The efforts of The Salvation Army in the late 1800’s to end racism in America did not go unnoticed. On July 28, 1896, Booker T. Washington, a black man and principal of the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute in Alabama, wrote a letter to Major T.C. Marshall, editor of The Salvation Army’s Conqueror magazine. Washington was responding to a letter he had received from Marshall to thank Washington for “his remarkable speech,” in which the made some favorable remarks about The Salvation Army, and to let Washington know about the plans of The Salvation Army to reach African Americans in the South for God.
This was Booker T. Washington’s reply:
My Dear Sir:
I am very glad to hear that The Salvation Army is going to undertake work among my people in the southern states. I have always had the greatest respect for the work of The Salvation Army, especially because I have noted that it draws no color line in religion. I feel that there is a large class of colored people in the South, especially in the cities, who are not reached by the churches, but who will be reached by your work. In reaching the neglected and, I might say, outcasts of our people, I feel that your methods and work have peculiar value. Certainly, there is plenty of room in the South for your work, and I feel that the colored ministry of others will give you a hearty welcome. There are thousands of my people in the cities who do not go to church. These as well as others I fell you will reach and help in a permanent form. God bless you in all your unselfish Christian work for our country! If I can serve you at any time, please let me know.
Yours for the Master,
Booker T. Washington,
Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute,
Excerpt from Soldiers of Uncommon Valor by Warren L. Maye