Light in the Dark Belt. The Story of Rosa Young as Told by Herself.
“The enemy cast stones upon me in public places and on the trains”
First edition of this autobiography of this Alabamian and influential Southern educator and “planter” considered the “Mother of Black Lutheranism in Central Alabama.” Young is noted for her advocacy for education poor children in the rural South.
Deeply personal and spiritual, Young documents her struggles as an educator and theologian working in the South, and of the relentless persecution she faced:
One preacher announced that he would be a wasp in my garment as long as I lived; but the poor man is dead now. They held meetings and councils one after another against me. They never held a service or an annual meeting but what there was something mean said about me. The enemy hung out my name at evil’s door. Preachers stood up and proclaimed from their pulpits, “Rosa Young is a devil.” Others proclaimed, “Rosa Young hath a devil.” “Rosa Young is a Jezebel, an antichrist, a false prophet.” “Rosa Young is a Democrat; she is working for the white people. She is an old white-man woman; she is not fit to lead you all. She is not fit to teach your children.” All this slander hurt my feelings and sank into my heart like so many arrows.
The enemy cast stones upon me in public places and on the trains. From polished preachers and professors down to rude stable boys, people heaped slander upon me and my work. Whenever I succeeded in getting up a class for confirmation or baptism, the enemies would unite their powers to break it up. They would go around and stir up the poor, ignorant people by telling them that the Lutheran Church was going to put them all back under slavery if they sent their children to our schools. They said that after a certain length of time the Lutherans were going to send a black train through and take all the children away into some far country and reduce them to slavery. These reports would cause great excitement.
The enemies would go about and say that the Lutheran Church would cut off the children’s ears, brand an L on them with a red-hot iron as a mark of their denomination. Numbers of the poor, ignorant people believed this. The dreamers went out and reported that they had been to hell and had seen Rosa Young there yoked down with all the people who had followed her into the Lutheran Church; that Rosa Young was tearing up the churches; that she was leading the people to hell for money; that she ought to be Ku-Kluxed, skinned alive, burned at the stake. What could I say or do to all this but remain silent? It went on until it finally shocked my nerves. (pp118–119
The author’s first and only book. Rosa Young was the first woman and African-American to be given an honorary doctorate by the Lutheran Church.The text is well-illustrated with Young’s portrait and images of Black churches and rural schools, primarily in Alabama.
Description: Light in the Dark Belt. The Story of Rosa Young as Told by Herself.
St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1929.148pp. Publisher’s cloth; without dust jacket. Half tone illustrations from photographs. Slight abrasion to front free endpaper abrasion; about 7 leaves with very small stains at edges of top margins; very good.