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Fittingly Observed

The Last Day of May as a Day of Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer.

Afro-Americans Denounce the Damnable Outrages Upon Our People in the South.

And Pray for Assistance From on High-A Strong and Appropriate Sermon.

Last Tuesday was very generally observed throughout the country as a day of humiliation, fasting and prayer. Here in Cleveland our people did grandly and have without a doubt rendered the race signal service. In response to the call issued by our local ministers and published in THE GAZETTE, two meetings were held Tuesday at St. John's A.M.E. church-one in the afternoon and another in the evening. The meeting at 3 p.m. was largely attended and a deep feeling of devotion pervaded the entire assemblage. The meeting was led by Rev. Ira A. Collins, assisted by Bishop C. E. Harris, of the A.M.E Zion church; Rev. W.W. Heston, Pastor of Cory chapel; Rev. W.A. Green, pastor of St. Andrew's Episcopal church; Rev. W.R. Wilson, of Shiloh Baptist church; and Rev. Daniel W. Shaw, of Mt. Zion Congregation church. A chorus of all the church choirs, under the direction of Mr. J.G. Sheldon, furnished the music. The prayers for the deliverance of our people in the south from outrage and oppression were very fervent. It seemed to be the sense of all present that the race must turn from man to God for help. There were several long seasons of prayer, interspersed with songs of supplication. Rev. Collins introduced Mrs. Serena Brown, who spoke eloquently of the deep solemnity of the occasion as it would be world-wide in its effects. She reviewed the history of oppression of the Afro-American in the south, reminded her hearers that God would fight their battles for them if they came to Him in the proper spirit. "The trouble with the Negro in the south is the same as with the Negro in the north," she said. "He has forgotten to pray since the shackles have been taken off. He has trusted too much in the human. Let us pray a little more. Let us trust less in man and rely on the living God." She then offered a prayer that our hearts might receive a new baptism of the Holy Spirit, that all hindrance might be removed and we could get to him and He to us and be shown what it means to pray and work and live for others and that His blessing might come upon us all, north and south and free us from the terrible oppression. The meeting was closed with prayer and singing.

THE EVENING MEETING.

At the evening session there was an immense audience. A large chorus choir furnished music and sang the hymns with a zest and enthusiasm characteristics of the race. The Scripture lesson was read by the Rev. W. W. Heston, and was followed with prayer by Bishop C. R. Harris. After another hymn, Senator John P. Green, Chairman of the committee on resolutions, read the following, which were received with applause:

WHEREAS, The only legitimate object and use of any government is to protect its citizens in the enjoyment of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness;

WHEREAS, The colored people of the United States, by their conduct in the pursuits of peace and their bravery and courage upon the battlefield in every period of their country's need, have thrice earned their citizenship;

WHEREAS, In the Southern states of this Union, citizens of this Republic, whose only crime is that they contain in their veins African blood, not only are constantly proscribed in the just and equitable pursuits of life, denied equal access to railway coaches, shut out from public inns and places of amusement, and in many other ways oppressed and persecuted, but are daily and mercilessly, without any legal or moral justification, whipped, shot, hung, burnt at the stake, mutilated and flayed alive;

WHEREAS, All our cries of distress and petitions sent up to the governing power of this Union have evoked no active interference in our behalf, nor even an investigation by any legally constituted authority of any one of these notorious outrages on law and conscience, and supplication to God;

WHEREAS, These abuses are daily becoming more numerous and wickedly unblushing, with no apparent prospect of aid from the national or state governments in the near future. Therefore, recognizing the fact that there is a higher power and a higher law,

Be it resolved by the colored citizens and their friends of the City of Cleveland, 0., in conference assembled, that in this emergency and dire distress we lift our eyes and our hearts in supplication to Almighty God, the maker and ruler of all nations, and ask Him to stretch forth His omnipotent arm in our defense.

Resolved, That we now take up the cry of the children of Israel of old and our fathers in the bonds of slavery, in that same Southland, and while we exclaim "O Lord, how long," yet still we pray to Him for deliverance.

Resolved, That it is with profound gratitude that we note the decided stand in behalf of our oppressed brethren in the South taken by the Methodist Episcopal Church in its late General Conference at Omaha, and we appeal to all other ecclesiastical bodies, to the labor assemblies, the Grand Army of the Republic, land all fraternal organizations based upon the principle of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man, to emulate its example and to lend their aid and sympathy to this cause.

Resolved, That we earnestly invite and appeal to all good citizens and God fearing men and women who favor justice and abhor all injustice and Oppression, to aid us by their prayers, and in every other lawful and consistent way, to stop the horrible butcheries and oppression of colored citizens in the South, and we demand as American citizens the enactment of proper laws and that our chief executive and the judges of our federal Courts do so construe the Constitution and laws of this land as to protect all citizens at home as well as abroad.

Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions be furnished to the press of this city, and that copies of the same be forwarded to our senators and members of Congress.

* * * * * Resolutions written by a committee chaired by, and attributed to, Charles W. Chesnutt, Esq.

Chesnutt, Charles W. "Resolutions Concerning Recent Southern Outrages." In: "Fittingly Observed," Cleveland, The Gazette, (Jun. 4, 1892): 1.