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September 1934 - September 1936

In September of 1934 I accepted the invitation to become minister of the Mt. Carmel Baptist Church in Gadsden, Alabama, sixty miles north northeast of Birmingham.  The church was located in the northwest corner of Gadsden, backed up against the southern end of Lookout Mountain.  From the highway up the mountain to Noccolula Falls, by looking downward, at an angle of seventy-five degrees, you could see the roof of the church far below.  By bus, train, or car-pool, I made the one hundred and ten mile round trip to Gadsden every weekend.

Mt. Carmel was one of the churches where I conducted a Sunday School Enlargement Campaign during my high school years.  The church was small and most of the people did not have full employment during the depression years.  Part of what the church community paid me was through gifts from individuals, gifts of items of clothing mostly.  This kind of pay can be very embarrassing to the payee.  Also, my experiences suggest that it is too much to expect children to understand why Santa Claus, for example, gives the minister so many presents.

Like most churches we had a Christmas program, with a tree and Santa Claus to hand out presents.  Parents, friends and the Christmas committee made sure there would be at least one present for every person present.  A week or so after one of those Christmas programs I stayed with a family who had twin girls of pre-school age.  The mother told me how the twins and some of their friends played the Santa Claus game the week after Christmas.  Santa would pickup a make-believe present, call the name of one of the children in the group, who would walk up and take the present.  Santa Claus would call out Mr. Isom, and the child playing Mr. Isom's part would walk up and take the present.  This process went on until everyone got a least one present, every other present being for Mr. Isom.

I spent two summers in the church community.  When I left at the end of the first summer to return to college there was a big back to school party for me.  Everyone who came brought a present.   At the end of the second summer I was leaving for good to go to the Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky and there was another one of those gift parties.

From the time I became the minister of the Mt. Carmel Church I did not need to buy such items of clothing as shirts, ties, socks, belts, shorts, undershirts and handkerchiefs, until after Elien and I were married, more than five years later.  In fact I haven't bought such items since we married.  Elien always buys them before I think I need them.  During the school months I usually went to Gadsden on Saturday afternoon and returned to Birmingham after church Sunday night.  During those months I had little time to do more than conduct the Sunday church services.  I would try, during Sunday afternoons to see the sick and shut-ins.  But living in the community during the summer months, I walked through some part of the church community most of the days of the week.  Since ninety-nine percent of the members lived within five blocks of the church I could cover the whole community every week, stopping to talk to those I might see or meet.  Before long everyone living in the community knew who I was.

One day I passed a home where family and friends were eating watermelons on the front lawn.  I was invited to join them.  After we had our fill of watermelons and I made ready to leave, the mother said, "I would like to hear you pray before you go." Note she said nothing about a problem or concern of hers about which she wanted me to pray.  She just wanted "to hear me pray."  I said a few words in the form of a prayer and went on my way, thinking how empty and down right silly such praying is.

I knew a minister, some years ago, who was on the program to lead the prayer at some ceremonial function - such as installing a new minister.  After the service someone said to him, "I enjoyed your prayer."

"O," said the minister, "I get a big bang out of praying."

I confess that trying to pray was never even a "little" bang for me.  I wanted to believe that praying was a serious business and was meant to be more than saying interesting or entertaining words to be heard.  As this story of mine unfolds I shall have more to say about prayer.  It was a religious practice, the value of which, I have to confess, I was never so certain as many people seem to be.

One summer a small one-horse evangelist pitched his tent on a vacant lot in the community.   For two or three weeks he entertained the people with a poor imitation of a Billy Sunday revival.  I went to watch his show a few times.  Once he was jumping around on the platform, repeating the usual things you usually hear at such tent meetings.   All of a sudden he stopped as though he had forgotten his next line.  Then he jumped as high as he could, clicked his heels together and shouted:  "Glory to God!  I feel like I could take a cat under each arm, climb a thorn bush thirty-feet high without getting a scratch.  Glory hallelujah! A-men!"  All this he said almost by the time his feet got back to the floor.  I have to confess - I've never ever felt that good.

Mr. and Mrs. Cox and their two children, Sidney who was about my age, and Ester Jo, about twenty, lived just east of the church.  Mrs. Cox seldom missed a church service.  Mr. Cox and Sidney rarely came and Ester Jo came less than half the time.  All of them, however, accepted me as if I were a member of the family.  At least they made me think so.  Their home was my Gadsden home.  Mrs. Cox could not have been more caring and helpful to me if I had been Sidney's twin brother.

