From our Archives . . .

(If our Christian ministers were this honest, brave, and honorable today, the South (and the rest of the country) would be much healthier and prosperous. There would actually be a firm and Godly opposition to Critical Race Theory and Communism itself. We salute the Rev. Dr. Gillespie, a learned Scot and Presbyterian and a true man of God and defender of his people in the tradition of Rev. Robert Lewis Dabney, Rev. James Henley Thornwell, and other of our illustrious Southern ancestors. May God raise up men such as Rev. Dr. Gillespie to fill our pulpits in these dark and troubling times we now face.–Michael Hill)


Reprint of an Address by REV. G. T. GILLESPIE, D. D. , President Emeritus of Belhaven College , Jackson , Mississippi . 

Made Before The Synod of Mississippi of the Presbyterian Church in the U. S. November 4, 1954


In Defense of the Principle of Racial Segregation


President Emeritus of Belhaven College

The problem of race relations is not new. It is as old as civilization. Whenever in the history of the race two peoples of significantly different characteristics have come in contact with each other, or have sought to occupy the same area, a problem of race relations has inevitably developed. The closer the contact, and the more nearly the numerical strength of the two groups has approached equality, the more difficult and acute the problem has become. 

The problem of racial relations throughout the world today has been greatly accentuated by the rapid development of modern means of communication and transportation, which have brought all the peoples of the world into much closer contact than ever before.

The problem has also been complicated by the worldwide spread of Karl Marx’s doctrine of Internationalism and the Classless society, combined with the vigorous propaganda of Soviet Communism to bring about a world revolution and the breakdown of all national and racial distinctions and to effect the complete amalgamation of all races.

The Anglo-Saxon and English-speaking people have steadfastly opposed and resisted the mixture of their racial stock with that of other peoples, especially where the physical and cultural characteristics were widely dissimilar, and wherever they have gone, around the world, they have consistently instituted and maintained a pattern of segregation which uniformly provided an effective check against the process of amalgamation, and which has preserved the racial integrity of the English-speaking peoples of the world.

The race problem in America arises inherently out of the concentration of large masses of the negro race in areas predominantly Anglo-Saxon in racial type and in culture, and where the principle of racial segregation has been generally upheld by legal, social and moral sanctions. 

Comparatively little of the opposition to the principle of segregation has come spontaneously from the pure-blood negroes, or from the masses of the negro population; more strenuous opposition has come from the negroes of mixed blood, who have migrated from the South to Northern cities, and who bitterly resent the tensions and discrimination to which they find themselves and their families subjected in their efforts to secure recognition in Northern communities. It is not without significance, however, that a very considerable part of the violent agitation against segregation stems from sources outside the negro race, and outside of America , and coincides with the worldwide movement for racial amalgamation which has its fountainhead in Moscow .


Here, therefore, is the crux of this whole problem of racial relations, whether we face it in America or in the world at large. It is essentially a choice between the Anglo-Saxon ideal of racial integrity maintained by a consistent application of the principle of segregation, and the Communist goal of amalgamation, implemented by the wiping out of all distinctions and the fostering of the most intimate contact between the races in all the relations of life.

Many well-meaning civil and religious leaders who now denounce the principle of segregation, and endorse the policy of integration in schools, churches and other areas of life, seem to ignore, or deliberately refuse to recognize that the question of racial intermarriage is inevitably involved, and in the nature of the case, is bound to overshadow all other aspects of the problem.

At present the rank and file of the negro race are not particularly interested in intermarriage with the white race, and if left to themselves would probably never seek it; however, the self-appointed leaders of the anti-segregation movement are not only fully aware of the inherent and logical implications of their demand for the repudiation of the principle of segregation, but make bold to declare that the goal which they seek in America is “A social democracy which either begins with marriage, or necessarily includes marriage in its ideals and principles.”

A recent issue of “The Pittsburgh Courier,” a representative negro newspaper, in voicing intense resentment against Dr. Norman Vincent Peale of “Look Magazine” for advising a negro girl against marrying a white boy, said: “It is not possible to have people of different race, nationalities and religions living together, working together and playing together and bar them from marrying. We have a law in several states that gives them equal opportunity to work together and live together. We now have a national law that requires that they get their education together. . . . Intermarriage is as necessarily Christian as interfaith and inter-racial education. We will have to have de-segregation in that area of life, and it has already begun to move heavily.”

