Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Rev. Alexander Crummell, 1819-1898: "A Man of Suffering..."

"...In his famous book The Souls of Black Folk, W.E. Dubois wrote of Crummell in eulogy: “I can see his face still,dark and heavy-lined beneath his snowy hair; lighting and shading, now with inspiration for the future, now in innocent pain at some human wickedness, now with sorrow at some hard memory from the past. 'The more I met Alexander Crummell, the more I felt how much the world was losing which knew so little of him. He did his work—he did it nobly and well; and yet I sorrow that here he worked alone, with so little human sympathy. His name today, in this broad land, means little, and comes to fifty million ears laden with no incense of memory or emulation…

'He sat one morning gazing toward the sea. He smiled and said, ‘The gate is rusty on the hinges.’ That night at star-rise a wind came moaning out of the west to blow that gate ajar, and then the soul I loved fled like a flame across the Seas, and in its seat sat Death.

'I wonder where he is today? I wonder if in that dim world beyond, as he came gliding in, there rose on some wan throne a King—a dark and pierced Jew, who knows the writhings of the earthly damned, saying, as he laid those heart-wrung talents down, ‘Well done!’ while round about the morning stars sat singing.'”
(From Stars In a Dark World, Fr. John Julian, OJN)

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