Mr. and Mrs. Eliott, unmarried daughter and two grown granddaughters lived just west of the church. One of their daughters, husband and three grown daughters lived a block south of the church.  Another daughter, husband and small children also lived in the community.   Mr. and Mrs. Eliott were seventy-five or more.  All of these children, in-laws, and grandchildren were members of the church and were involved in all its activities.  Mrs. Eliott came often to the service.  The only ones of the Eliott clan who never came to church were Mr. Eliott and the unmarried daughter.  He told me he was a Methodist.  Shortly after I became the minister of the church Mrs. Eliott invited me for dinner at her home on a Sunday afternoon.  Mr. Eliott was nice enough to me and played his part in the chitchat at the table and the after dinner conversations.

As the months passed Mrs. Eliott began to treat me as though I was one of her grandchildren.  During the first six months I had dinner with the Eliotts four or five times and turned down as many more.  The last time I was in the home I detected no difference in Mr. Eliott's acceptance of me.   Then all invitations to the Eliott's home stopped.  In due time a member of the Eliott clan told me why.   I was told that for some unknown reason Mr. Eliott did not like me and did not want me invited to the home again.  The informer said members of the family thought the real reason was senility.  A few months later my informer told me that the problem with Mr. Eliott was that he believed I was having an affair with his wife.  She was more than fifty years older than I.  This accusation greatly increased the family's fear that the old man was really losing his marbles.  No one in the family could dislodge the notion from Mr. Eliott's mind.  It continued to nurture his hatred of me.  Mr. Eliott's disposition did not mar the relationship between me and the rest of the Eliott clan, however.   If anything it increased their loyalty to me and to the church.
Sometime after learning the cause of Mr. Eliott's hatred of me I met him on the sidewalk.

"Good morning Mr. Eliott," I said.

He walked on in silence until there were some ten steps between us.  He then half turned and said:

"I don't want you to speak to me again!"

I turned just in time to see his eyes.  His stare was one of real hatred.  He turned and walked on before I had time to make any response.  Yet, I don't know what I would have said had he given me time to speak.

As far as I know Mr. Eliott was the only person who made me feel he really hated me.  However unreal the cause of his hatred, and forgivable because of senility, it was still a shocking experience.  Before such hatred you feel helpless to do anything about it.  For whatever reason such hatred is a horrifying ordeal for all concerned.

Sometime during the winter of 1935 - 1936 Uncle Jack, the alcoholic, showed up in the congregation one Sunday morning.  He informed me he and his wife were moving to Gadsden.  He wanted to know if I knew of a house to rent.   Mr. Clayton, a member of the church, had a two-bedroom house for rent just across the street from the church.  Uncle Jack rented it for $15.00 a month.  They did move to Gadsden.  Later it was his wife who told me the real reason for the move.  His drinking and irresponsible behavior had become so bad my Aunt was making arrangements to have him committed to a veteran's hospital.  He became suspicious and ran away.

They were living in southern Mississippi at the time.  His wife told me later that after he rented the house in Gadsden, he called and told her the house was just across the street from my church and that I would be staying with them over the weekends.  He persuaded her to hope that his respect for me and the influence of the church would help him sober up and fly right, if she would come to Gadsden and not have him committed.  She sold all their worldly goods, except what she could bring in suitcases, and came to Gadsden.

For a few months my Uncle did sober up.  He came to church every Sunday.  He insisted that when school was out I must live with them during the summer.  But the poor fellow could not make it through the summer.  By July he was falling apart and becoming irresponsible.  My Aunt had no choice but to begin the secret process of getting him committed to a veteran's hospital.  She told me he would never go voluntarily.  Even to suggest that he do so was enough to make him think you were planning to have him committed.

I was in on the secret planning this time.  The paper work and plans as to when and where to pick him up were accomplished without him getting suspicious enough to run away.  Early on the agreed date two deputized men knocked on the door and told my Uncle why there were there.  Without a word of protest he took the suitcase his wife had already secretly packed and left with the men.  This sad event happened just a few days before I was to leave for the Seminary.  Immediately my Aunt began the process of selling everything except what she could take in suitcases, so she could move near the hospital.  She had been through this so many times before she seemingly knew just what to do.