Under our system of compulsory education the abandonment of the principle of segregation and the enforcement of the policy of integration in the schools, especially in the South and in other communities in which the negro population approximates or exceeds the white population, could have but one of two possible results: either a state of constant friction and tension would develop between the two groups, which would greatly complicate the problem of discipline and administration, and ultimately destroy the morale and impair the efficiency of the public school system, or, on the other hand, it would lead to the cultivation of such attitudes and social intimacies as would normally and inevitably result in intermarriage.

In Northern or Western communities, where negroes number usually less than five per cent of the total population, the admission of a few negro children to the public schools does not present any serious problem, and even it an occasional interracial marriage should occur, it would have little appreciable effect upon the cultural pattern or the bloodstream of community life, but in the South, where negroes constitute a large proportion, and in some areas a majority, of the population, the integrated school with its blurring of all racial distinctions presents a serious threat to the whole cultural pattern of community life, and points unmistakably to the gradual but eventual merging of the two distinct racial types into a mulatto race, This is not a baseless and fantastic phobia, but a well grounded and reasoned conviction which determines the attitude of Southern parents, and gives assurance that they cannot and will not acquiesce in a program which means the surrender of the birthright of their children and of generations yet unborn.

Laying aside therefore the shallow sophistries, concerning so-called “Civil Rights,” “The Psychological and Sociological Effects of Segregation,” “The Principles of Human Brotherhood,” and the purely academic questions concerning racial superiority or inferiority, let us be realistic in our approach to this problem; let us not evade the issue, nor close our eyes to the stark reality, but face it frankly and courageously; here in America, if we believe that the welfare of both the white and the negro races would be promoted by preserving the integrity of each race, then we must maintain some effective and equitable form of segregation; if we believe that the welfare and happiness of both races would be promoted by intermarriage and the development of a hybrid race, then all we need to do is to let down the bars of segregation in the homes, the schools, the churches and in all areas of community life, and let nature take its course.

But before we commit ourselves and our nation, finally and irrevocably to this fateful choice, let us recall and weigh carefully some pertinent considerations which may be offered in defense of the principle of segregation.

1. Segregation Is Not the Child of Race Prejudice.

In recent years the much-abused term “race prejudice” has been associated indiscriminately with the principle of segregation in the effort to discredit it by implying low origin and bad associations. The difficulty and the injustice in this connection results from the confusion of race prejudice and race pride. Race prejudice is indeed a blind, unreasoning, fanatical emotion which issues in race hatred and inhumanity, and is essentially destructive and immoral in its end results. Race pride, on the other hand, is a rational, normal, positive principle, and is essentially constructive and moral. Pride of race, like love of home and love of country, has been one of the mightiest forces making for human happiness and progress. Indeed, these three principles are indissolubly linked together in the hearts of men and in the experience of the race, and must stand or fall together. Surely it is not merely a coincidence that the forces which are battling to break down race pride, which they mistakenly identify with race prejudice, are the same forces which are insidiously seeking to undermine and destroy the love of home, and the love of country in all the lands upon which their baleful shadow has been cast.

2. Segregation is One of Nature’s Universal Laws.

In all nature, the herd instinct prevails to a greater or less degree, and all living creatures are drawn together in larger or smaller groups by certain affinities based upon common physical characteristics. Animals by instinct mate only with their own kind, perpetuating their own species and transmitting their natural or acquired characteristics to their offspring. No intermingling or crossbreeding with animals of widely different characteristics takes place except under abnormal or artificial conditions.

The old adage, “Birds of a feather flock together,” only expresses a fact of common observation and universal experience. There are many varieties of the bird family, but under natural conditions, so far as known, bluebirds never mate with redbirds, doves never mate with blackbirds, nor mockingbirds with jays. The fact that man also is a gregarious animal and that human beings everywhere and under all conditions of life tend to segregate themselves into families, tribes, national or racial groups, only goes to prove that all human relations are regulated by this universal law of nature.

