on the increase, white workers would only be fooling themselves if they believed they could solve their problems by ignoring those of the Negro: "If the white workers should organize, even to the last man, and leave the negro unorganized, their efforts are utterly in vain. Six million negro workmen will stand ready to leap into the places of their white brethren--unless they understand SOLIDARITY." Hence, every worker, regardless of color, should be reached with this special issue. 85
It is open to question whether the Christian Socialist converted any blacks to socialism. The truth is that all black Christian Socialists overlooked the fact that their people were primarily concerned with how to earn a living, how to halt the daily threats to their lives, how to educate their children, how to escape peonage and the convict labor system, and how to end their status of disfranchised, segregated second-class citizenship. Promising them a future life in a cooperative commonwealth without these burdens was hardly conducive to winning many to the cause of socialism.
With all their shortcomings, the black Christian Socialists were outstanding propagandists for the cause. They did not hide either their hatred of capitalism or their belief in socialism. Most of them suffered for their convictions and one, Reverend Woodbey, went to jail for upholding the right of socialists and workers in general to bring their message to the people. Even though they are hardly ever mentioned in studies of American socialism, 86 and not at all in those of Christian Socialism, they deserve a high place in the history of black protest.
American Socialism and Black Americans, Philip S. Foner. Copyright © 1977 by Philip S. Foner. Reproduced with permission of GREENWOOD PUBLISHING GROUP, INC., Westport, Conn.