On the day before I was to leave for the Seminary Mr. Eliott died.  Early that evening I went over to express my sympathy and to say good-bye to the members of the family who would be there.  I stood at the edge of the porch and suggested that I should not go in, out of respect for Mr. Eliott's feelings.  There I said good-bye to some dear friends under very sad circumstances.  Silently I said, with sad relief, goodbye to the only person, to my knowledge, who ever really hated me.

I went back across the street to my Aunt's house and finished packing.  I was leaving early the next morning.  I had hardly finished when a motorcycle stopped in front of the house.  A young couple unloaded themselves.  They wanted to get married.  My book of such things as wedding ceremonies had already been packed.  I properly filled out the papers and by memory had them repeat their vows.  I then tried to sell them a bed my Aunt had to dispose of.  I failed to make the sale.

As soon as the door closed behind them my Aunt exploded in a fit of laughter.  It was some time before she could get control of herself enough to tell me what was so funny.  I began to fear she would pass out.  It was only after a number of efforts before she could control her laughter enough to tell me what the laughter was all about.  What struck her to be so funny was that immediately after the wedding I tried to sell the couple a bed.  She had many more hearty laughs before the evening was over and the next morning before I left.  Since the dear soul had so little to laugh about I was  glad that I was leaving her something she could giggle about in her lonely and always uncertain days and years ahead.

Shortly after I took the job as minister of the Mt. Carmel Church I discovered I could waste half or more of each week trying to decide what to preach about.  I had two sermons to prepare each week plus all my schoolwork.  My guess is I divided my time about evenly between sermonizing and schoolwork.  Looking back I now think I developed more good study habits and mental skills in preparing and delivering my sermons than I did in preparing for and attending my college classes.   I soon realized I had to find a way to choose, a full week ahead, what my sermon topic would be.  Some part of that something we call the mind was assigned to be always on the lookout for sermon topics.  Regardless of where I was or what I was doing one of the many eyes of my mind observed everything that passed within its vision, looking for possible sermon topics.  By the middle of the week I would have a list of possibilities, from which two were chosen for the sermon subjects for the Sunday after next.  Another eye of my mind kept a conscious lookout for Scripture and other materials that might be useful for the subjects chosen.  Many of the sermon topics were discovered in Scripture verses.

All this mind activity was just a side show, going on at the same time the rest of the mind was in the big tent trying to prepare the sermons for the coming Sunday and to do all the work the professors required of me, some of whom acted as though students had nothing else to do but to do their assigned work.  I was always able to announce, a week in advance, what the sermon subjects would be.  I also knew what Scripture would be read in the services.  By announcing the subjects in advance I discovered it helped me to resist the temptation to change subjects in mid-stream.

I am writing this from memory.  I think it was while at Mt. Carmel I first used another method of finding a subject for the Sunday evening service.   I chose a book of the bible and found my subject in the first chapter of the book and from the second chapter the next Sunday and so on until the book was finished.  Then I would pick another book and repeat the process.  In this way I knew well in advance where to look for my subject and the Scripture to be used.  This also encouraged me to read carefully each chapter many times.  It was amazing what I could find in or read into the Scripture.

In the mid thirties you could buy for ten cents a hardback book 8" X 5" X 1" - with only blank pages.  I used these to record my sermon notes.  Back in those days I never tried to write my sermons.  I did make a good outline of the three or four basic ideas I wanted to share with the congregation and under each major point I used a title, work, phrase, name, poem, story, experience or whatever to be used to try to make clear that part of the sermon.  I would then go over and over the outline, with and without the notebook before me, until I was confident that I could recall, at the proper time, everything I wanted to use in the sermon.  I took the book with me and laid it on the pulpit closed and gave my sermon without looking at a note.  That will be hard for anyone to believe, who only heard me after I got out of the seminary.  Why?  Because it was then I started writing my sermons, and reading them as written.  I made up my mind I wanted to hold the peoples attention by what I said, not how I said it.
There were a number of reasons why I began writing and reading my sermons.  I may later record them in this tale, but you must be bored by now with all this talk about my sermonizing.  I do want to report that I rarely forgot to use anything I had in my closed notebook.