The recognition that man is not only a creature of instinct, but that he is also endowed with reason and conscience, whereby he is able to perceive and appreciate the significance of the larger unity of the race and his obligations to all members of the human family does not nullify or repeal the basic laws or human nature, but does provide for him a moral code under which he is obligated to exercise his freedom with due regard for the rights of his fellows.

3. Segregation Tends to Promote Progress.

It is an elementary principle of livestock breeding that improvement of type comes only through the careful selection of breeding stock, and the rigid separation of animals of dissimilar or undesirable characteristics, The phenomenal development of the race horse, the draft horse, the beef and dairy breeds of cattle, furnish impressive evidence that segregation promotes development and progress, and that it may be continued almost indefinitely by the consistent application of the principle; whereas the intermingling of breeding stock results invariably in the production of “scrubs” or mongrel types, and the downgrading of the whole herd.

The same principle applies with equal force to the process of human development. It is a noteworthy fact that down through the centuries the most conspicuous advances in human progress have been made by those peoples, who by reason of circumstances or by deliberate preference have been isolated to a great extent from other nations and races over long periods of time, and thus have been left free to develop their own peculiar genius and distinctive characteristics and culture.

From the days of Abraham, approximately two thousand years before Christ, the Hebrews, by Divine command, became a segregated people, separated by traditions, customs, religion and by strict codes of ethics, physical and social hygiene from their neighbors. Undoubtedly they went to extremes in developing inordinate racial pride and prejudice, which led them to despise the Gentile peoples with whom they came in contact, Nevertheless they have succeeded in preserving their racial stock and their cultural heritage, even down to our own day, and they have not only achieved the highest moral and spiritual development of all the peoples of the earth, but have made an invaluable contribution to the moral and spiritual progress of mankind. In spite of many shortcomings, and in spite of being both the exponents and the victims of bitter racial prejudice, the Hebrew people. like the waters of the Gulf stream in the midst of the ocean, have achieved a mission and a destiny which would have been impossible had they abandoned the principle of segregation and become integrated with the nations which hemmed them in on all sides centuries ago.

In a similar manner the Greeks, by reason of geographical situation and other circumstances, enjoyed for centuries comparative isolation from other peoples of the world, whom they designated as barbarians. By reason of this separation they preserved with remarkable success the purity of their racial stock for hundreds of years, and succeeded in developing a physical vigor and vitality, an intellectual acuteness, an artistic perfection, and a political idealism which made Hellenic culture the pattern and inspiration of all Western civilization. 

In modern times the most conspicuous example of the truth of this principle is found in the remark able record of the British people. Insulated in many ways from the other peoples of Europe and of the world in their island home, the British have developed a vigorous racial stock and a virile and homogeneous culture, and have persistently refused to integrate their bloodstream or their cultural heritage with those of alien or widely different racial types. Although numerically insignificant as compared with other peoples, the British have nevertheless made great achievements in every Field of human endeavor, and have made an immeasurably greater contribution to the total intellectual, social, economic, and moral welfare of mankind than any other people in ancient or modern times.

Still another impressive and perhaps the most pertinent illustration of the proposition that segregation tends to promote progress is the amazing record of the negro in America, and particularly here in the South, where the two races have lived side by side in approximately equal numbers in many areas, under a system of segregation, more or less uniformly maintained since the close of the Civil War. Despite the dire poverty and disorganization of the post-war period, the false leadership of unscrupulous whites and the charlatans of his own race, and the many cruel injustices which he suffered at the hands of dishonest landlords, callous public officials and the much-publicized mob violence, the Southern negro has somehow managed to acquire a greater number of homes, farms, banks and other properties, has achieved a higher standard of living, and today enjoys larger educational and economic opportunities, is happier and better adjusted, than can be said of any comparable number of his race at any time in their history or in any part of the world today.

4. Segregation Does Not Necessarily Involve Discrimination.

Whenever two individuals or groups of widely different physical characteristics are brought into close contact, it is likely or even inevitable that some discrimination should occur, especially where the situations are competitive; but such discrimination is a spontaneous human reaction and cannot be charged against the principle of segregation.

