Caring For The Human Cargo of New England Slavers
The civil rights aristocracy should be devoting its energy to erecting a memorial to Reverend Dr. Charles Colcock Jones, and also sponsoring an annual pilgrimage to his gravesite. As Rev. Jones did his Christian-best to uplift the race of Booker T. Washington, the NAACP could display some much-needed color-blindness and give the Reverend his proper recognition as a Southern friend to their race.
Thanks go to Billy Day for this source.
Bernhard Thuersam, Director
Cape Fear Historical Institute
Wilmington, North Carolina
Caring For The Human Cargo of New England Slavers:
“In the county of Liberty, in Georgia, a Presbyterian minister has been for many years employed exclusively in laboring for the moral enlightenment of the slaves, being engaged and paid for this especial duty by their owners. From this circumstance, almost unparalleled as it is, it may be inferred that the planters of the county are as a body remarkably intelligent, liberal, and thoughtful for the moral welfare of the childlike wards Providence has placed in their care and tutorship. I have heard them referred to with admiration of their reputation in this particular even as far away as Virginia and Kentucky. I believe that in no other district has there been displayed as general and long-continued an interest in the spiritual well-being of the Negroes. It must be supposed that nowhere else are their circumstances more happy and favorable to Christian nurture.”
In promoting the spiritual welfare of the Negro population of Liberty County and throughout the South no man was more active or zealous than the Rev. Dr. Charles Colcock Jones, “Apostle to the Blacks,” a lifelong member of Midway Church, who now lies buried in the historic graveyard directly across the way. This extraordinary man…was a rich planter, a gentleman of liberal education, and a Presbyterian clergyman of radiant Christian character, aptly described by his son in law as “one of the noblest men God ever made.” In May 1831 he was called to the First Presbyterian Church of Savannah, where he labored earnestly and successfully for eighteen months. But the cry of the Negroes of his native county was too urgent for him to resist; to their needy spiritual state he had been drawn while a student at Princeton, and he now felt constrained to devote himself to their evangelization as well as to their moral and social uplift.
His brother in law, the Rev. John Jones, later recalled his missionary efforts in some detail…:
“As a good brother, in allusion to his work among the colored people, once said, he seems to be the apostle to that portion of the gentiles. And he succeeded to a remarkable extent in awakening an interest in this neglected people…and annual reports of his labors he under God did more than any other man in arousing the whole church of this country to a new interest in the spiritual welfare of the Africans in our midst. And the general results of his labors were seen in other communities and regions beyond; a decided attention to the physical as well as the moral condition of the race; the erection of neighborhood and plantation chapels; the multiplying of family and plantation schools in which Jones’s catechism was taught; a greater devotion of time to the Negroes by pastors and churches; and an emphatic awakening throughout the South to the duty of systematic religious instruction to the blacks.”
(The Children of Pride, A True Story of Georgia and the Civil War, Robert Manson Myers, Yale University Press, 1972, pp. 11-16)