God is a Negro

“I am here to demand my rights and to hurl thunderbolts at the man who would dare to cross the threshold of my manhood…..”


This African American clergyman is remembered mostly as one of the first Bishops in the African American Episcopal Church, yet his occupations were many. He was an army chaplain, political organizer, magazine editor, college chancellor and preacher.

From his youth he was active in Georgia politics. During reconstruction he worked with Georgia politicians with hopes to make life for 19th century Georgia a better place for blacks. During his political career this African American introduced bills for higher education for blacks and for the creation of a Black militia to protect black people form the Klu Klux Klan. He also introduced a bill to give women the right to vote.

He later became frustrated with the treatment that Black people received in the south and vigorously encouraged black people to return to Africa. He had the support of thousands of black peasants and sharecroppers in the south.

This outstanding gentleman was a theologian and the thinking of the Black church was a major concern to him. Much of his time was spent trying to explain the relationship between God, history and the struggle of black people in America.

He would declare that, “God is a Negro.” He told black people to reject everything that the white church said about the inferiority of blacks. Turner believed that the role of the black church was to develop racial pride and consciousness among the millions of blacks that had been beaten down by centuries of slavery and oppression.

He played a major role in the introduction of the African Methodist Episcopal Church into South Africa.

Q: Who was he?

Henry McNeal Turner, 1834-1915
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