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The Most Reverend
 Desmond Tutu
Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town

Tutu in December 2010
Province Anglican Church of Southern Africa
See Cape Town (retired)
Enthroned 7 September 1986
Reign ended 1996
Predecessor P.W.R. Russell
Successor Njongonkulu Ndungane
Other posts Bishop of Lesotho
Bishop of Johannesburg
Archbishop of Cape Town
Ordination Deacon

Priest – 1960

Consecration 1976
Personal details
Born 7 October 1931 (1931-10-07) (age 80)
Klerksdorp, Western Transvaal, South Africa

Desmond Mpilo Tutu (born 7 October 1931) is a South African activist and retired Anglican bishop who rose to worldwide fame during the 1980s as an opponent of apartheid. He was the first black South African Archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa and primate of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa (now the Anglican Church of Southern Africa).

Tutu has been active in the defence of human rights and uses his high profile to campaign for the oppressed. He has campaigned to fight AIDS, tuberculosis, poverty, racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia. Tutu received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, the Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism in 1986, the Pacem in Terris Award in 1987, the Sydney Peace Prize in 1999, the Gandhi Peace Prize in 2005[1] and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009. Tutu has also compiled several books of his speeches and sayings.

  Early life

Desmond Mpilo Tutu was born in Klerksdorp, Transvaal, the second of the three children of Zacheriah Zililo Tutu and his wife, Aletta, and the only son.[2] Tutu’s family moved to Johannesburg when he was twelve. His father was a teacher and his mother was a cleaner and cook at a school for the blind.[3] Here he met Trevor Huddleston who was a parish priest in the black slum of Sophiatown. “One day,” said Tutu, “I was standing in the street with my mother when a white man in a priest’s clothing walked past. As he passed us he took off his hat to my mother. I couldn’t believe my eyes – a white man who greeted a black working class woman!”[3]

Although Tutu wanted to become a physician, his family could not afford the training, and he followed his father’s footsteps into teaching. Tutu studied at the Pretoria Bantu Normal College from 1951 to 1953, and went on to teach at Johannesburg Bantu High School and at Munsienville High School in Mogale City. However, he resigned following the passage of the Bantu Education Act, in protest of the poor educational prospects for black South Africans. He continued his studies, this time in theology, at St Peter’s Theology College in Rosettenville, Johannesburg, and in 1960 was ordained as an Anglican priest following in the footsteps of his mentor and fellow activist, Trevor Huddleston.

Tutu then travelled to King’s College London, (1962–1966), where he received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Theology. During this time he worked as a part-time curate, first at St. Alban’s Church, Golders Green, and then at St. Mary’s Church in Bletchingley, Surrey.[4] He later returned to South Africa and from 1967 until 1972 used his lectures to highlight the circumstances of the African population. He wrote a letter to Prime Minister B. J. Vorster, in which he described the situation in South Africa as a “powder barrel that can explode at any time”: the letter was never answered.[citation needed] He became chaplain at the University of Fort Hare in 1967, a hotbed of dissent and one of the few quality universities for African students in the southern part of Africa.[citation needed] From 1970 to 1972, Tutu lectured at the National University of Lesotho.

In 1972, Tutu returned to the UK, where he was appointed vice-director of the Theological Education Fund of the World Council of Churches, at Bromley in Kent. He returned to South Africa in 1975 and was appointed Anglican Dean of St. Mary’s Cathedral in Johannesburg -— the first black person to hold that position.[citation needed]

  Personal life

On 2 July 1955, Tutu married Nomalizo Leah Shenxane, a teacher whom he had met while at college. They had four children: Trevor Thamsanqa Tutu, Theresa Thandeka Tutu, Naomi Nontombi Tutu and Mpho Andrea Tutu, all of whom attended the Waterford Kamhlaba School in Swaziland.[5]

His son, Trevor Tutu, caused a bomb scare at East London Airport in 1989 and was arrested. In 1991, he was convicted of contravening the Civil Aviation Act by falsely claiming there had been a bomb on board a South African Airways‘ plane at East London Airport.[6] The bomb threat delayed the Johannesburg bound flight for more than three hours, costing South African Airways some R28000. At the time, Trevor Tutu announced his intention to appeal against his sentence, but failed to arrive for the appeal hearings. He forfeited his bail of R15000.[6] He was due to begin serving his sentence in 1993, but failed to hand himself over to prison authorities. He was finally arrested in Johannesburg in August 1997. He applied for amnesty from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission which was granted in 1997. He was then released from Goodwood Prison in Cape Town where he had begun serving his three-and-a-half year prison sentence after a court in East London refused to grant him bail.[7]

Naomi Tutu founded the Tutu Foundation for Development and Relief in Southern Africa, based in Hartford, Connecticut. She attended the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce at the University of Kentucky and has followed in her father’s footsteps as a human rights activist. She is currently a program coordinator for the Race Relations Institute at Fisk University, in Nashville, Tennessee.[8] Desmond Tutu’s other daughter, Mpho Tutu, has also followed in her father’s footsteps and in 2004 was ordained an Episcopal priest by her father.[9] She is also the founder and executive director of the Tutu Institute for Prayer and Pilgrimage and the chairperson of the board of the Global AIDS Alliance.[10]

In 1997, Tutu was diagnosed with prostate cancer and underwent successful treatment in the US. He subsequently became patron of the South African Prostate Cancer Foundation which was established in 2007.[11]

Beginning on his 79th birthday, Tutu has entered a phased retirement from public life, starting with only one day per week in his office until the end of February 2011. On 23 May in Shrewsbury Massachusetts, Tutu gave what is said by to be his last major public event outside of South Africa. Tutu will honour his commitments through May 2011 and will add no more commitments.[12]

 Role during apartheid

In 1976, the protests in Soweto, also known as the Soweto Riots, against the government’s use of Afrikaans as a compulsory medium of instruction in black schools became a massive uprising against apartheid. From then on Tutu supported an economic boycott of his country. He vigorously opposed the “constructive engagement” policy of the Reagan administration in the United States, which advocated “friendly persuasion”.[citation needed] Tutu rather supported disinvestment, although it hit the poor hardest, for if disinvestment threw blacks out of work, Tutu argued, at least they would be suffering “with a purpose”. In 1985, the US and the UK (two primary investors into South Africa) stopped any investments. As a result, disinvestment did succeed, causing the value of the Rand to plunge more than 35 percent, and pressuring the government toward reform.[citation needed] Tutu pressed the advantage and organised peaceful marches which brought 30,000 people onto the streets of Cape Town.[13]

Tutu was Bishop of Lesotho from 1976 until 1978, when he became Secretary-General of the South African Council of Churches. From this position, he was able to continue his work against apartheid with agreement from nearly all churches. Through his writings and lectures at home and abroad, Tutu consistently advocated reconciliation between all parties involved in apartheid. Tutu’s opposition to apartheid was vigorous and unequivocal, and he was outspoken both in South Africa and abroad. He often compared apartheid to Nazism and Communism; as a result the government twice revoked his passport, and he was jailed briefly in 1980 after a protest march. It was thought by many that Tutu’s increasing international reputation and his rigorous advocacy of non-violence protected him from harsher penalties. Tutu was also harsh in his criticism of the violent tactics of some anti-apartheid groups such as the African National Congress and denounced terrorism and Communism.

When a new constitution was proposed for South Africa in 1983 to defend against the anti-apartheid movement, Tutu helped form the National Forum Committee to fight the constitutional changes.[14] Despite his opposition to apartheid, Tutu was criticised for “selective indignation” by his passive attitude towards the coup regime in Lesotho (1970–86), where he had taught from 1970–2 and served as Bishop 1976–1978, leaving just as civil war broke out. This contrasted poorly with the courageous stance of Lesotho Evangelical Church personnel who were murdered. In 1986 he receives the honourary citizenship of Reggio nell’Emilia (Italy), the first world’s town that assigned this important award to Desmond Tutu.

In 1990, Tutu and the ex-Vice Chancellor of the University of the Western Cape Professor Jakes Gerwel founded the Desmond Tutu Educational Trust. The Trust – established to fund developmental programmes in tertiary education – provides capacity building at 17 historically disadvantaged institutions. Tutu’s work as a mediator in order to prevent all-out racial war was evident at the funeral of South African Communist Party leader Chris Hani in 1993. Tutu spurred a crowd of 120,000 to repeat after him the chants, over and over: “We will be free!”, “All of us!”, “Black and white together!”[15]

In 1993, Tutu was a patron of the Cape Town Olympic Bid Committee. In 1994, he was an appointed a patron of the World Campaign Against Military and Nuclear Collaboration with South Africa, Beacon Millennium and Action from Ireland. In 1995, he was appointed a Chaplain and Sub-Prelate of the Venerable Order of Saint John by Queen Elizabeth II,[16] and he became a patron of the American Harmony Child Foundation and the Hospice Association of Southern Africa.

