“Vacation days are here!,” Ebenezer wrote in his New York Age column published in July 20, 1935. “A human current moves toward parks, playgrounds, camps, beaches and other vacation and summer resorts. The dust has been blown from the old lunch kit; the abbreviated bathing suit has been removed from the moth balls; the house holds but little charm; the typewriter, well we’d better skip it!” Zuri and I arrived in Barbados yesterday on a flight filled mostly with folks headed “home” for the holidays. I envied them. My seat mate on the JFK to Bridgetown was headed to St. Philip to spend six weeks with her daughter. Of course, I could not let an opportunity pass without asking if she knew any Wrays, Rays or Alkins. She didn’t. We will head to the archives today. But first, the beach . . .
Georgia and Alabama’s “cancer” seems to be spreading its tendrils in Brooklyn. The sooner its growth is checked the better for all concerned – Negroes especially.
Construction of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, located at 112th St. and Amsterdam Ave. and dubbed a house of worship “for all people,” began on Dec. 27, 1892, when the first cornerstone was laid. But it took decades for the church to be completed. My father published this column Feb. 23, 1935, and it would be more than six years before the opening of the full length of the Cathedral. (The opening celebration took place Nov. 30, 1941, and a week later the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Construction was halted during World War II and did not resume until the 1970s.)
The grand design inspired this response to those who warned that the Apocalypse was imminent:
“I am far more interested in the present rise in food prices, the prolonged depression, and the likely invasion of Abyssinia by the Italians than in any tornado of fire sweeping these hemispheres and leaving their inhabitants in ashes. Yet there remain a few devout persons who occasionally try to scare my reluctant soul into submission with this bogey, which, they say, will be followed by that great Judgment Day when I will have to account for even taking a lump of sugar when Mother wasn’t looking. When they come around again I will tell them that while they in their puny knowledge look for world destruction, learned theologians are erecting structures of granite to stand forever.”
“The Episcopal Church might find an antidote for its racial ills by first cleaning house, and then by directing its evangelistic and missionary activities toward those barbarians in the South who ruthlessly violate the constitutional rights of Negroes, denying them fair and impartial trials when accused of offences they seldom commit. Toward this appalling condition, the Episcopal Church has been noticeably apathetic,” Ebenezer writes.
Here is a link to information on Rev. Alexander McGuire, who founded the African Orthodox Church in response to racism in the Episcopal Church.