H – HORACE White

This is my tenth A to Z Challenge. My first was in 2013, but I missed 2021. This April I am going through the alphabet using snippets about my family through the generations.

Horace White

Rev. Horace White was the pastor of Plymouth Congregational Church from 1936 until his death in 1958. Both of my parents were members and met at Plymouth. My father credited Rev. White with turning him to the ministry. I decided to look for information about him and the article below is one that I found. It reminded me of some of my father’s writings.

The Facts in Our News

By Horace White

The Michigan Chronicle

Detroit, Michigan · Saturday, November 03, 1945

It ain’t yet – The Negroes have jumped overboard because one Negro has been assigned to get ready to play baseball in the white organized baseball fraternity. We always jump overboard at the least provocation in such matters. We make too much out of such events in our news. Of course it is an achievement to get such an assignment. But it is not any great step forward yet. The assignment of the young Negro ballplayer has in it only the fact that he is a very promising player.

Negroes are not accepted yet on the basis of their merit. It will be a long time comparatively speaking before we will be so accepted. It is no fault of the Negro players that such is the case – our American race prejudice causes this particular situation as race prejudice causes many other un-American acts on the part of Americans.

click to enlarge

It is nothing short of pathetic to see a race of people so eager for acceptance that the least little crumb dropped to them causes so much excitement. Maybe that is the way it has to be. There is one thing sure, about giving so much importance to the ordinary and common place events of our lives, we set our sights lower than we ordinarily would. Young people accept little achievement in terms of something really important. You and I have seen how easily a whole race gets vicarious pleasure and a sense of achievement from the fact that one Negro has been given some ordinary job or position.

Many times young people are given the wrong evaluation of achievement when they see their parents making such a fuss over small things. When small things are assigned to us as a race let’s be big enough with ourselves to accept small things as small things. It is nothing short of weakness on our part when we get and give so much publicity to any little incident of acceptance.

How can we get over this seeking of approval from the majority at almost any cost? This is no easy task. We have been denied and we have looked for our satisfactions from the people who have denied us so very long. We feel sometime that approval from the majority group is worth any effort that we may make.

Of course we can understand why we seek so much approval. The reasons are not far to seek. Any people living as a minority group in all ways. The majority group does its domination through education, social mores and economic controls.

The minority groups usually succumb to these controls of the majority group. One way of succumbing to the controls of the majority is to bite for every sop that the majority group hands out. The assigning of a Negro to a berth in organized baseball is an example of what is meant here. The Negro population has been led to believe that Negroes have gained something by the very fact that the young man has been assigned to play with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Still, nothing has been gained.

The boy is good. It is good business for the team to sign him to play. More than this fact we should as Negroes take the position that the recognition of the abilities of Negro players is long overdue. Therefore, Negroes should not express so much joy over the fact that the very fine young man has been signed. We are glad for him and that is all.

This unusually overrated incident is no different than the “hell” that some Negroes are “raising” over the fact that Jane White is taking the lead in Strange Fruit.” The protest of Negroes is so silly to say the least. Yes, it is possible for a Negro woman who has gone to college to fall in love with a no-good white man. Negro women who have gone to college fall in love with no-good Negroes. “Strange Fruit” is a real novel.

The protest over a Negro woman playing “Nonnie” in “Strange Fruit” is a sign of our total insecurity. We cannot face a situation without “tears” of wishful thinking. We always try to put our best “foot” forward even to the point of being ridiculous.

Our family life must provide the way for us to escape the basic need for acceptance. Young people must learn how to find inner emotional strength within themselves. Our families must provide a real basis for Negroes to free themselves from a need to seek acceptance from the majority group. We must seek brotherhood. Brotherhood means giving of selves equally. Anything else is subjugation.

#AtoZChallenge 2023 letter H

13 thoughts on “H – HORACE White

  1. It’s odd, really. I was barely past the first paragraph when I thought, ‘substitute women for colour/race’ and it could be an article in the 50s or 60s in the UK. But Mr White was absolutely right. It is a small thing. But by small steps we have managed to change things. Normalised equality – to a certain extent. Barriers still exist.
    Women’s football (soccer) on TV getting the same airtime as men – only since we won the World Cup!
    And for (am I allowed to say black, which is acceptable here?) black athletes, especially in sprints, they are the norm for track and field, which is a big turnaround. But international sport is not the same as domestic sport, and I hear there’s a lot of racism in men’s soccer. Oh, well. It may not be the system, it’s the fans now.
    Mr White just talks a lot of sense to me. 🙂

    1. Yes, we say black here too. I’m glad you saw the similarities. I think that is what makes us realize what makes us the same in spite of our differences.

  2. Mr. White’s line taking the position that this recognition is long overdue seems to sum up the essence of his argument — and it was long, long overdue! Wonderful that you were able to find this piece by him.

  3. Wow! Really fascinating, compelling stuff, about such an interesting moment in history. And what a bold opinion to have, as everyone around you is celebrating, to step back and say, wait, why are people so excited about this? Isn’t this kind of a minor thing, really? If we make this into a huge deal, aren’t we sort of accepting less than we should? Good questions to pose.

  4. I had to reflect on this story. This week I’ve been watching our grandson and his team taking one loss after another in the U18 basketball nationals. Their commitment and resilience has even amazing and we’re so proud. They live in a more remote area with fewer facilities and less exposure to other teams. What’s that got to do with this post? I guess I feel we should celebrate achievements no matter how small. So part of me wants to celebrate that young man’s admission to the team. The difference is being somehow grateful to be “allowed” to have a place and making a big deal about it. I love that our team was a mix of colours and ethnicities while most of the others were very white-bread.

    1. Yay for your grandson’s team! Better luck next time!
      I don’t think he was advocating for not recognizing our own wins.
      I understood Rev. White to be saying don’t take every token and blow it up like the world our lives are now changed because of it.

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