[edit] Role since apartheid

The 14th Dalai Lama & Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize laureates. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. 2004.

After the fall of apartheid, Tutu headed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He retired as Archbishop of Cape Town in 1996 and was made emeritus Archbishop of Cape Town, an honorary title that is unusual in the Anglican church.[17] He was succeeded by Njongonkulu Ndungane. At a thanksgiving for Tutu upon his retirement as Archbishop in 1996, Nelson Mandela said that he made an “immeasurable contribution to our nation”.[18]

Tutu is generally credited with coining the term Rainbow Nation as a metaphor for post-apartheid South Africa after 1994 under African National Congress rule. The expression has since entered mainstream consciousness to describe South Africa’s ethnic diversity.

Since his retirement, Tutu has worked as a global activist on issues pertaining to democracy, freedom and human rights. In 2006, Tutu launched a global campaign, organised by Plan, to ensure that all children are registered at birth, as an unregistered child did not officially exist and was vulnerable to traffickers and during disasters.[19] Tutu is the Patron of the educational improvement charity, Link Community Development.

Tutu had announced he would retire from public life when he turned 79 in October 2010, which he did.

“Instead of growing old gracefully, at home with my family – reading and writing and praying and thinking – too much of my time has been spent at airports and in hotels,” the Nobel laureate said in a statement.[20]

 Role in South Africa

Tutu is widely regarded as “South Africa’s moral conscience”[21] and has been described by former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, as “sometimes strident, often tender, never afraid and seldom without humour, Desmond Tutu’s voice will always be the voice of the voiceless”.[18] Since his retirement, Tutu has worked to critique the new South African government. Tutu has been vocal in condemnation of corruption, the ineffectiveness of the ANC-led government to deal with poverty, and the recent outbreaks of xenophobic violence in some townships in South Africa.

After a decade of freedom for South Africa, Tutu was honoured with the invitation to deliver the annual Nelson Mandela Foundation Lecture. On 23 November 2004, Tutu gave an address entitled “Look to the Rock from Which You Were Hewn”. This lecture, critical of the ANC-controlled government, stirred a pot of controversy between Tutu and Thabo Mbeki, calling into question “the right to criticise”.[22]

  Continued economic stratification and political corruption

Tutu made a stinging attack on South Africa’s political élite, saying the country was “sitting on a powder keg”[23] because of its failure to alleviate poverty a decade after apartheid’s end. Tutu also said that attempts to boost black economic ownership were benefiting only an elite minority, while political “kowtowing” within the ruling ANC was hampering democracy. Tutu asked, “What is black empowerment when it seems to benefit not the vast majority but an elite that tends to be recycled?”[23]

Tutu criticised politicians for debating whether to give the poor an income grant of $16 (£12) a month and said the idea should be seriously considered. Tutu has often spoken in support of the Basic Income Grant (BIG) which has so far been defeated in parliament. After the first round of volleys were fired, South African Press Association journalist, Ben Maclennan reported Tutu’s response as: “Thank you Mr President for telling me what you think of me, that I am—a liar with scant regard for the truth, and a charlatan posing with his concern for the poor, the hungry, the oppressed and the voiceless.”[24]

Tutu warned of corruption shortly after the re-election of the African National Congress government of South Africa, saying that they “stopped the gravy train just long enough to get on themselves.”[25] In August 2006 Tutu publicly urged Jacob Zuma, the South African politician (now President) who had been accused of sexual crimes and corruption, to drop out of the ANC’s presidential succession race. He said in a public lecture that he would not be able to hold his “head high” if Zuma became leader after being accused both of rape and corruption. In September 2006, Tutu repeated his opposition to Zuma’s candidacy as ANC leader due to Zuma’s “moral failings”.”[26]

 Attacks on Tutu

The head of the Congress of South African Students condemned Tutu as a “loose cannon” and a “scandalous man” – a reaction which prompted an angry Mbeki to side with Tutu. Zuma’s personal advisor responded by accusing Tutu of having double standards and “selective amnesia” (as well as being old). Elias Khumalo claims Tutu “had found it so easy to accept the apology from the apartheid government that committed unspeakable atrocities against millions of South Africans”, yet now “cannot find it in his heart to accept the apology from this humble man who has erred”.[27]

 Xenophobic violence in 2008

Tutu has condemned the xenophobic violence which occurred in some parts of South Africa in May 2008. Tutu, who once intervened in the apartheid years to prevent a mob “necklacing” a man,[28][29] said that when South Africans were fighting against apartheid they had been supported by people around the world and particularly in Africa. Although they were poor, other Africans welcomed South Africans as refugees, and allowed liberation movements to have bases in their territory even if it meant those countries were going to be attacked by the South African Defence force. Tutu called on South Africans to end the violence as thousands of refugees have sought refuge in shelters.[30]

  Chairman of The Elders

On 18 July 2007, in Johannesburg, Nelson Mandela, Graça Machel, and Tutu convened The Elders, a group of world leaders to contribute their wisdom, kindness, leadership and integrity to tackle some of the world’s toughest problems. Mandela announced its formation in a speech on his 89th birthday. Tutu is serving as its Chair. Other founding members include Kofi Annan, Ela Bhatt, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Jimmy Carter, Li Zhaoxing, Mary Robinson, Jonathan Park, Muhammad Yunus and Aung San Suu Kyi, whose chair was left symbolically empty due to her confinement as a political prisoner in Burma.

“This group can speak freely and boldly, working both publicly and behind the scenes on whatever actions need to be taken,” Mandela commented. “Together we will work to support courage where there is fear, foster agreement where there is conflict, and inspire hope where there is despair.”[31] The Elders will be independently funded by a group of Founders, including Sir Richard Branson, Peter Gabriel, Ray Chambers, Michael Chambers, Bridgeway Foundation, Pam Omidyar, Humanity United, Amy Robbins, Shashi Ruia, Dick Tarlow and the United Nations Foundation.

  Role in the developing world

Archbishop Desmond Tutu gets an HIV test on The Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation’s Tutu Tester, a mobile test unit.

Tutu has focused on drawing awareness to issues such as poverty, AIDS and non-democratic governments in the Third World. In particular he has focused on issues in Zimbabwe and Palestine. Tutu also led The Elders’ first mission to travel to Sudan in September–October 2007 to foster peace in the Darfur crisis. “Our hope is that we can keep Darfur in the spotlight and spur on governments to help keep peace in the region,” said Tutu.[32]


Tutu has been vocal in his criticism of human rights abuses in Zimbabwe as well as the South African government’s policy of quiet diplomacy towards Zimbabwe. In 2007 he said the “quiet diplomacy” pursued by the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) had “not worked at all” and he called on Britain and the West to pressure SADC, including South Africa, which was chairing talks between President Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, to set firm deadlines for action, with consequences if they were not met.[33] Tutu has often criticised Robert Mugabe in the past and he once described the autocratic leader as “a cartoon figure of an archetypical African dictator”.[21] In 2008, he called for the international community to intervene in Zimbabwe – by force if necessary.[34] Mugabe, on the other hand, has called Tutu an “angry, evil and embittered little bishop”.[35]

Tutu has often stated that all leaders in Africa should condemn Zimbabwe: “What an awful blot on our copy book. Do we really care about human rights, do we care that people of flesh and blood, fellow Africans, are being treated like rubbish, almost worse than they were ever treated by rabid racists?”[21] After the Zimbabwean presidential elections in April 2008, Tutu expressed his hope that Mugabe would step down after it was initially reported that Mugabe had lost the elections. Tutu reiterated his support of the democratic process and hoped that Mugabe would adhere to the voice of the people.[36]

Tutu called Mugabe “someone we were very proud of”, as he “did a fantastic job, and it’s such a great shame, because he had a wonderful legacy. If he had stepped down ten or so years ago he would be held in very, very high regard. And I still want to say we must honour him for the things that he did do, and just say what a shame.”[36]

Tutu stated that he feared that riots would break out in Zimbabwe if the election results were ignored. He proposed that a peace-keeping force should be sent to the region to ensure stability.[36]

  Solomon Islands

In 2009, Tutu assisted in the establishing of the Solomon Islands’ Truth and Reconciliation Commission, modelled after the South African body of the same name.[37][38] He spoke at its official launch in Honiara on 29 April 2009, emphasising the need for forgiveness in order to build lasting peace.[39]

  Israel and Palestine

Tutu has acknowledged the significant role Jews played in the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa and has voiced support for Israel’s security concerns, speaking against suicide bombing.[40] He is also an active and prominent proponent of the campaign for divestment from Israel,[41] likening Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to the treatment of Black South Africans under apartheid.[40] Tutu drew this comparison on a Christmas visit to Jerusalem in 1989, when he said that he is a “black South African, and if I were to change the names, a description of what is happening in Gaza and the West Bank could describe events in South Africa.”[42] He made similar comments in 2002, speaking of “the humiliation of the Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like us when young white police officers prevented us from moving about”.[43]

