A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Friday, April 1, 2011

History: AME Zion in Keyport, Henry Terhune in Jamaica

110 years ago this week, the 28 March 1901 edition of The Matawan Journal directed some harsh light on the colored Methodists of Keyport. The paper suggested that the church planned to name its new church building in honor of President William McKinley, but only in the hope that the President would give them a donation. The paper concluded that it might not be a bad thing for these parishioners to take McKinley's name, especially if they strove to be as good as the man himself. Note that McKinley was assassinated six months later.

The same edition of The Journal had what purported to be a travel piece on Jamaica, but with a surprisingly racist subtext. The article is introduced as having been written by a fellow townsman and is signed HST, presumably the initials of Henry S Terhune, prominent judge, lawyer, and NJ state senator. In a discussion of Jamaica's population, the author contrasted whites (Only about 1 percent of white Jamaicans are pure white and none of them can do hard labor in the hot sun) and negroes (They can work really hard in the hot sun because they suffer no climatic disadvantage, but only if they have the proper disposition. They don't unite in marriage and so 75% of births are illegitimate.) with the coolies (an industrious people, their aim being to advance in the world and accumulate wealth, the very reverse of the native negro.)


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