I still remember two of those sermons.  One was given on Mother's Day.  The title of the sermon was HOME.  I found the major ideas for the sermon by looking up the Scripture verses in which the word home appears.  I used new models of that sermon in the Army and in every church where I have been the minister.  The other sermon I still remember was given the title "Practicing What We Sing."  I picked three familiar hymns that expressed some ideas I wanted to encourage the congregation to think about.  We first sung a hymn, then while the pianist played the hymn softly I would take one or two ideas expressed in the hymn and tried to lead the congregation to imagine the difference it would make in our lives and in the life of our world if we actually practiced those ideas "down on the city streets where cross the crowded ways of life."  We repeated the process with the other two songs.  A number of people told me they thought it was a helpful service.  I also thought it was a worthwhile effort.  However, I don't remember ever trying it again.  Why?  I don't know.


With one or two exceptions I thought my professors were capable teachers, who knew their subjects and spoon-fed their knowledge to us up to the limit of each student's ability to receive and digest it.  I do not blame my professors altogether for the state of my ignorance on the day I graduated.  I had a degree from college and was still too ignorant to know I was ignorant.  My failure to benefit as much as I might have from the educational opportunities to which I was exposed at Howard College was due, in part, to the fact that I was born and reared in an educationally deprived environment, which retarded my educational growth.  Also, my church work and scrounging to stay alive took a large hunk of my time.  I just did not have the time to take full advantage of all the educational opportunities the college and the city of Birmingham placed within my reach.  However, judging from a hindsight of fifty years, I have to describe the education I received at Howard College as a hothouse education.  It was taught, received and digested in a political, economic, philosophical and social vacuum.  My college education did little to diminish my ignorance of the political, economic, social and philosophical realities of the real world.  Concerning such realities I was, when I left college in 1936, nearly as ignorant as I was the day I walked onto the campus in 1932.  To the extent such ignorance may have been abated, by 1936, ninety-nine percent of the enlightenment that made the abatement possible came from the outside, not the inside, of my college class rooms.  For this aspect of my ignorance, in 1936, I partly blame my college professors.

Mr. college years - 1932-1936 - were during the worst years of a world depression, which was the aftermath of an economic system that had fallen flat on its face.   Yet, depending only on the enlightenment I received from my college professors, I would have left college in 1936 as ignorant of that horrible reality as I was in 1932.  Not one of my professors assigned any reading that might have helped me to understand some of the underlying causes for the collapse of the economy of the human world or any reading that might have suggested a better alternative solution to the problem than that of destroying the abundance of oranges, potatoes, pigs, grains and other goodies while millions of people were standing in bread lines, clothed in rags.  Not one professor discussed in class or recommended as much as one book that might have helped me to think and act more intelligently about the economic depression.  Mr. Hendricks, professor of sociology, did once use a current event as an excuse to describe the plight of the poor and to tell the story of one man's attempt to do something to halt the plight of poverty in the land.  The occasion was the death of Huey Long.  The professor spent the whole hour talking about the economic conditions and political corruption that made possible, by promising to do something about the situation, Huey Long's reign with almost the power of a dictator.  He told what Huey Long did and dreamed of doing with the power he exercised to make use of  the wealth of Louisiana for the benefit of all the people - the public buildings, schools, roads, bridges, and the free hospital he dreamed of building for all the people.  The professor did not condone some of Long's methods, but he did give him credit for the good he did and dreamed of doing.

There was one other occasion when the professors and students were pulled out of their hothouse environment and were, for a few minutes, challenged to face and reflect on the realities of the real world.  The occasion was when Norman Thomas, a socialist and a perpetual presidential candidate back in those days, was the guest speaker at the chapel service.  There was a daily chapel service at Howard College.  Attendance may not have been mandatory.  However, most students had reason to believe it might not hurt their standing in the college community, if not their grades, to be seen often at the chapel service.  It was not uncommon for the college to invite a prominent person, who might be in Birmingham, to speak.  How Norman Thomas managed to get invited I never knew.

Without mincing words, in thirty minutes, he gave a thumbnail outline of his socialistic analysis and solution for the political and economic problems of the human world.  The students listened to him with a "greedy ear."  Then gave him a standing ovation when he finished.  When Dean Burns finally managed to get the students quiet and back in their seats Mr. Thomas asked the Dean to give the students the rest of the day off to think about and discuss what he had said.  The Dean politely refused and then dismissed the students and professors to go back to their classes.  He stuck out his hand to shake hands with Thomas who playfully put his hands behind him and refused to shake hands.

Professor Hendricks' Huey Long lecture and Norman Thomas' address are the only two occasions I remember the real world being allowed to disturb the tranquility of the academic process of education at Howard College during the four years I was there as a student.