In 1988, the American Jewish Committee noted that Tutu was strongly critical of Israel’s military and other connections with apartheid-era South Africa, and quoted him as saying that Zionism has “very many parallels with racism”, on the grounds that it “excludes people on ethnic or other grounds over which they have no control”. While the AJC was critical of some of Tutu’s views, it dismissed “insidious rumours” that he had made anti-Semitic statements.[44] (The exact wording of Tutu’s statement was reported differently in different sources. A Toronto Star article from the period indicates that he described Zionism “as a policy that looks like it has many parallels with racism, the effect is the same.”)[45]

Tutu preached a message of forgiveness during a 1989 trip to Israel’s Yad Vashem museum, saying “Our Lord would say that in the end the positive thing that can come is the spirit of forgiving, not forgetting, but the spirit of saying: God, this happened to us. We pray for those who made it happen, help us to forgive them and help us so that we in our turn will not make others suffer.”[46] Some found this statement offensive, with Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center calling it “a gratuitous insult to Jews and victims of Nazism everywhere.”[47] Tutu was subjected to racial slurs during this visit to Israel, with vandals writing “Black Nazi pig” on the walls of the St. George’s Cathedral in East Jerusalem, where he was staying.[46]

In 2002, when delivering a public lecture in support of divestment, Tutu said “My heart aches. I say why are our memories so short. Have our Jewish sisters and brothers forgotten their humiliation? Have they forgotten the collective punishment, the home demolitions, in their own history so soon? Have they turned their backs on their profound and noble religious traditions? Have they forgotten that God cares deeply about the downtrodden?”[40] He argued that Israel could never live in security by oppressing another people, and stated, “People are scared in this country [the US], to say wrong is wrong because the Jewish lobby is powerful – very powerful. Well, so what? For goodness sake, this is God’s world! We live in a moral universe. The apartheid government was very powerful, but today it no longer exists.”[40] The latter statement was criticised by some Jewish groups, including the Anti-Defamation League.[48][49] When he edited and reprinted parts of his speech in 2005, Tutu replaced the words “Jewish lobby” with “pro-Israel lobby”.[50]

In August 2011, Archbishop Tutu met with Israeli students and stated that “boycotts are not the way”. He also acknowledged Israel’s right to exist. [51]

US attorney Alan Dershowitz referred to Tutu as a “racist and a bigot” during the controversial Durban II conference in April 2009.[52]

  Palestinian Christians

In 2003, Tutu accepted the role as patron of Sabeel International,[53] a Christian liberation theology organisation which supports the concerns of the Palestinian Christian community and has actively lobbied the international Christian community for divestment from Israel.[54] In the same year, Archbishop Tutu received an International Advocate for Peace Award from the Cardozo School of Law, an affiliate of Yeshiva University, sparking scattered student protests and condemnations from representatives of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Anti-Defamation League.[55] A 2006 opinion piece in the Jerusalem Post newspaper described him as “a friend, albeit a misguided one, of Israel and the Jewish people”.[56] The Zionist Organization of America has led a campaign to protest Tutu’s appearances at North American campuses.


Tutu was appointed as the UN Lead for an investigation into the Israeli bombings in the Beit Hanoun November 2006 incident. Israel refused Tutu’s delegation access so the investigation didn’t occur until 2008.

During that fact-finding mission, Tutu called the Gaza blockade an abomination[57] and compared Israel’s behaviour to the military junta in Burma.

During the 2008–2009 Gaza War, Tutu called the Israeli offensive “war crimes”.

  Protests against Tutu in the USA

In 2011 some members of the American Psychiatric Association refused to attend the group’s annual meeting in Honolulu to protest on the selection of Tutu as speaker because of the bishop alleged “anti-Semitic” statements. Dr. Thomas G. Gutheil went as far as to resign from the organisation.[58][59][60]

In 2007, the president of the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota cancelled a planned speech from Tutu, on the grounds that his presence might offend some members of the local Jewish community.[61] Many faculty members opposed this decision, and with some describing Tutu as the victim of a smear campaign. The group Jewish Voice for Peace led an email campaign calling on St. Thomas to reconsider its decision,[62] which the president did and invited Tutu to campus.[63] Tutu declined the re-invitation, speaking instead at the Minneapolis Convention Center at an event hosted by Metro State University.[64] However, Tutu later addressed the issue two days later while making his final appearance at Metro State.

“There were those who tried to say ‘Tutu shouldn’t come to [St.Thomas] to speak.’ I was 10,000 miles away and I thought to myself, ‘Ah, no,’ because there were many here who said ‘No, come and speak,’” Tutu said. “People came and stood and had demonstrations to say ‘Let Tutu speak.’ [Metropolitan State] said ‘Whatever, he can come and speak here.’ Professor Toffolo and others said ‘We stand for him.’ So let us stand for them.”[65]


Tutu wrote to the Chinese government demanding the release of dissident Yang Jianli in 2007.[66] He criticised China for not doing more against the Darfur genocide.[67] During the 2008 Tibetan unrest, Tutu praised the 14th Dalai Lama and said that the government of China should “listen to [his] pleas for… no further violence”.[68] He later spoke to a rally calling on heads of states worldwide to not attend the 2008 Summer Olympics opening ceremony “for the sake of the beautiful people of Tibet”.[69]


The Dalai Lama was not granted a visa to South Africa to participate in the 80th birthday party of fellow Nobel peace prize winner Tutu on 7 October 2011. He said his application for a visa had not come through on time despite having been made to Pretoria several weeks earlier.[70][71] In 2009 Beijing had warned against allowing the Dalai Lama into the country.

  United Nations role

In 2003, he was elected to the Board of Directors of the International Criminal Court‘s Trust Fund for Victims.[72] He was named a member of the UN advisory panel on genocide prevention in 2006.[73]

However, Tutu has also criticised the UN, particularly on the issue of West Papua. Tutu expressed support for the West Papuan independence movement, criticising the UN’ role in the takeover of West Papua by Indonesia. Tutu said: “For many years the people of South Africa suffered under the yoke of oppression and apartheid. Many people continue to suffer brutal oppression, where their fundamental dignity as human beings is denied. One such people is the people of West Papua.”[74]

Tutu was named to head a United Nations fact-finding mission to the Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun, where, in a November 2006 incident the Israel Defense Forces killed 19 civilians after troops wound up a week-long incursion aimed at curbing Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel from the town.[75] Tutu planned to travel to the Palestinian territory to “assess the situation of victims, address the needs of survivors and make recommendations on ways and means to protect Palestinian civilians against further Israeli assaults,” according to the president of the UN Human Rights Council, Luis Alfonso De Alba.[76] Israeli officials expressed concern that the report would be biased against Israel. Tutu cancelled the trip in mid-December, saying that Israel had refused to grant him the necessary travel clearance after more than a week of discussions.[77] However, Tutu and British academic Christine Chinkin are now due to visit the Gaza Strip via Egypt and will file a report at the September 2008 session of the Human Rights Council.[78]

  Political views

Tutu is a supporter of the magazine New Internationalist, which campaigns for social and environmental justice worldwide.

 Against poverty

Before the 31st G8 summit at Gleneagles, Scotland, in 2005, Tutu called on world leaders to promote free trade with poorer countries. Tutu also called on an end to expensive taxes on anti-AIDS drugs.[79]

Following this summit, the G8 leaders promised to increase aid to developing countries by $48bn a year by 2010. Further, they gave their word of honour that they would do the best they could to achieve universal access to prevention and treatment for the millions and millions of people globally threatened by HIV/AIDS.

