain is drab, the knife is red, and the stream of blood "flowin' over de whole worl'," she said, is also scarlet.

No. 5 is, perhaps, the least interesting. It shows Cain when he went into the Land of Nod to get him a wife. She designated the spotted animal as a lion, "fer to prove de strength of Cain," showing that she was working in symbols.

In No. 6 is shown Jacob's dream. The angel is descending the ladder. Jacob's prone attitude represents, as she said, "de sleepin' uv him." The angel's wings are rose-colored, like the border of the quilt. When she was asked why she made the ladder spotted, she replied, whimsically, "I couldn't turn myself loose in color, honey! De animals' calico 'blige ter run over in de ladder. Dar wa'n't

no yuther way." It is interesting to note, in the light of the recent controversy regarding the sex of angels, that this old creature made her angel, unreservedly, a woman thing.

No. 7 is really beautiful and certainly touching in its simplicity. It represents the baptism of the Lord Christ, with the holy dove descending. Christ is in white, and "de dove is kissin' him," she said.

"An'

John a-leadin' him by de han' like a chile." John is the right-hand figure and is in a faded gray-blue. The dove is very pale blue, almost white.

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In No. 8 are pictured in epic simplicity the tragedy and the inspiration of the Crucifixion. The Lord, in the center, is in white, the two thieves in drab. The crown of thorns is rose-colored and black. The soldiers' spears

(used clearly as pure symbols) are black. The three disks represent the sun in varying dramatic stages of being. First it is black, the rays white, when "darkness come over de worl' in dat minute." Then it is white, "when de good Lawd accepted," and then turned to blood. (" Wipe it out in de worl"," she said, with strange mysticism, "wipe it out in de worl'." The stripe across the body of Christ is again scarlet, representing the bleeding wounds.

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In No. 9 are shown Judas and his thirty pieces of silver, the price of his betrayal. Missy Coomby counted 'em for me," the old woman said, "'cos I kin count 'em backwards same as I kin count 'em forwards, an' dat ain' no way to count !" Judas is in drab. The disk at the bottom of the picture represents the "whole worl' wid sin on top

of it."

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In No. 10 is shown the Lord's Last Supper. The disk in the center represents the table. The Lord is in white in the lower left-hand corner. The disciples. are in blackand-white speckled calico. Judas is again in drab. "I giv' de Lawd a plate," the old woman said; "I couldn't spare no plate for de 'ciples." Primitive design saw no incongruity in making the table exactly like the sun, with certain reversals of color, because they both represented symbols, containing all the elements of forms, and therefore ignoring any specific form. I am reminded of the child who drew a picture-symbol on a paper. When her mother asked what it was, she replied, tersely, "God." "But no one knows what God looks like," said her mother. And, "Well, they will when they see my picture," the child replied, conclusively. It is the same thing. The Negro's mind is the child's mind; is the savage, original, spontaneous outputting of the divine.

No. 11 shows the Holy Family. The sun is white and rose-colored. The little Jesus is in white, Mary in pale blue, and Joseph in speckled calico.

There is a certain wistfulness about the old quilt that touches something fine in us. It is the unbidden pathos of any simple expression that comes from the deep heart, where sincerity bides her time in infinite patience.

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