The human world, by 1935, had already slid more than halfway down the mountain of political turmoil toward the horrible valley of World War Two.  I learned nothing from my professors that increased my knowledge and understanding of the historical facts that pushed humanity off the pinnacle of the hope for a warless world, and made the terrible descent toward another war inevitable.  The enlightenment I received from my professors left me to pursue my education in ignorance of such facts of reality - facts about which college professors might be expected to know more than an ignorant country boy like myself.  If that was true of the professors, in whose classes I sat, I have to assume they did not judge such knowledge to be important to my generation, since they made no attempt to share it with their students.

Then there was (and still is) the cancer of race prejudice, condoning and abetting hideous crimes against Black people, Jews and other identifiable groups.  In many states of this country, (Alabama being one of them), Black people, in the thirties could be robbed, tortured and murdered by whites and, in may cases, no one would ever be arrested much less convicted.  Seldom, it ever, would anyone be tried and sent to prison for crimes against Black people.  In Birmingham most Blacks were condemned to live in conditions that were worse than out right slavery would have been but I learned much more about the plight of Black people on my paper route than I did in my college classrooms.   On the part of my professors there was complete silence on the dehumanizing subject of race prejudice.  Had I been dependent all together on the knowledge I learned in my college classes, I would have, after four years, received my degree and gone my way without ever knowing race prejudice was a reality in the human world.  Not one of my professors made any attempt to confront students with this cancer of the human mind and soul, and challenge them to free themselves and human society from its domination and to purge human society of its vicious and deadly crimes.  I have for many years had to believe the silence of my college professors on the subject of race prejudice was unforgivable.

Slowly, over a number of years, after my college days, I discovered there were knowledgeable and good persons, as early as 1900, who were publishing evidence that the cause for the decay of civilization - wars, poverty of the masses, and crimes of race prejudice as being evidence of such decay - were to be found in the unexamined assumptions of our religions and philosophies which were no longer believable enough to give us the hope and confidence to believe the human world, of which our hearts dream was possible.

Albert Schweitzer, for example, was one of the persons who, during the early decades of the twentieth century, examined our basic religious and philosophical assumptions, or beliefs, and found them wanting.  Then he challenged the world with some guidelines for thinking that he believed would lead to a world and life view that would be universally believable enough to make compelling the kind of human love needed to motivate humankind to cooperate with one another in ways that would make for peace, plenty and equal freedom for all.

This is not the place, in this tale of mine, to describe the role Albert Schweitzer's life and thoughts have played in the last half of my life.  However, something about the man and his work must be related here, in that I believe my College cheated me and my classmates of an important educational experience by its failure to introduce us to Schweitzer's life and works.

Albert Schweitzer was the son of a Lutheran minister.  He was a minister himself until he decided to become a medical missionary in Africa.  He was a devout Christian.  It was while in the seminary that he began his massive study of the life of Jesus, and his long search for the historic Jesus.  When he began that search for the real historic Jesus he wanted to believe that the historic Jesus would be like unto the Jesus traditional religions made him out to be.  As you read his Quest for the Historic Jesus you can sense the agony Schweitzer experiences each time he has to bow to the truth, as defined by the facts of reality, and erase some cherished belief about Jesus.  In the end, sadly and with a great sense of loss, Schweitzer bows to the truth he has found - that the Jesus, as described by the traditional Christian beliefs, never existed.  Yet, the truth he found about the historic Jesus did affirm and verify the eternal value of the Christian story - the ethics of human love that the historic Jesus practiced and challenged his disciples to go and do likewise.  The ethics of human love as taught by the historic Jesus is summed up in these two well-known verses of Scripture:

"Love your neighbor as you do yourself."

"Treat other people as you want other people to treat you."

Follow, Schweitzer contended, the dictates of such love for others and you will discover who Jesus is.  Schweitzer's Quest for the Historic Jesus   was first published in English in 1910. His Philosophy of Civilization was first translated into English as early as 1923.  That book is a report of Schweitzer's findings from his long and comprehensive search for the ethical content of philosophical thought through the ages, and his examination and evaluation of the basic assumptions of the ethics advanced by each philosopher whose works he studied.  In the last third of the book Schweitzer presents his own basic assumptions for an ethical world and life view that he believes can make believable and compelling the ethics of human love as that love has been described in the scriptures of the major religions of the human race; the love widely known as the Golden Rule.