Before the 32nd G8 summit in Heiligendamm, Germany in 2007, Tutu called on the G8 to focus on poverty in the Third World. Following the United Nations Millennium Summit in 2000, it appeared that world leaders were determined as never before to set and meet specific goals regarding extreme poverty.[80]

  Against unilateralism

In January 2003, Tutu attacked British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s stance in supporting American President George W. Bush over Iraq. The alliance of Britain and the United States of America led to the outbreak of the Iraq War later that year. Tutu asked why Iraq was being singled out when Europe, India and Pakistan also had many weapons of mass destruction.[81]

In October 2004, Tutu appeared in a play at Off Broadway, New York, called Guantanamo – Honor-bound to Defend Freedom. This play was highly critical of the US handling of detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Tutu played Lord Justice Steyn, a judge who questions the legal justification of the detention regime.[82]

In January 2005, Tutu added his voice to the growing dissent over terrorist suspects held at Camp X-Ray in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, referring to detentions without trial as “utterly unacceptable.” Tutu compared these detentions to those under Apartheid. Tutu also emphasised that when South Africa had used those methods the country had been condemned, however when powerful countries such as Britain and the United States of America had invoked such power, the world was silent and in that silence accepted their methods even though they violated essential human rights.[83]

In February 2006, Tutu repeated these statements after a UN report was published which called for the closure of the camp. Tutu stated that the Guantanamo camp was a stain on the character of the United States, while the legislation in Britain which gave a 28-day detention period for terror suspects was “excessive” and “untenable”. Tutu pointed out that similar arguments were being made in Britain and the United States which the South African apartheid regime had used. “It is disgraceful and one cannot find strong enough words to condemn what Britain and the United States and some of their allies have accepted,” said Tutu. Tutu also attacked Tony Blair’s failed attempt to hold terrorist suspects in Britain for up to 90 days without charge. “Ninety days for a South African is an awful déjà-vu because we had in South Africa in the bad old days a 90-day detention law,” he said. Under apartheid, as at Guantanamo, people were held for “unconscionably long periods” and then released, he said.[84]

In 2007, Tutu stated that the global “war on terror” could not be won if people were living in desperate conditions. Tutu said that the global disparity between rich and poor people creates instability.[85]


Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation

Tutu has been a tireless campaigner for health and human rights, and has been particularly vocal in support of controlling TB and HIV.[86] He is Patron of the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation, a registered Section 21 non-profit organisation[clarification needed], and has served as the honorary chairman for the Global AIDS Alliance and is patron of TB Alert, a UK charity working internationally.[87] In 2003 the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre was founded in Cape Town, while the Desmond Tutu TB Centre was founded in 2003 at Stellenbosch University. Tutu suffered from TB in his youth and has been active in assisting those afflicted, especially as TB and HIV/AIDS deaths have become intrinsically linked in South Africa. “Those of you who work to care for people suffering from AIDS and TB are wiping a tear from God’s eye,” Tutu said.[86]

On 20 April 2005, after Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected as Pope Benedict XVI, Tutu said he was sad that the Roman Catholic Church was unlikely to change its opposition to condoms amidst the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa: “We would have hoped for someone more open to the more recent developments in the world, the whole question of the ministry of women and a more reasonable position with regards to condoms and HIV/AIDS.”[88]

In 2007, statistics were released that indicated HIV and AIDS numbers were lower than previously thought in South Africa. However, Tutu named these statistics “cold comfort” as it was unacceptable that 600 people died of AIDS in South Africa every day. Tutu also rebuked the government for wasting time by discussing what caused HIV/AIDS, which particularly attacks Mbeki and Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang for their denialist stance.[89]

  Church reform

In 2002, Tutu called for a reform of the Anglican Communion in regard to how its leader, the Archbishop of Canterbury, is chosen. The ultimate appointment is made by the British Prime Minister and thus Tutu said that the selection process will be properly democratic and representative only when the link between church and state is broken. In February 2006 Tutu took part in the 9th Assembly of the World Council of Churches, held in Porto Alegre, Brazil. There he manifested his commitment to ecumenism and praised the efforts of Christian churches to promote dialogue to diminish their differences. For Tutu, “a united church is no optional extra.”


Tutu says he still reads the Bible every day and recommends that people read it as a collection of books, not a single constitutional document: “You have to understand is that the Bible is really a library of books and it has different categories of material,” he said. “There are certain parts which you have to say no to. The Bible accepted slavery. St Paul said women should not speak in church at all and there are people who have used that to say women should not be ordained. There are many things that you shouldn’t accept.”[90]

 Gay rights

In the debate about Anglican views of homosexuality, he has opposed Christian discrimination against homosexuals while suggesting homosexual church leaders should currently remain celibate. Commenting days after 5 August 2003 election of Gene Robinson, an openly gay man to be a bishop in the Episcopal Church in the United States of America, Tutu said, “In our Church here in South Africa, that doesn’t make a difference. We just say that at the moment, we believe that they should remain celibate and we don’t see what the fuss is about.”[91] Tutu has remarked that it is sad the Church is spending time disagreeing on sexual orientation “when we face so many devastating problems – poverty, HIV/AIDS, war and conflict”.[92]

Tutu has increased his criticism of conservative attitudes to homosexuality within his own church, equating homophobia with racism. Stating at a conference in Nairobi that he is “deeply disturbed that in the face of some of the most horrendous problems facing Africa, we concentrate on ‘what do I do in bed with whom'”.[93] In an interview with BBC Radio 4 on 18 November 2007, Tutu accused the church of being obsessed with homosexuality and declared: “If God, as they say, is homophobic, I wouldn’t worship that God.”[94]

Tutu has lent his name to the fight against homophobia in Africa and around the world. He stated at the launching of the book ‘Sex, Love and Homophobia’ that homophobia is a ‘crime against humanity’ and ‘every bit as unjust’ as apartheid. He added that “we struggled against apartheid in South Africa, supported by people the world over, because black people were being blamed and made to suffer for something we could do nothing about; our very skins…It is the same with sexual orientation. It is a given.”[95]

He supported the creation of the Harvey Milk Foundation after being a co-recipient of 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom with Harvey Milk and meeting Milk’s nephew, Stuart, who accepted the Medal on behalf of his uncle. Tutu remains involved as a founding member of the Foundation’s Advisory Board.[96]

 Women’s rights

On 8 March 2009, Desmond Tutu joined the campaign “Africa for women’s rights” launched by The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), The African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (ACDHRS), Femmes Africa Solidarité (FAS), Women’s Aid Collective (WACOL), Women in Law and Development in Africa (WILDAF), Women and Law in South Africa (WLSA) and hundred other African human rights and women’s rights organisations. This campaign for the fulfilment of women’s human rights, and the end of violence and discrimination against women, aims to generate mass mobilisation and draw maximum attention, in order to increase pressure on African States to ratify the international and regional women’s human rights protection instruments, without reservation, and to respect them, in domestic laws and in practice.

In 1994, Tutu said that he approved of artificial contraception and that abortion was acceptable in a number of situations, such as incest and rape. He specifically welcomed the aims of the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo.[97]

[edit] Climate change

Tutu was at the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. He made a speech in front of many at the event. Tutu is also a “Climate Ally” in the “tck tck tck Time for Climate Justice” campaign of the Global Humanitarian Forum and a messenger.[98]

 US immigration laws

On 28 April 2011, Tutu published a strongly worded article about Arizona Senate Bill 1070, which criminalises undocumented immigration in the US State of Arizona, and requires Arizona police to request immigration documentation of any person suspected of committing a crime, a clause which would require immigrants to carry documentation on their person at all times. He stated that he was “saddened today at the prospect of a young Hispanic immigrant in Arizona going to the grocery store and forgetting to bring her passport and immigration documents with her. I cannot be dispassionate about the fact that the very act of her being in the grocery store will soon be a crime in the state she lives in. Or that should a policeman hear her accent and form a “reasonable suspicion” that she is an illegal immigrant, she can – and will – be taken into custody until someone sorts it out, while her children are at home waiting for their dinner.” He urged the State of Arizona to create a new model to deal with the pitfalls of illegal immigration, one that “is based on a deep respect for the essential human rights Americans themselves have grown up enjoying.”[99]

  Other humanitarian initiatives

In 2009 Tutu joined the project “Soldiers of Peace”, a movie against all wars and for a global peace.[100][101]

Also in 2009, along with prominent chefs and celebrities like Daniel Boulud and Jean Rochefort, Desmond Tutu endorsed Action Against Hunger‘s No Hunger Campaign calling on the former Vice-President Al Gore to make a documentary film about world hunger.[102]

  Academic role

Tutu delivering the keynote address at the University of the Western Cape’s New Member Recognition Event, 2009

In 1998, he was appointed as the Robert R Woodruff Visiting Professor at Emory University, Atlanta. He returned to Emory University the following year as the William R Cannon Visiting Distinguished Professor. In 2000, he founded the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation to raise funds for the Desmond Tutu Peace Centre in Cape Town. The following year he launched the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation USA, which is designed to work with universities nationwide to create leadership academies emphasising peace, social justice and reconciliation.

In 2001, the Desmond Tutu Educational Trust, with funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, launched the Desmond Tutu Footprints of the Legends Awards to recognise leadership in combating prejudice, human rights, research and poverty eradication. Since 2004, he has been a Visiting Professor at King’s College London. In 2007 and in 2010, he joined 600 college students and sailed around the world with the Semester at Sea programme.[103]

Archbishop Desmond Tutu co-chairs 1GOAL Education for All campaign which was launched by Queen Rania of Jordan in August 2009 which aims to secure schooling for some 72 million children world-wide who cannot afford it, in accordance with the Millennium Goal Promise of education for all by 2015 giving them an opportunity to get education through the FIFA 1Goal campaign.[104][105]


In the ongoing effort to research the diversity of the human genome Archbishop Tutu donated some of his own cells to the project. It was sequenced as an example for a Bantu individual representing Sotho-Tswana and Nguni speakers (publication: February 2010).[106]

[edit] One Young World

Desmond Tutu has signed up to be one of the Counsellors at One Young World – a non-profit organisation which hopes to bring together 1500 young global leaders of tomorrow from every country in the world.