As a matter of fact, segregation, by reducing the number of points of contact, tends to lessen friction and tension, and especially if there is clear recognition on the part of both races that the chief reason for segregation is the desirability of preventing such intimacies as might lead to intermarriage and the amalgamation of the races, then the chief occasion for misunderstanding and discrimination is removed.

Assuming the development of racial pride in the negro race to the point where he would be as zealous as the white man in safeguarding the integrity of his race, and that both races would cheerfully accept some effective form of segregation as the only effective means of achieving that end where the two races live side by side in large numbers, there would seem to be no insuperable difficulty in working out plans which would provide “separate but equal” opportunities and facilities for both races, which would avoid any suggestion of discrimination, and which would promote the largest possible harmony and co-operation between the races.

5. The Principle of Segregation May Be Defended on Biblical Grounds and Is Not “Unchristian.”

While the Bible contains no clear mandate for or against segregation as between the white and negro races, it does furnish considerable data from which valid inferences may be drawn in support of the general principle of segregation as an important feature of the Divine purpose and Providence throughout the ages.

Concerning matters of this kind, which in the inscrutable wisdom of God have been left for mankind to work out in the light of reason and experience without the full light of revelation, we dare not be dogmatic, but we do well to examine with open mind some of the more pertinent references.

(1) The First Separation (Gen. 4:11-26).

A mark is placed upon Cain, and he is separated from the other branch of the human family, represented by Seth and his descendants. From Cain were descended men of great vigor and inventive genius, from Seth were descended men who began to call upon the name of the Lord, and were evidently those elsewhere referred to as “The Sons of God.”

(2) Demoralization Resulting from Intermarriage (Gen. 6:l~7).

The promiscuous intermarriage of the Sons of God, that is, the descendents of Seth, with the “Daughters of Men,” who were apparently the descendents of Cain, resulted in the complete breakdown of family life and such widespread immorality and wickedness as to provoke the Lord to destroy the earth with the flood. A possible though not necessary inference from this tragic story is that the intermarriage of dissimilar groups, whether the differences be moral, cultural or physical, is not conducive to the preservation of wholesome family life or to morality, and therefore is contrary to the purpose and will of God.

(3) New Divisions After the Flood Stemming From Sons of Noah (Gen. 9:18-29).

After the flood the three sons of Noah, Shem, Ham and Japheth, became the progenitors of three distinct racial groups, which were to repeople and overspread the earth. The descendents of Shem migrated eastward and occupied most of Asia; the descendents of Japheth migrated westward and ultimately occupied the continent of Europe, while the children of Ham moved generally southward toward the tropics and occupied the continent of Africa, and possibly southern Asia and the islands of the Pacific.

This brief record, the accuracy of which has not been successfully disputed by the anthropologists and ethnologists, while affirming the unity of the race, also implies that an all-wise Providence has “determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation.” Which same Providence by determining the climatic and other physical conditions under which many successive generations of the several racial groups should live, is thereby equally responsible for the distinct racial characteristics which seem to have become fixed in prehistoric times, and which are chiefly responsible for the segregation of racial groups across the centuries and in our time.

(4) Origin of Linguistic Differences (Gen. 11:19).

This indicates that the Confusion of Tongues, which took place at Babel , with the consequent scattering of the peoples was an act of special Divine Providence to frustrate the mistaken efforts of godless men to assure the permanent integration of the peoples of the earth. Incidentally it indicates that the development of different languages was not merely natural or accidental, but served a Divine purpose, in becoming one of the most effective means of preserving the separate existence of the several racial groups

(5) Abraham Called to a Separated Life (Gem, Chapters 12-25).

Abram, later changed to Abraham, was called to separate himself from his home and his kindred in Ur of the Chaldees and to live as a “stranger in a strange land.” Under Divine guidance and blessing he and his household lived peaceably with the inhabitants without mingling with them socially or intermarrying with them. The Covenant of Circumcision instituted by God provided a sign or seal which was to distinguish and set apart in a most significant way the “Seed of Abraham,” or the Hebrew people from all the other peoples of the earth throughout all generations. Many incidental circumstances, such as the refusal of God to allow the son of Hagar, the Egyptian bondwoman, to become the heir of the covenant promise, the great care exercised by Abraham to secure a wife for his son Isaac from among his own kindred rather than from among the Canaanites, and a similar concern manifested by Isaac and Rebekah concerning wives for their sons, all emphasize the importance which is attached to the principle of segregation, and doubtless paved the way for the emphasis given to it in the Mosaic economy and in the subsequent history of Israel.