Here is how the love of the Golden Rule is expressed in the scriptures of the following religions:

Hinduism - the major religion of India.  "Good people proceed  while considering that what is best for others is best for themselves."

Judaism - "And thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."

Zoroastrianism - This religion arose from the teachings of Zarathustra, who lived from about 660 B.C. to 583 B.C.  Today the followers of this religion do not live in Persia, where it was founded, but in India, where they are known as Parsees.  "Whatever is disagreeable to yourself do not do unto others."

Christianity - "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them."

Buddhism  - "Hurt not others with that which pains yourself."

Confucianism - "What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others."

Islamism - "No one of you is a believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself."

In his Philosophy of Civilization, within the limits of what humankind now knows and does not know about life and the universe, Schweitzer advances the basic assumptions for a world-and-life view - that is, for a universal religion, or philosophy - that rationally affirms human love as described by the Golden Rule.  It is for that reason that I say my generation, as well as the preceding generation, were cheated by the schools and churches of the world by their failure to introduce their youth to the life and thoughts of Albert Schweitzer.


According to the Year Book of 1935-1936 there were eighty ministerial students enrolled at Howard College.  Our exclusive organization on campus was known as the Ministerial Association.  Now and then the program committee would invite a guest speaker for the weekly meeting of the Association.  Most of the time the program consisted of a brief devotional service led by one of the members,  followed by a business meeting.  The business was mostly that of hearing and disposing of reports from committees; hearing, considering and making some decision as to what, if anything, to do with new suggestions.

Nearly every week there would be at least one member trying to persuade us to do something he thought was proper, if not our duty, to be doing as ministerial students.  Most of the suggestions, fortunately, failed to get the consent of a majority present even to refer them to a committee.

If a suggestion got the consent of a majority of those present to consider further their merits.  A committee would be appointed to look into the workability of an approved suggestion and to report their findings and suggestions at the next meeting.  The committee's first report, in most cases, would be that after due consideration it was the committee's conclusion that it would not be feasible to try to implement the brother's suggestion.

The association did try to do something about one "way out" suggestion.  In substance the suggestion was that the Ministerial Association of Howard College begin a revival that would save all the lost souls in Birmingham.  How we were to start this great revival was even more fantastic.  We were to give birth to this revival by conducting a religious service once a week on a downtown street corner in Birmingham.

An arrangement committee and a program committee were appointed.  The arrangement committee did the work promptly.  A corner was selected and a city  permit, to hold a religious service on that corner, was secured for a certain day and hour of each week.  Those on the program committee, however, immediately ran into trouble.  They could get members of the Association to sign up to read the Scripture, lead the prayer and the singing or anything else except the preaching.  That was the substance of their first report.  In the discussion that followed the report, Oley Kid, a large man with a deep and loud voice, finally agreed to be the first to preach on the corner.  For lack of better sense I gave in and consented to accept the honor to give the second sermon of the great revival.

Neither Oley nor I knew what the conditions were at the corner where we would be preaching when we agreed to this.  The corner was one of the busier corners in downtown Birmingham.  In addition to all other noises there was the noise of a continuous flow of cars, in both directions on both streets, plus the noise of streetcars on the double track line on both streets.  This meant that there was no less than one streetcar passing that corner almost constantly.  Those old enough to remember how much noise a streetcar makes can imagine better what chance a speaker on that corner would have of being heard by anyone.  Had I waited until after the first service I never would have promised to do the second one.

On the appointed day and hour Oley Kid, the others on the program, and a few of the rest of us, gathered at the designated corner to begin the great revival that would end with the salvation of all lost souls in Birmingham.  I was standing within three feet of where those on the program stood to do their parts.  Those who read the Scripture and led the prayer were blessed with voices a bit softer than a foghorn.  I didn't hear, clearly, a word they said.  Oley Kid's voice was louder than any kind of horn.  I did hear a few words Oley said, when there was a momentary lull in the street noise.  Being unable to hear enough to understand what he was saying, I began watching the people passing by.  A few, maybe a dozen, did hesitate long enough to locate where the new noise was coming from, and then moved on, with a shrug of their shoulders, as if to say, "I wonder what that idiot thinks he is doing."

When I gave the second street corner sermon it was equally as unsuccessful as the first.  And that is how and when the great revival ended, that was conceived and launched by the ministerial Association of Howard College.  No other member of the Association was foolish enough to believe he could do better than the first two hams had done.
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