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Excerpt: "A call to preach"

    "In the earlier days of freedom almost every colored man who learned to read would receive 'a call to preach' within a few days after he began reading.  At my home in West Virginia the process of being called to the ministry was a very interesting one.  Usually the 'call' came when the individual was sitting in church.  Without warning the one called would fall upon the floor as if struck by a bullet, and would lie there for hours, speechless and motionless.  Then the news would spread all through the neighborhood that this individual had received a 'call.'  If he were inclined to resist the summons, he would fall or be made to fall a second or third time.  In the end he always yielded to the call.  While I wanted an education badly, I confess that in my youth I had a fear that when I had learned to read and write well I would receive one of these 'calls'; but, for some reason, my call never came."

Source: Booker T. Washington, Up From Slavery (1901).


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