Desmond Tutu currently serves as the honorary chair of the Association of European Parliamentarians with Africa’s (AWEPA) Eminent Advisory Board.[107]


See also: List of honours for Desmond Tutu

Dr. Desmond Tutu at The Faculty of Protestant Theology in Vienna

On 16 October 1984, the then Bishop Tutu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel Committee cited his “role as a unifying leader figure in the campaign to resolve the problem of apartheid in South Africa”.[108] This was seen as a gesture of support for him and The South African Council of Churches which he led at that time. In 1987 Tutu was awarded the Pacem in Terris Award.[109] It was named after a 1963 encyclical letter by Pope John XXIII that calls upon all people of good will to secure peace among all nations.[110] In 1992, he was awarded the Bishop John T. Walker Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award.

In June 1999, Tutu was invited to give the annual Wilberforce Lecture in Kingston upon Hull, commemorating the life and achievements of the anti-slavery campaigner William Wilberforce. Tutu used the occasion to praise the people of the city for their traditional support of freedom and for standing with the people of South Africa in their fight against apartheid. He was also presented with the freedom of the city.[111]

In 1978 Tutu was awarded a fellowship of King’s College London, of which he is an alumnus. He returned to King’s in 2004 as Visiting Professor in Post-Conflict Studies. The Students’ Union nightclub, Tutu’s, is named in his honour.[112]

In June 1999 Tutu was elected an Honorary Fellow of Sidney Sussex College in the University of Cambridge, from which he has been awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Divinity.

In 2006 Tutu was named an honorary patron of the University Philosophical Society, Trinity College, Dublin for his tremendous contributions to peace and discourse.

Freedom of the city awards have been conferred on Tutu in cities in Italy, Wales, England and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He has received numerous doctorates and fellowships at distinguished universities. He has been named a Grand Officer of the Légion d’honneur by France; Germany has awarded him the Order of Merit Grand Cross, and he received the Sydney Peace Prize in 1999. He is also the recipient of the Gandhi Peace Prize, the King Hussein Prize and the Marion Doenhoff Prize for International Reconciliation and Understanding. In 2008, Governor Rod Blagojevich of Illinois proclaimed 13 May ‘Desmond Tutu Day’. On his visit to Illinois, Tutu was awarded the Lincoln Leadership Prize and unveiled his portrait which will be displayed at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield.[113]

In October 2008, Tutu received the Wallenberg Medal from the University of Michigan in recognition of his life-long work in defence of human rights and dignity.

In November 2008, Tutu was awarded the J. William Fulbright Prize for International Understanding.

On 8 May 2009, Tutu was the featured speaker during Michigan State University’s spring undergraduate convocation. During the commencement, an honorary doctor of humane letters degree was bestowed on Tutu. Two days later, he received an honorary doctor of divinity degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.[114] The two schools had coincidentally met in the previous month’s NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship, a detail not missed by Tutu.[115]

Tutu was awarded an honorary degree from Bangor University, Bangor, Wales, on 10 June 2009. During the ceremony, Tutu thanked the people of Wales for their role in helping end apartheid.

On 12 June 2009 the University of Vienna conferred the degree “Doctor Theologiae honoris causa” on Desmond Tutu. The Faculty of Protestant Theology and Senate based the decision on Tutu’s outstanding achievement in developing and establishing what can be called “ubuntu-theology”, his manifestation of what became known as “public theology”. By integrating the principles of the South African ubuntu philosophy with his theological thinking, he made a major contribution beyond classical Liberation Theology.

Southwark Cathedral named two new varieties of rose in honour of Desmond and Leah Tutu at the 2009 RHS Flower Show at Hampton Court Palace. To celebrate the event, the Southwark Cathedral Merbecke Choir gave a concert in the presence of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and his wife Leah at Southwark Cathedral on 11 July 2009.[116][117] The Archbishop joined the choir on stage for its encore – an arrangement of George Gershwin’s ‘Summertime’.

In 2009 he also received the Spiritual Leadership Award from the international Humanity’s Team movement[118][119] and the Presidential Medal of Freedom from U.S. President Barack Obama.[120]

Tutu was inducted into the Golden Key International Honour Society as an Honorary Member in 2001, by the University of Stellenbosch.[121]

The Archbishop was named an Honorary Chairman of Building Tomorrow‘s Board of Directors. Building Tomorrow engages young people in their mission to build schools for underserved children and communities in Uganda. Tutu has said, “I believe that education is the key to unlocking the door that will eradicate poverty and that young people have the power to make it happen.”

 World Justice Project

Desmond Tutu serves as an Honorary Co-Chair for the World Justice Project which works to lead a global, multidisciplinary effort to strengthen the Rule of Law for the development of communities of opportunity and equity



Posted March 9, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in Religious

An Irish Prayer for You   Leave a comment

Posted March 5, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in PHOTOS, Religious

Henry McNeal Turner, Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church   Leave a comment

Henry McNeal Turner (February 1, 1834–May 8, 1915) was a bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.[1]

Personal Biography

Turner was born “free” in Newberry Courthouse, South Carolina . Instead of being sold into slavery, his family sent him to live with a Quaker family. The law at the time of his birth prevented a black child from being taught to read or write. Assisted by some sympathetic whites and through observation at a law firm ,where he worked as a caretaker, he learned to read and write. He received his preacher’s license from the Methodist Church South in 1853. He traveled through the south for a few years as an evangelist. In 1856, Turner was married for the first time and would outlive 3 of his four wives. Turner had 14 children, four of which lived to adulthood. Henry was inspired by a Methodist revival and swore to become a pastor. In 1858 he transferred his membership to the African Methodist Church and studied the classics, Hebrew and divinity at Trinity College.[1] In 1880,[1] he became a bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

 Civil War

During the American Civil War he was appointed a Chaplain to one of the first Federal regiments of black troops (Company B of the First United States Colored Troops). Turner was the first of only 14 black Chaplains to be appointed during the Civil War. This appointment came directly from President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. He was also appointed by President Andrew Johnson to work with the Freedman’s Bureau in Georgia during Reconstruction.

During the Civil War

Political Influence

Following the Civil War he became steadily more disenchanted with the lack of progress in the status of the country’s African-Americans. During this time he moved to the state of Georgia. It was here that he became involved in Radical Republican politics. He helped found the Republican Party of Georgia. After attempts to overcome certain Supreme Court decisions, Turner became disgusted and ended his attempts to bring equality to the United States. Instead, Turner became a proponent of the “back to Africa” and “African American colonization” movements. He travelled to Africa and was struck by the differences in the attitude of Africans who had never known the degradation of slavery. He organized four annual conferences in Africa.[1]

Mr. Turner ran for political office but here, too, he faced racial barriers. He was, in fact, elected to the Georgia Legislature in 1868. However, the Democratic Party had control of the legislature at the time. The party then used their majority to prevent Henry M. Turner, as well as 26 other black legislators, from taking their seats during the opening session. After a protest from Washington, Turner and his fellow legislators were able to take their seats during the second session.

When, in 1883, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the Civil Rights Act of 1875, forbidding discrimination in hotels, trains, and other public places, was unconstitutional, Turner was incensed:

“The world has never witnessed such barbarous laws entailed upon a free people as have grown out of the decision of the United States Supreme Court, issued October 15, 1883. For that decision alone authorized and now sustains all the unjust discriminations, proscriptions and robberies perpetrated by public carriers upon millions of the nation’s most loyal defenders. It fathers all the ‘Jim-Crow cars’ into which colored people are huddled and compelled to pay as much as the whites, who are given the finest accommodations. It has made the ballot of the black man a parody, his citizenship a nullity and his freedom a burlesque. It has engendered the bitterest feeling between the whites and blacks, and resulted in the deaths of thousands, who would have been living and enjoying life today.”

 Preaching and Church Leadership

He wrote extensively about the war and about the condition of his parishioners. His reputation was besmirched by charges of promiscuity(by who?). He died while visiting Windsor, Ontario in 1915. He was highly regarded in the Afro-American and the Afro-Canadian community and a large number of churches are named in his honour. One church, Turner Chapel, is located in Oakville, Ontario. It was built by men and women who had fled the Fugitive slave laws of the United States. In 1890 they purchased land for $190.00 and built a small 1,000-square-foot (93 m2) church which was built in the style of the brick churches which existed in Oakville in that time. Much of Turner’s early theological questions pertained to race and God. He was known as a fiery orator and he scandalized many Americans when he preached that God was black.

