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Autobiography of Alice A. Bailey - Chapter III
Since then I have thought and read and talked about this [106] problem of the minorities. I have many Negro friends and I think I may claim that we understand each other. I have found Negroes as cultural and as fastidious and as sound in their thinking as many of my white friends. I have discussed the problem with them and I know that all they ask is equality of opportunity, of education, of work and living conditions. I have never met one who was demanding social equality, though the time is coming when they must and will have it. I have found that the attitude of the cultured and educated Negro towards the undeveloped members of their race is reasonable and sound, and as a prominent Negro lawyer said to me once: "Most of us are children, particularly in the South, and need loving and developing like children."

A few years ago in London I had a letter from a scientist, a Dr. Just, asking me if I would grant him an interview as he had read some things I had written and wished to talk to me. I invited him to lunch at my club and when he arrived I found he was a Negro and a very black Negro at that. He was a charming and interesting gentleman and was on his way back to Washington after lecturing at Berlin University. He was one of the leading biologists of the world. My husband and I took him down to our house in Tunbridge Wells for a couple of nights and we greatly enjoyed his visit. One of my daughters asked him if he was married. I well remember his turning to her and saying: "My dear young lady, I would never dream of asking a girl of your race to marry me and to suffer the inevitable ostracism, and I have not yet met a girl of my own race who could give me the mental companionship I wanted. No, I have never married." He has since died and I regret it much; I had hoped for a closer friendship with a very fine man.

Increasingly, during my thirty-six years' residence in this [107] country, I have been shocked, amazed and frightened by the attitude of many Americans to their fellow-Americans, the Negro minority. The problem will have to be solved and room made for the Negro in the national life. They cannot be kept down, nor should they be. It is up to them to prove themselves all that they claim to be and it is up to all of us to see that they do, and that the abominable utterances and the poisonous hatred of such a man as Senator Bilbo are stifled, and there are a number such as he. Again I restate my belief that the problem cannot be solved today (I make no prophecy about the future) by intermarriage. It must be solved by fearless justice, the recognition of the fact that all men are brothers and that if the Negro is a problem it is our fault. If he is uneducated and not properly trained in the technique of citizenship it is again our fault. It is time that prominent white men and congressmen in both Houses and parties left off yelling for democracy and free elections in the Balkans and elsewhere and applied the same principles to their own southern States. Forgive this tirade, but I feel strongly on the matter, as you see.

This colored woman, Mrs. Snyder, mothered me for months and looked after me until my eldest girl was born, sending for her own doctor, who was not colored but not a particularly good doctor, so I did not get the skilled care I should have had. That was not her fault as she did her best to see me through. I have been curiously unlucky when my three children were born, and only once had a hospital nurse with me. Anyway, when my first child was born I had inexpert care. Walter Evans went into hysterics all the time, demanding most of the attention of the doctor, but Mrs. Snyder was like a tower of strength and I shall never forget her. Later the doctor sent in a practical nurse but she was so incompetent that I suffered severely at her [108] hands and went through three months of great discomfort and agony.

We then moved from the seminary to other living quarters. We took a small apartment where, for the first time, I was left alone with a small baby and all the housework to do. Up to that time I had never washed a pocket handkerchief, boiled an egg or made a cup of tea, and was a completely incompetent young woman. My experience in learning to do things was such that I have seen to it that the three girls know all there is to know about housekeeping. They are entirely competent. I'm quite sure it was not an easy time for Walter Evans and it was then that I began to discover - living alone with him where we could not be overheard - that he was developing an appalling temper.

My Waterloo was the weekly washing. I used to go down to the basement, which was fitted with the usual stationary tubs, and do the washing. I had brought all my own baby clothes with me, of very great beauty, yards long, beautiful flannels, real lace insertion, almost priceless - a dozen of everything and what I did to those clothes was a sorrow and a pain. When I was through washing them, they looked most peculiar. One morning, I heard a knock on my door and on opening it I found a woman who lived in the flat below me. She looked at me with distress and said, "See here, Mrs. Evans, it's Monday morning and I can't stand it any longer. I'm an English servant and you are an English lady and I've got sense enough to know it. There are things I know and things you don't, and you're coming down with me every Monday morning until I say you needn't and I'll teach you how to launder clothes." She said it as if she had learnt it off by heart and she was as good as her word. Today there is nothing about laundry work that I don't know and I owe it all to Mrs. Schubert. Here is another instance of somebody for whom I had [109] done nothing but who was just straight human and kind and I got another peek into the house of humanity. She and I became real friends and she used to champion me when Walter Evans was in a rage. Time and again I have taken refuge in her small apartment. I wonder whether she and Mrs. Snyder are alive. I fancy not; they would be too old.

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