Little is known about Reverend D. A. Graham, the A.M.E. minister who delivered the speech that appears below. However the minister"s words were recorded as part of a nationwide protest in 1899 against lynchings of African Americans across the nation. In May of 1899 the newly formed African American Council issued a proclamation calling upon black Americans to set apart Friday, June 2, "as a day of fasting and prayer." Special exercises were to be held in black churches across the nation the following Sunday, as a protest against lynching. On June 4, Reverend Graham delivered his sermon at Bethel A.M.E. Church in Indianapolis as part of the protest. The sermon, reprinted in the Indianapolis Recorder, a local African American newspaper, appears below.
The American Negro is afflicted, and the cause of his affliction is a most unreasonable and silly prejudice in the white Americans. If the hatred were reversed it would seem more reasonable, since the Caucasian has suffered nothing from the Negro, while the latter has suffered everything at the hands of the Caucasian.
While this prejudice is greatest in the South, it also manifests itself greatly to the affliction of the colored man in the North. When he wants to buy property or rent a house he is often turned away because of his color. When he seeks employment where help is advertised for, he is told that "Negroes need not apply." Our girls cannot get employment in shops, stores or factories, no matter how well educated, refined and good looking. Naturally, this causes many to fall into evil ways and makes dishonest men of youth who with a man"s chance would have become honorable and industrious citizens.
When we cross Mason and Dixon"s line the evil shows itself at every turn. Separate waiting rooms, separate ticket windows, separate cars, nothing to eat at any lunch counter. Refused admission to churches, cemeteries and even parks. Parks and cemeteries are placarded "Negroes and dogs not admitted." The effect of such proscription is most baneful as well