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In church matters, during the summer of 1867, the First Congregational Society was holding all its sessions in Metzerott Hall, while our church edifice was in process of construction. The pastor was away on a short vacation. Seeing one Sunday that our Sunday school was very small, I addressed the teachers and children just before the closing exercise and said that there were plenty of children outside that had no Sunday school, and urged the scholars to make an effort to fill up our room with those who had no such school advantages. My last remark was in keeping with my own constant wish. It was to this effect: “I will give a present to five (I believe that was the number) who will bring in the most new scholars, and they need not look at the color of the eyes, hair, or skin.”

The next Sunday plenty of scholars came trooping in, and among them many colored pupils. This action, to my astonishment, displeased very many of our church members, both men and women. Our pastor was informed. He returned at once from his vacation, took sides against my action publicly and privately, though the colored children already there were suffered to remain in the Sunday school. The church society proved itself now to be divided, and those opposed to Dr. Boynton were uniting in action. However, even yet, I deprecated these dividing tendencies and tried to check them.

Later in the year, I was called to St. Louis, Mo., and when there in the Congregational churches pleaded for help to our building fund, restating, as our early letters had declared, that our new Congregational body would be careful to make no distinctions on account of race or color. That was one of our reasons for the establishment of our church in Washington.

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H. V. Boynton (1)
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1867 AD (1)
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