By Allan W. Austin
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Extra info for Quaker Brotherhood: Interracial Activism and the American Friends Service Committee, 1917-1950
Other Quakers detected an even more active racism on the part of at least some Friends who practiced segregation. ” Another respondent reported that some Quakers wanted to keep both blacks and Jews out of Friends’ schools, believing that education could not lead to their improvement. 43 In light of this searchingly honest portrait, respondents suggested ways to build a better future, many of which echoed the AFSC’s developing approach to race relations. The respondents generally acknowledged what one described as the primary need “to eliminate race prejudice among ourselves.
B. Du Bois’s essay “Race and War,” further inspired her interest in pacifism and race relations. ” At Woodbury, DuBois experimented with assembly techniques and curricular materials in which students dramatized the contributions of different groups to American society as part of a method designed to improve intergroup relations. ” To accomplish this, DuBois continued, Friends needed to “make contacts with those Negroes of our own cultural level. ”32 DuBois’s comments reflected the AFSC’s optimism about the possibilities created by interracial contacts but also revealed an anxiety that, quite bluntly, Friends simply were not in close contact with very many African Americans.
The attendees agreed that such ambiguity necessitated a “checking up upon the attitude of Friends toward the Negro. For instance, Negroes are making a tremendous fight against what is known as segregation, as far as residence and schools are concerned. ”33 In response to such concerns, the AFSC began to investigate the roles African Americans played in the Religious Society of Friends. An early, if apparently incomplete, attempt to survey Quakers suggested the stark absence of blacks. The survey managed to locate only two or three African American Friends in the Philadelphia area and a single black minister in Oregon, although the survey did find several thousand black members in the West Indies.