(6) Prohibitions Against the Mingling of Diverse Things (Lev. 19:18).

According to the law delivered to Moses, the crossbreeding of diverse strains of cattle, the planting of mixed seeds, and the mixing of wool and linen in a garment were forbidden. We are not told the reasons for this curious law, but it seems impossible to escape the conclusion that if such intermixture of diverse elements in the lower orders of animal and plant life were unseemly and contrary to the Divine purpose, the same principle would apply with even greater force with respect to human relations.

(7) The Warnings of Moses Against Intermarriage With Other Peoples (Deut. 7:3).

Moses strictly warned the Israelites against allowing their sons and daughters to intermarry with the pagan peoples with whom they came in contact, under the penalty of bringing upon themselves the Divine wrath and judgment, This warning was emphasized repeatedly, and was specially burned into the consciousness of the nation by the terrible penalties which were inflicted upon those who committed whoredom with the daughters of Moab at Baal-Peor (Numbers 25:1-8).

(8) Ezra’s Condemnation of Mixed Marriages (Ezra, Chapters 9-10).

After the return of the Jews from the Babylonish captivity, it was discovered that great numbers of the prominent Jews had taken wives from among the heathen people of the land. This caused Ezra to rend his clothes and tear his hair, and cry unto God for mercy upon the sinning nation. The drastic steps which were taken to purge out this evil practice emphasized anew the vital importance which was attached to the preservation of the purity and integrity of the racial stock by the leaders of the nation and by their Divine ruler.

(9) The Attitude and Teachings of Our Lord — The Four Gospels.

There is no question but that the emphasis placed by Our Lord upon the love of God for the whole world (John 3:16, and other passages) was intended in part at least, as a rebuke to the bigotry and intolerance of the Jewish leaders, and to counteract the attitude of contempt and indifference which the Jewish people as a whole manifested toward the other peoples of the world. Likewise his declarations to the supreme worth of the human soul (Matt. 16:26) and His last great command to His followers to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19-20) make it abundantly clear that the redeeming love of Christ knows no limitations of class or condition or nationality or race, but like a mighty river sweeps across every natural or artificial barrier to bring the water of life to the thirsty souls of men. He used the story of the Good Samaritan to rebuke the smug complacency and narrow-minded prejudice of the Jews, but he did not ignore or denounce racial distinctions, nor did he set plans on foot to abolish them and to bring about amalgamation of the Jews and the Samaritans, or of any other races, As a matter of fact, in sending out the twelve on their first Gospel mission he directed them to go “only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matt. 10:5-6) and in dealing with the Syro-Phoenecian woman he takes particular care to emphasize the different status of the two races, before granting her request. The Golden Rule, as proclaimed by Our Lord, must unquestionably be applied to the field of race relations as well as to all other human relationships; at the same time no reasonable interpretation of this great principle requires to do unto or for, the individual or the race, for the sake of some fancied benefit or momentary satisfaction, that which we have reason to believe will in the end imperil the stability of the social order and the future welfare of the race.

(10) The Attitude and Teachings of The Apostles — The Acts and the Epistles.

The Gift of Tongues at Pentecost was undoubtedly a prophecy that the Gospel should be preached to all nations and that every people should hear the Gospel in their own languages, but it gives no hint that all linguistic, national or racial differences are to be wiped out in the Gospel Dispensation. 

Peter’s Vision on the housetop in Joppa, his subsequent visit to the home of Cornelius, the Roman Centurion, his baptism of the household after they had received the Holy Ghost, and his statement that “God is no respecter of persons,” marks the removal of the Jewish traditions and prejudices which barred the entrance of the Gentiles into the household of faith, and sets the pattern for Christianity as the new religion for all nations and all the peoples of the earth.

Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, naturally had more to say concerning this question than any of the other New Testament writers. In his notable speech to the Greeks at Athens he said: “God…hath made of one blood all nations of men, for to dwell on all the face of the earth; and hath determined ,the times before appointed and the bounds of their habitations” (Acts 17:24-26). Writing to the Colossians he said: “And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him; where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision or uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free, but Christ is all in all.”

In the first passage Paul affirms the unity of the race based upon a common origin, concerning which there can be no difference of opinion among those who accept the authority of the Bible. In the second passage Paul asserts the unity of all believers in Christ, regardless of their racial differences, but this unity is a spiritual relationship resulting from the mystical union of each believer with Christ Himself, in which all enjoy the same spiritual privileges and benefits. That Paul had in mind the absolute uniformity of believers in external relations and the wiping out of all distinctions of race, nationality, social status, sex or cultural heritage, is disproved by the fact that Paul never ceased to identify himself as a member of the Jewish race, and he made very practical use of his right to Roman citizenship. He recognized the master-slave relationship prevalent in Greek and Roman society, and enjoined obedience to the reciprocal duties arising therefrom. He also clearly recognized the status assigned to women by social custom, and denied to women some of the privileges and functions exercised by men in the churches under his supervision.

(11) Preview of The Church Triumphant (Rev., Chapters 4-7).

The Seer of Patmos was permitted to behold in wonderful symbolism a preview of the Church Triumphant, the grand consummation of redemptive purpose through the ages. Before the rainbow circled throne set in the midst of the heavens, he beheld “a great multitude which no men could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and peoples and tongues,” uniting in a mighty chorus of praise to God and to the Lamb upon the throne. It would be presumptuous indeed to say exactly what this symbolism means, or to rest the validity of any conclusions upon such interpretation; nevertheless it accords well with the whole scheme of creation, Providence and redemption to see in the rainbow which circled the throne a fitting symbol of the spectrum of redeemed humanity made up of the peoples of every nation, kindred, race and language blended into a beautiful and harmonious unity, and yet each preserving its own distinctive genius and virtues, the better to shew forth the infinite riches and diversity of the Divine glory and grace throughout the ages to come.

(12) Summary of Bible References.

There are doubtless many other parts of Scripture which may have some bearing upon this question, but which we cannot undertake to deal with in this discussion. But to summarize the interpretations of the passages above considered, the following conclusions would seem to be warranted: (a) Since for two thousand years the practice of segregation was imposed upon the Hebrew people by Divine authority and express command, and infractions of the command were punished with extreme severity, there is certainly no ground for the charge that racial segregation is displeasing to God, unjust to man, or inherently wrong; (b) Since Christ and the Apostles taught the love of God for all mankind, the oneness of believers in Christ, and demonstrated that the principles of Christian brotherhood and charity could be made operative in all relations of life, without demanding revolutionary changes in the natural or social order, there would appear to be no reason for concluding that segregation is in conduct with the spirit and the teachings of Christ and the Apostles, and therefore un-Christian.

6. Segregation Is a Well-Considered and Time-Tested American Policy.

Ample evidence is available to show beyond reasonable doubt that segregation represents the best thinking of representative American leadership, and as a time-tested national policy rests upon moral and ethical principles and not upon blind and unreasoning prejudice, as has been frequently and loudly charged by some of its latter-day critics.

The principle of segregation has been incorporated into the constitutions of seventeen of the sovereign states of the union, having been placed there by the people who were most directly concerned, and who were in position to have first-hand knowledge of all phases of the problem. Many other states approved the principle by statutory legislation, and practically all of the states at one time or another have adopted laws prohibiting intermarriage between the white and negro races, State and Federal courts have uniformly approved these constitutional and statutory provisions, and the Supreme Court of the United States, in an unbroken line of decisions extending down to the early part of the present year, confirmed the principle of segregation and established it as a Firm principle of American public policy. The Congress of the United States , in the face of tremendous pressure from political agitators and minority pressure groups, has steadfastly refused to abolish segregation in the public schools of the District of Columbia or to outlaw it in the states.

The recent decision of the Supreme Court notwithstanding, there are many concrete evidences that public sentiment throughout the nation is still strongly weighted in favor of segregation in the public schools or at least of leaving the decision with respect to it, to those states and communities where negroes constitute a substantial proportion of the population.