Here are his words:

“We have as much right biblically and otherwise to believe that God is a Negroe, as you buckra or white people have to believe that God is a fine looking, symmetrical and ornamented white man. For the bulk of you and all the fool Negroes of the country believe that God is white-skinned, blue eyed, straight-haired, projected nosed, compressed lipped and finely robed white gentleman, sitting upon a throne somewhere in the heavens. Every race of people who have attempted to describe their God by words, or by paintings, or by carvings, or any other form or figure, have conveyed the idea that the God who made them and shaped their destinies was symbolized in themselves, and why should not the Negroe believe that he resembles God.”

Turner was the first AME Bishop to recognize the ordination of women to the order of Deacon. Turner would later not continue this practice because of controversy and threats. Bishop Turner left a widespread legacy which continues to grow. Turner supported prohibition and Women’s suffrage movements during and after the 1880’s.


Posted February 15, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in Religious

Henry Highland Garnett, Minister of Liberia   Leave a comment

Henry Highland Garnett, Minister of Liberia

Henry Highland Garnet (December 23, 1815 – February 13, 1882) was an African American abolitionist and orator. An advocate of militant abolitionism, Garnet was a prominent member of the abolition movement that led against moral suasion toward more political action. Renowned for his skills as a public speaker, he urged blacks to take action and claim their own destinies. When Garnet was ten years old, the family reunited and moved to New York City, where from 1826 through 1833, Garnet attended the African Free School, and the Phoenix High School for Colored Youth. While in school, Garnet began his career in abolitionism. With fellow schoolmates, he established the Garrison Literary and Benevolent Association. It garnered mass support among whites, but the club ultimately had to move due to racist feelings. Two years later, in 1835, he started to attend the Noyes Academy in Canaan, New Hampshire, where he met his wife, Julia Williams. Together, they had three children, only one of whom survived to adulthood. Due to his abolitionist activities, Henry Garnet was ultimately driven away from the Noyes Academy by an angry segregationist mob. He went on to further his education at the Oneida Theological Institute in Whitesboro, which had newly opened its doors to all races. Here, he was acclaimed for his wit, brilliance, and rhetorical skills. After graduation in 1839, the following year, he injured his knee playing sports. It never recovered, and his leg was amputated.

Garnet served as pastor of the Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC, from 1864-1866. The church is shown here as it was in about 1899.
The Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church today.In 1839, Garnet moved to Troy, New York where he taught school and studied theology. In 1842, Garnet became pastor of the Liberty Street Presbyterian church, a position he would hold for six years. During this time, he published papers that combined both religious and abolitionist themes. Closely identifying himself with the church, Garnet supported the temperance movement and became a strong advocate of political antislavery. He later joined the American Anti-Slavery Society and frequently spoke at abolitionist conferences. One of his most famous speeches, “Call to Rebellion,” was delivered August 1843 to the National Negro Convention in Buffalo, New York. The speech echoed his views that slaves should act for themselves to achieve total emancipation. Garnet promoted active rebellion, arguing that armed unrest would be the most effective way to end slavery. Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison, along with many other abolitionists, thought Garnet’s ideas were too radical. He supported the Liberty Party, a party of reform that was eventually absorbed into the Republican Party, whose views Garnet disagreed with.

 Anti-slavery roleBy 1849 Garnet began to support emigration of blacks to Mexico, Liberia, or the West Indies, where they would have more opportunities. In support of this, he founded the African Civilization Society. Mirroring the British African Aid society, it sought to establish a West African colony in Yoruba. He also advocated establishing separate sections of the United States as black colonies. In 1850, he went to Great Britain on request of the Free Labor Movement, an organization that opposed the use of products produced by slave labor. He was popular, and spent two and a half years lecturing. In 1852 Garnet was sent to Kingston, Jamaica, as a missionary. He spent three years there, until his health forced him back to the United States.

When the American Civil War erupted, his hopes for emigration dissolved. Instead, he turned his attention to the founding of black army units. In the New York draft riots of 1863, mobs were targeting blacks and black-owned buildings. Garnet was saved from death when his daughter quickly chopped their nameplate off their door before the mobs found them. When the authorization for black units came, Garnet helped with recruiting United States Colored Troops and then supported the black soldiers, preaching to many of them. Garnet served as the pastor of the Liberty (Fifteenth) Street Presbyterian Church from 1864 until 1866, and during this time he became the first black minister to preach to the House of Representatives, on 12 February 1865. He spoke about the end of slavery.

  Later life, death, and legacyAfter the war, Garnet was appointed president of Avery College in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1868. Later he returned to New York City as a pastor at the Shiloh Presbyterian Church. In 1879, Garnet married Sarah Smith Tompkins, who was a New York teacher and school principal, suffragist, and community organizer. [1] Garnet’s last wish was to go to Liberia, live even just for a few weeks, and die there. His wish was granted and he became U.S. Minister to Liberia in late 1881, but died two months later. Garnet was given a state funeral by the Liberian government and was buried at Palm Grove Cemetery in Monrovia.[2] Frederick Douglass, who had not been on speaking terms with Garnet for many years, still mourned Garnet’s passing. In 2002, scholar Molefi Kete Asante listed Henry Highland Garnet on his list of 100 Greatest African Americans.[3] Garnet also has a public elementary school named after him in Harlem, known as P.S. 175 or the Henry Highland Garnet School for Success, as well as the HHG Elementary School in Chestertown, MD. His painting can be found in the painting ‘Civil Rights Bill Passes, 1866’ – a mural in the Hall of Capitols, the Cox Corridors of the Capitol building in Washington DC. It was painted by Allyn Cox in 1952

Posted February 15, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in Civil Rights, Religious

Richard Allen, First Christian Church   Leave a comment

Richard Allen, Founder of the first African American Christian Church

Richard Allen (February 14, 1760 – March 26, 1831)[1] was a minister, educator and writer, and the founder in 1816 of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME), the first independent black denomination in the United States. He opened his first church in 1794 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was elected the first bishop of the AME Church. Allen had started as a Methodist preacher but, together with his supporters, wanted to establish a black congregation independent of white control. The AME church is the oldest denomination among independent African-American church.

[edit] Early life and freedomRichard Allen was born into slavery in 1760 on the Sturgis plantation in Delaware. He had a brother, and with him attended meetings of the local Methodist Society, which was welcoming to slaves and free blacks. Richard had taught himself to read and write. Converted early, he joined the Methodists at age 17. He began evangelizing and attending services so regularly that he attracted criticism from local slave owners. Allen and his brother redoubled their efforts for Sturgis in order to continue as exhorters for Methodism.

Reverend Freeborn Garrettson, who had freed his own slaves in 1775, began to preach in Delaware; he was among many Methodist and Baptist ministers after the American Revolutionary War who encouraged slaveholders to emancipate their people. When Garrettson visited the Sturgis plantation to preach, “Allen’s master was touched by this declaration… began to give consideration to the thought that holding slaves was sinful…” Sturgis soon was convinced that slavery was wrong, and offered his slaves an opportunity to buy their freedom. In 1780, Richard was able to get a slavery agreement from his master Stokeley.[2]

[edit] Marriage and familyAllen married Sarah, who was born into slavery in 1764 in Virginia’s Isle of Wight County. She had been brought to Philadelphia at age 18 and was free by 1800, when they met. They were married within a year. They had six children: Richard, Jr.; James, John, Peter, Sarah and Ann.[3]

In addition to the work of the family, Sara actively assisted Allen in the church and supported work to take care of runaway slaves, including feeding and clothing them. In 1827, seeing that the ministers coming to conference looked bedraggled, she organized Daughters of Conference as a women’s organization to assist the church with their skills. Initially they helped provide material support to the ministers, including mending their garments.[3] The women’s organization continued after her death, taking on more social welfare issues for church members and the community.

The church vestry voted to build a gallery for the segregated use of blacks. Allen also regularly preached on the commons near the church, slowly gaining a congregation of nearly 50, and supporting himself with a variety of odd jobs.

Allen and Absalom Jones, also a Methodist preacher, resented the white congregants’ segregating the blacks for worship and prayer. They decided to leave St. George’s to create independent worship for African Americans. This brought some opposition from the white church as well as the more established blacks of the community. In 1787, Allen and Jones led the black members out of St. George’s Methodist Church.

