Bishop Campbell's Indignity

The expulsion of an African American preacher from a Georgia rail car draws the ire of Philadelphia citizens.


A Meeting of Colored Citizens Protest Against the Insult to Their Bishop.
From the Philadelphia Bulletin (March 25).

A crowded meeting was held at Liberty Hall last night to take action on the alleged outrage perpetrated upon Bishop Campbell, on an Western and Atlantic Railroad Company train in the State of Georgia. On the platform were Bishop Campbell, George H. Earle, Councilman Walters, Passmore Williams, William Still, Dr. B. T. Tanner, Bishop J. M Brown, H. M. Laing, S. P. Godwin and others. William Still, who presided, introduced Bishop Campbell, who related the circumstances which led to the calling of the meeting. Addresses were made by George H. Earle, Dr. Tanner and Bishop Brown, and the following preamble and resolutions were adopted:

Whereas, Our friend and fellow citizen, Bishop J. P. Campbell, venerable in years and widely known, rightly esteemed by all classes in this country and abroad and an able minister of Christ and the leader of his people and Whereas, this meeting has just heard, form the lips of the venerable Bishop, recently from Georgia, where had had been on a Christian mission, holding conferences and religious services not only among colored people, but frequently preaching, by invitation, in leading white churches, that, after having bought a first class ticket entitling him to ride in a first-class car between Atlanta and Chattanooga, on the Western and Atlantic Railroad Company, he was not only ruthlessly driven out of the car in which he was entitled to ride, having paid full price for a ride therein, but was compelled to enter the car used for baggage, animals and smoking, and further outraged by one of the attaches of the road, who, with a drawn revolver, in a rage swore nearly a dozen times or more he would blow his brains out if he dared open his mouth, compelling the gray-haired, unarmed servant of Christ, without a friend in the car, to submit - "And when he was reviled he opened not his mouth: "Therefore,

Resolved, That in these days of professed enlightenment and freedom, such murderous treatment as we have here before us, visited upon one whose standing and testimony cannot be questioned, is too shocking and barbarous to be allowed to pass unrebuked.

Resolved, That until these abuses are abated, in accordance with the law of the land, the civilization of the times and the principle of justice and right, the South will not only occupy an attitude that is cruel and anti-republican towards her colored citizens, but will antagonize the interest, progress and fraternal relations of the whole people thereof.

Resolved, That in theory only, not in practice, can the Civil Rights Bill and the Reconstruction measures be urged as a shield and defence for colored citizens in the South, as the laws are ruthlessly violated and disregarded daily.

Resolved, That while colored men will continue to pay for a first-class ticket and will then content themselves to ride in a filthy smoking car, with the luggage and live animals, under the sound of constant profanity and vulgar epithets, even in the presence and hearing of their wives and daughters (we are often rudely approached by these ruffians), they may so ride acceding to the rules; but if colored men in a manly way resent such abuses, the ruffian is ready with his revolver to enforce the said to be rules of the road.

Resolved, That one of the greatest wants of the people of the South to day is education; and this question should be agitated and urged by all intelligent ministers, teachers and leading men - irrespective of race or condition, until the people shall be educated out of the semi-barbarism of that region; and that the outraged colored people should emphasize this idea by refusing to support men for offices of the State and National Legislatures who refuse to advocate a national education law for all people irrespective of race or color.

Resolved, That at this hour, when the citizens of Georgia are mourning over the death of the favorite son of the State, Alexander H. Stephens, and proclaiming at his funeral at Atlanta "That his Catholic sympathies embraced all classes, colors, and conditions, and "that he bravely supported the rights and privileges of all citizens, colored or of his own race" we are the more startled at this unprovoked outrage upon Bishop Campbell, at the same place and at the same time. And we hold that while they extol the deceased for such virtues that they should practice them in their daily lives, and not permit this unwarranted attack to go unredressed.

Resolved, That the necessity of making public this particular case rests not only on its individual enormity, but we are informed that similar outrages are perpetrate din other sections of the South, and, we shall continue "to cry aloud and spare not," until the inalienable rights of man, irrespective of color of location, shall be secured.

Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions be sent to Hon. Chester A. Arthur, President of the Untied States; to Hon, Benjamin H. Brewster, Attorney-General of the United States; to the Hon --- ---, Governor of the State of Georgia; to the Hon J. C. Brown, President of the Western and Atlantic Railroad, Georgia; to Hon. R. Pattison, Governor of the State of Pennsylvania.

About this Document

  • Source: New York Globe
  • Citation: Page 3
  • Date: March 31, 1883