Thomas Jefferson, author of the immortal Declaration of Independence, devoted much attention and study to the negro problem. He advocated with great earnestness the emancipation of negro slaves in America , but he believed so strongly in the physical separation of the races for the welfare of both, that he proposed that the negroes should be peaceably repatriated in Africa at Government expense. His point of view is clearly set forth in this extract from his autobiography, written in 1821 (Vol. 1, page 48): “Nothing is more certainly written in the book of fate than that these people are to be free; nor is it less certain that the two races, equally free, cannot live in the same government. Nature, habit, opinion, have drawn indelible lines of distinction between them. It is still in our power to direct the process of emancipation and deportation peaceably.”


Abraham Lincoln, one of the wisest and most farseeing of American statesmen, venerated and almost deified by the negro race as their “Great Emancipator” and unfailing friend, devoted intense study to the race problem over a long period of years. He, like Jefferson, became so thoroughly convinced of the necessity of the physical separation of the races that he considered the most practical solution of the problem was to colonize the negroes in Africa or the West Indies. He actually had made proposals to this effect to Congress and was engaged in working out plans for putting it into execution at the time of his tragic death. In a speech made by Lincoln at Charleston, Illinois, September 18, 1858, he said, “I will say then, that I am not now, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races…that I am not now, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say, in addition to this, that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality.”

Again, in an address made to a group of free negroes at the White House on August 14, l862, Lincoln said: “You and we are different races. We have between us a broader difference than exists between any other two races. Whether it is right or wrong I need not discuss, but this physical difference is a great disadvantage to us both, as I think . . . If this is admitted, it affords a reason, at least, why we should be separated.”

It is perhaps greatly to be deplored that the great plans of Lincoln for the segregation of the races, and for the equitable and permanent solution of the American race problem, were frustrated and defeated by his tragic and untimely death. In retrospect we may well count it the greatest disaster which ever befell the South and the nation. In the Providence of God, it is yet possible that we may yet find a just and wise solution of this great problem in the light of Lincoln ‘s prophetic vision, and in keeping with his patient spirit and the kindly impulses of his great heart. Many other testimonies could be cited from outstanding leaders in American public life to support the proposition, that the only just and wise solution of the American race problem must involve the recognition of the essential differences between the two races, and the necessity of some effective form of segregation which would assure the preservation of the integrity of both races.


It was the recognition of this truth which made Booker T. Washington the most influential leader and the greatest benefactor of the negro race in his generation, and perhaps in the whole history of the negro race. All would-be leaders and promoters of better race relations in America today would do well to study his realistic approach to the problem and follow his wise leadership. In a notable and epoch-making address delivered at the Atlanta Exposition in 1895, pleading for co-operation between two races, he sounded the keynote of his philosophy, and provided for all men of understanding and goodwill a key to the solution of the problem. It is eminently fitting that this discussion should be concluded with the quotation of his wise words. He said: “The wisest among my race understand that agitation of questions of social equality is the extremest folly, and that progress in the enjoyment of all the privileges that will come to us must be the result of severe and constant struggle rather than of artificial forcing…In all things that are purely social we can be separate as the fingers, yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress.”


Dr. G. T. Gillespie, author of the above statement, is a native Mississippian. He received his education in the public schools of Mississippi , the University of Mississippi , where he received the B.A. degree in 1905; at Union Theological Seminary in Virginia , where he received the B.D. degree in 1911, and has done post-graduate work at Columbia University . He was honored with the D.D. degree by Southwestern in 1928. He has served as Presbyterian Minister in Oklahoma and Mississippi , and is recognized as one of the outstanding leaders in the Southern Presbyterian Church. For thirty-three years he served as the President of Belhaven College, retiring in 1954 with the title of President Emeritus.

Under his leadership Belhaven College achieved notable progress along all lines and came to be recognized as one of the best small liberal arts colleges of the South. For many years Dr. Gillespie has been active in many civic, educational and religious organizations, and he has been widely commended for his forthright and courageous stand on public questions, and likewise for his fair-minded and charitable attitude toward those who differ with him.