They formed the Free African Society (FAS), a non-denominational mutual aid society, which assisted fugitive slaves and new migrants to the city. Allen, along with Absalom Jones, William Gray and William Wilcher, found an available lot on Sixth Street near Lombard. Allen negotiated a price and purchased this lot in 178He opened his first church in 1794 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was elected the first bishop of the AME Church. Allen started as a Methodist preacher but, together with his supporters, wanted to establish a black congregation independent of white control. The AME church is the oldest denomination among independent African-American churches. He was born into slavery in 1760 on the Sturgis plantation in Delaware. He had a brother, and with him attended meetings of the local Methodist Society, which was welcoming to slaves and free blacks. Richard had taught himself to read and write. Converted early, he joined the Methodists at age 17. He began evangelizing and attending services so regularly that he attracted criticism from local slave owners. Allen and his brother redoubled their efforts for Sturgis in order to continue as exhorters for Methodism. Reverend Freeborn Garrettson, who had freed his own slaves in 1775, began to preach in Delaware; he was among many Methodist and Baptist ministers after the American Revolutionary War who encouraged slaveholders to emancipate their people. When Garrettson visited the Sturgis plantation to preach, “Allen’s master was touched by this declaration… began to give consideration to the thought that holding slaves was sinful…” Sturgis soon was convinced that slavery was wrong, and offered his slaves an opportunity to buy their freedom. In 1780, Richard was able to get a slavery agreement from his master Stokeley. Allen married Sarah who was born into slavery in 1764, in Virginia’s Isle of Wight County. Sarah had been brought to Philadelphia at age 18 and was free by 1800, when they met. They were married within a year. They had six children: Richard, Jr.; James, John, Peter, Sarah and Ann. In addition to the work of the family, Sara actively assisted Allen in the church and supported work to take care of runaway slaves, including feeding and clothing them. In 1827,.7 to build a church, but it was years before they had a building. Now occupied by Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, this is the oldest parcel of real estate in the United States owned continuously by African Americans. he d

Over time, most of the FAS members followed Absalom Jones to form a new congregation. Some had been members of the Episcopal Church in the South; he founded the African Church. It was accepted as a parish congregation in the Episcopal Church and opened its doors on July 17, 1794 as the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas. Many blacks had been familiar with the Episcopal denomination, which shared common roots with Methodism in the Church of England. In 1795, Absalom Jones was ordained as a deacon, and in 1804 as a priest, becoming the first black ordained in the United States as an Episcopal priest.

Allen and others wanted to continue in the Methodist practice. Allen called their congregation the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME). Using a converted blacksmith shop which they moved to the site on Sixth Street, the leaders opened the doors of Bethel AME Church on July 29, 1794. They were at first affiliated with the larger Methodist Episcopal Church. In the beginning, they had to rely on visiting white ministers. In 1799, Allen was ordained as the first black Methodist minister, by Bishop Francis Asbury, in recognition of his leadership and preaching. He and the congregation still had to continue to negotiate white oversight and deal with white elders of the denomination.

In 1816, Allen united four African-American congregations of the Methodist Church in Philadelphia, Salem, New Jersey; Delaware, and Maryland. Together they founded the independent denomination of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME), the first fully independent black denomination in the United States. On April 10, 1816, Allen was elected its first bishop. The African Methodist Episcopal Church is the oldest and largest formal institution in black America.

[edit] Underground RailroadFrom 1797 until his death in 1831, Allen and Sarah operated a station on the Underground Railroad for fugitive slaves. Mother Bethel Church continued such aid until the Emancipation. During and after the Civil War, the congregation also aided blacks migrating to Philadelphia to live from the rural South, helping them to learn its urban ways.

[edit] Colonization or emigrationAt first, Allen supported the idea of American free blacks emigrating to Africa; he also supported emigration to the new republic of Haiti, which achieved independence in 1804. Its government tried to recruit American blacks to immigrate there, as it needed people with skills and political experience to help build the new society. In the face of strong opposition by Philadelphia’s black community, Allen dropped ideas of emigration.[citation needed]

Most blacks disagreed with the white-led American Colonization Society that organized the emigration movement. They wanted rights in what they considered their own country; they were native born and many had generations of family in the United States.[citation needed] Allen, Jones, and James Forten, a successful businessman and sail maker, were acknowledged leaders of the free black community in Philadelphia.

[edit] Negro ConventionIn September 1830, black representatives from seven states convened in Philadelphia at the Bethlehem AME church for the first Negro Convention. A civic meeting, it was the first on such a scale organized by African-American leaders. Allen presided over the meeting, which addressed both regional and national topics. The convention occurred after the 1829 riots in Cincinnati, when whites had attacked blacks. After the rioting, 1200 blacks left the city to go to Canada.[4] As a result, the Negro Convention addressed organizing aid to such settlements in Canada, among other issues. The 1830 meeting was the beginning of an organizational effort known as the Negro Convention Movement, part of 19th-century institution building in the black community.[5]

[edit] Death He died at home on March 26, 1831.[6] His body was interred in a tomb at the lower level of the church.

Posted February 15, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in Religious, Uncategorized

Paul Cuffee, Founder of Free Country in Africa, Liberia   Leave a comment

Paul Cuffee, Founder of Free Country in Africa, Liberia

Paul Cuffee (January 17, 1759 – September 9, 1817) was a Quaker businessman, Sea Captain, patriot, and abolitionist. He was of Aquinnah Wampanoag and African Ashanti descent and helped colonize Sierra Leone. Cuffee built a lucrative shipping empire and established the first racially integrated school in Westport, Massachusetts.

A devout Christian, Cuffee often preached and spoke at the Sunday services at the multi-racial Society of Friends meeting house in Westport.[2] In 1813, he donated most of the money to build a new meeting house. He became involved in the British effort to resettle freed slaves, many of whom had moved from the US to Nova Scotia after the American Revolution, to the colony of Sierra Leone. Cuffee helped establish The Friendly Society of Sierra Leone which provided financial support for the colony

 Early lifePaul Cuffee was born on January 17, 1759 during the French and Indian War, on Cuttyhunk Island, Massachusetts. He was the youngest son of Kofi or Cuffee Slocum and Ruth Moses. Paul’s father, Kofi, was a member of the Ashanti ethnic group, probably from Ghana, Africa.[3] Kofi had been captured at age ten and brought as a slave to the British colony of Massachusetts. His owner, John Slocum, could not reconcile slave ownership with his Quaker values and gave Kofi his freedom in the mid-1740s. Kofi took the name Cuffee Slocum and, in 1746, he married Ruth Moses.[4] Ruth was a Native American and a member of the Wampanoag Nation on Martha’s Vinyard. Cuffee Slocum worked as a skilled carpenter, farmer and fisherman and taught himself to read and write. He worked diligently to earn enough money to buy a home and in 1766 bought a 116-acre (0.47 km2) farm in nearby Dartmouth, Massachusetts.[2] The couple would raise ten children together, of which Paul was the seventh in line.[5]

During Paul Cuffee’s infancy there was no Quaker meeting house on Cuttyhunk Island, so Kofi taught himself the Scriptures.[6] In 1766, when Paul was eight years old, the family moved to a farm in Dartmouth, Massachusetts. Cuffee Slocum died in 1772, when Paul was thirteen. As the two eldest brothers had families of their own elsewhere, Paul and his brother John took over their father’s farm operations and cared for their mother and three younger sisters. Around 1778 Paul persuaded his brothers and sisters to use their father’s English first name, Cuffee, as their family name, and all but the youngest did.[7] His mother, Ruth Moses, died on January 6, 1787.[8]

[edit] Paul Cuffee: MarineerAt the time of his father’s death, young Cuffee knew little more than the alphabet but dreamed of gaining an education and being involved in the shipping industry. The closest mainland port to Cuttyhunk was New Bedford, Massachusetts—the center of the American whaling industry. Cuffee used his limited free time to learn more about ships and sailing from sailors he encountered. Finally, at age 16, Paul Cuffee signed onto a whaling ship and, later on, cargo ships, where he learned navigation. In his journal, he now referred to himself as a marineer. In 1776 during the American Revolution he was captured and held prisoner by the British for 3 months in New York.[9]

After his release, Paul, who was still living with his siblings in Massachusetts, farmed and studied. In 1779, he and his brother David built a small boat to ply the nearby coast and islands.[10] Although his brother was afraid to sail in dangerous seas, Cuffee went out alone in 1779 to deliver cargo to Nantucket. He was waylaid by pirates on this and several subsequent voyages. Finally, he made yet another trip to Nantucket that turned a profit.[11]

At the age of twenty-one, Cuffee refused to pay taxes because free blacks did not have the right to vote. In 1780, he petitioned the council of Bristol County, Massachusetts to end such taxation without representation. The petition was denied, but his suit was one of the influences that led the Legislature in 1783 to grant voting rights to all free male citizens of the state.[12]

Cuffee finally made enough money to purchase another ship and hired crew. He gradually built up capital and expanded his ownership to a fleet of ships. After using open boats, he commissioned the 14 or 15 ton closed-deck boat Box Iron, then an 18-20 ton schooner. Cuffee married Alice Pequit on February 25, 1783. Like Cuffee’s mother, Pequit was also Wampanoag.[13] The couple settled in Westport, Massachusetts, where they raised their seven children: Naomi (born 1783), Mary (born 1785), Ruth (1788), Alice (1790), Paul Jr. (1792), Rhoda 1795), and William (1799).[13]

