Anyone guess when (what year) this was written by a Quaker?

"It is a remarkable circumstance that although the members of our religious society have been so long and so extensively known as the advocates of the colored race, and the discipline established among us presents no impediment to their reception into membership, which is not equally applicable to persons of European origin, still the number of colored persons found within the society has always been exceedingly small. This circumstance may justly raise the enquiry whether the cause lies with them or with us. Is the religion of Friends unsuited to the colored race? Or are they kept at a distance by our neglect or repulsive conduct?"

Bonus points if you know where it was originally published.

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Replies to This Discussion

Early 1800s, from "Fit for Freedom, not for Friendship".
Wrong on both counts, but don't check the book because I found the quote in the book. I posted it because I was struck at how relevant it is today.
I was thinking late 19th Century because of the style & language-- but it doesn't look like anything guessable, and we don't do pools...
Oops, I didn't notice the word "originally".

It doesn't say precisely who wrote the part of the quote that is quoted below, which I dare to presume means he or she wrote the entirety of it, only that the editor of the Friend Review wrote it . . .

from: NEGRO MEMBERSHIP IN THE SOCIETY OF FRIENDS (1), Henry Cadbury (Part Three) Journal of Negro History, 21, 151-213. (1936) (Pages 180-209)

(133)Friends Review iii, 1850, p. 700, copied in the Friends Weekly Intelligencer, vii, p. 182, and The Non-Slaveholder, v, 1850, pp. 206ff.


"Miles Lassiter, a North Carolina slave, at the time of his master's death was only a child and he by will was left to the widow, for whom he came caretaker or manager. When she died he was about sixty-five and though he was offered for sale no one would bid for him as he was too feeble for work. His wife, an industrious free colored woman, whom he had married in early life there, bid for him at a low price and thus became his lawful owner. He died at his home in Randolph County, June 22, 1850, aged about 75. For the last six years of his life he was a member of Black Creek Monthly Meeting. An account of his life and last days and an appreciation of his character was published in Friends Review. (133) The editor of that paper reports on good authority that at the time of his death Lassiter was the only colored member of the Society of Friends within the limits of North Carolina and asks why the membership has been so few. "Is the religious of Friends unsuited to the coloured race? Or are thy kept at a distance by our neglect or repulsive conduct?""

If Friends are interested, links to all the parts of Henry Cadbury's Negro Membership in the Society of Friends. (1936)



This information and follow up posts from Isabel Penrath answer so many questions. Quaker history bears examination in terms of its treatment of Blacks and other People of Color.  Shame on those who claim superiority in their "right livelihood".  Antiracism may not be the answer.  Acceptance of difference in the midst of Friends Meetings, and  "tolerance" of the "other" needs further examination.

Even the term "white supremacy" implies that the "white" person can be lumped together with others with a label.  What if we don't accept the label? That makes us a "racist."  I appreciated the comment by Kirby Urner in his reply to "Some Friends discussing racism."

Who are the elect? Jews in Israel are in the midst of a controversy that claims lives every day. To question it gives one the title of antisemitism.

Marcia Roberts


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