In the late 1780s Cuffee’s flagship was the 25-ton schooner Sun Fish, then the 40-ton schooner Mary. In 1795, the Mary and Sunfish were sold to finance the construction of the Ranger – a 69-ton schooner launched in 1796 from Cuffee’s shipyard in Westport.[14] By this time he could afford to buy a large homestead and in February 1799 he paid $3,500 for 140 acres (0.57 km2) of waterfront property in Westport.[15] By 1800 he had enough capital to purchase a half-interest in the 162-ton barque Hero. By the first years of the nineteenth century Paul Cuffee was one of the most wealthy – if not the most wealthy – African American and Native American in the United States.[16] His largest ship, the 268-ton Alpha, was built in 1806, along with his favorite ship of all, the 109-ton brig Traveller.[17]

[edit] First Venture into Sierra LeoneMost Englishmen and Anglo-Americans in his day felt that people of African descent were inferior to Europeans, even in the predominantly Calvinist and Quaker New England. Although slavery continued, prominent men like Presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Madison believed the emigration of Blacks to colonies outside the United States was the easiest and most realistic solution to the race problem in America.[18]

Attempts by Europeans and Americans to colonize Blacks in other parts of the world had failed, including the British attempt to colonize Sierra Leone. Beginning in 1787, the Sierra Leone Company sponsored 400 people who departed from Great Britain for Sierra Leone. The colony struggled to establish a working economy and develop a government that could survive against outside pressures. After the financial collapse of the Sierra Leone Company, a second group, the newly-created African Institution offered migration to freed slaves who had previously settled in Nova Scotia and London after the American Revolution. The African Institution’s London sponsors hoped to gain an economic return while foster the ‘civilizing’ trades of educated Blacks.[19]

Although colonizing Sierra Leone was difficult, Cuffee believed it was a viable option for Blacks and threw his support behind the movement. Paul Cuffee wrote,

“I have for these many years past felt a lively interest in their behalf, wishing that the inhabitants of the colony might become established in truth, and thereby be instrumental in its promotion amongst our African brethren.”

[citation needed]

From March 1807 on, Cuffee was encouraged by members of the African Institution in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and New York to be involved in helping out the fledgling efforts to improve Sierra Leone. Cuffee mulled over the logistics and chances of success for the movement before deciding in 1809 to join the project. On December 27, 1810 he left Philadelphia on his first expedition to Sierra Leone.[20]

Cuffee reached Freetown, Sierra Leone on March 1, 1811. He traveled the area investigating the social and economic conditions of the region. He met with some of the colony’s officials, who opposed Cuffee’s idea for colonization of Blacks from the United States for fear of competition from American merchants.[21] Furthermore, his attempts to sell goods yielded poor results because of tariff charges resulting from the British mercantile system. On Sunday, April 7, 1811 Cuffee met with the foremost black entrepreneurs of the colony. They penned a petition for the African Institution, stating that the colony’s greatest needs were for settlers to work in agriculture, merchanting and the whaling industry, that these three areas would best facilitate growth for the colony. Upon receiving this petition, the members of the Institution agreed with their findings.[22] Cuffee and the black entrepreneurs together founded the Friendly Society of Sierra Leone as a mutual-aid merchant group dedicated to furthering prosperity and industry among the free peoples in the colony and loosening the stranglehold that the English merchants held on trade.[23]

Cuffee sailed to Great Britain to secure further aid for the colony, arriving in Liverpool in July 1811. He met with the heads of the African Institution in London who raised some money for the Friendly Society and was granted governmental permission and license to continue his mission in Sierra Leone.[24] Encouraged by this support, Cuffee then left Liverpool and sailed back to Sierra Leone, where he and local merchants solidified the role of the Friendly Society and refined plans for the colony to grow by building a grist mill, saw mill, rice-processing factory and salt works.[25] cat

[edit] The Embargo, The President and The War of 1812Relations between the United States and Great Britain were strained and, by the end of 1811, the U.S. had established an embargo on British goods. When Cuffee reached Newport in April 1812 his ship the Traveller was seized by U.S. customs agents along with all its goods. Officials would not release his cargo, so Cuffee went to Washington, D.C. to appeal his case.[26] There he met with Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin and President James Madison. He was warmly welcomed into the White House by Madison. Madison later decided that Cuffee was not aware of and did not intentionally violate the national trading policy, and so ordered his cargo returned to him. Madison questioned Cuffee about his experience and about the conditions of Sierra Leone. He was eager to learn about Africa and interested in the possibility of expanding colonization. However, Madison eventually rejected Cuffee’s plans as he believed there would be too many problems in further U.S. attempts to colonize Sierra Leone as it was a British project. Despite this, Madison regarded Cuffee as the authority on Africa in the US.[27]

Cuffee intended to return to Great Britain’s colony of Sierra Leone regularly but the War of 1812, which broke out in June, preventing him from doing so. As a pacifist Quaker, he opposed the war on spiritual grounds, but also despaired of the interruption of trade and the corresponding halting of attempts to improve Sierra Leone.[28] The war between the U.S. and Britain continued, so Cuffee decided he would have to convince both countries to ease their restrictions on trading. He was unsuccessful and was forced to wait until the war ended.[29]

Meanwhile, he visited Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York, speaking to groups of free Blacks about the colony. Cuffee also urged Blacks to form organizations in these cities, to communicate with each other, and to correspond with the African Institution and with the Friendly Society at Sierra Leone. He printed a pamphlet about Sierra Leone to inform the general public of his ideas.[30] In the Summer of 1813 he contributed the most to the rebuilding of the Westport Friends’ Meeting House.[31]

Cuffee suffered several monetary losses because of some unprofitable ventures of his ships. The Hero was declared unseaworthy while in Chile and never returned, and his partner in the Alpha, John James of Philadelphia, ran that ship unprofitably.[32] Fortunately the war ended with the Treaty of Ghent at the end of 1814. After getting his finances in order, Paul prepared to return to Sierra Leone.

[edit] After the WarPaul Cuffee sailed out of Westport on December 10, 1815 with thirty-eight Black colonists (18 adults and 20 children[33] ranging in age from 8 months to sixty years[34]). The expedition cost Cuffee more than $4000. Passengers paying their own fares plus a donation by William Rotch of New Bedford, Massachusetts accounted for the remaining $1000 in expenses.[35] The colonists arrived in Sierra Leone on February 3, 1816 along with axes, hoes, a plow, wagon and parts to make a saw mill. Cuffee and his immigrants were not greeted as warmly as before. Governor MacCarthy was already having trouble keeping the general population in order and was not excited at the idea of more immigrants. In addition, the Militia Act, which had been imposed upon the colony, required all adult males to swear an oath of allegiance to the Crown. Many local people refused to do so for fear of being drafted into military service.[36] Although things did not go exactly as planned economically – his cargo sold at heavily undervalued prices[37] – the new colonists were finally all settled in Freetown. Cuffee believed that once continuous trade between America, Britain, and Africa commenced, the society would realize his predicted success.[38] For Cuffee, though, the expedition was costly. Each colonist needed their first year’s provisions, which he fronted for them. Governor MacCarthy was sure that the African Institution would reimburse Cuffee, but that and the heavy tariff duties left more than $8,000 of deficit for the captain.[39] The African Institution in England never contributed to the mission at all, and Cuffee had to deal with hard economic consequences.[40] Cuffee needed reliable backing before he could afford another such expedition.

[edit] Cuffee’s Later YearsOn his return to New York in 1816, Cuffee exhibited to the New York chapter of the African Institution the certificates of the landing of those colonists at Sierra Leone. “He has also received from Gov. M’Carthy a certificate of the steady and sober conduct of the settlers since their arrival, and an acknowledgment of $439.62, humanely advanced to them since they landed, to promote their comfort and advantage.”[41]

In 1816, Cuffee envisioned a mass emigration plan for African Americans, both to Sierra Leone and possibly to newly-freed Haiti.[42] Congress rejected his petition to fund a return to Sierra Leone. During this time period, many African Americans began to demonstrate interest in emigrating to Africa, and some people believed this was the best solution to problems of racial tensions in American society. Cuffee was persuaded by Reverends Samuel J. Mills and Robert Finley to help them with the African colonization plans of the American Colonization Society (ACS), but Cuffee was alarmed at the overt racism of many members of the ACS. ACS co-founders, particularly Henry Clay, advocated exporting freed Negroes as a way of ridding the South of potentially ‘troublesome’ agitators who might threaten the plantation system of slavery.[43] Other Americans also became active, but found there was more reason to encourage emigration to Haiti, where American immigrants were welcomed by the government of President Boyer.

In the beginning of 1817, Cuffee’s health deteriorated. He never returned to Africa. He died on September 7, 1817. His final words were “Let me pass quietly away.” Cuffee left an estate with an estimated value of almost $20,000.[44]

Posted February 15, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in Religious