An article titled ‘The Negro Race’ by George Reynolds published and edited by George Q. Cannon in the Juvenile Instructor, October 15 1968: 1
The Negro Race
Amongst the many causes that have contributed to change the appearance of the human family and make mankind appear to be of different races, we must consider the blessing or curse of God the greatest of all. Then add to this, difference of climate, variety of food, entirely opposite modes of life, either civilized or savage, stationary or wandering, combined with the results of the varied religions existing among men, and we shall be able to understand why there is so great a diversity in the human family.
We will first inquire into the results of the approbation or displeasure of God upon a people, starting with the belief that a black skin is a mark of the curse of heaven placed upon some portions of mankind. Some, however, will argue that a black skin is not a curse, nor a white skin a blessing. In fact, some have been so foolish as to believe and say that a black skin is a blessing, and that the negro is the finest type of a perfect man that exists on the earth; but to us such teachings are foolishness. We understand that when God made man in his own image and pronounced him very good, that he made him white. We have no record of any of God’s favored servants being of a black race. All His prophets and apostles belonged to the most handsome race on the face of the earth – Israel, who still, as represented in the scattered tribe of Judah, bear the impress of their former beauty. In this race was born His Son Jesus, who, we are told was very lovely, and ‘in the express image of his Father’s person, and every angel who ever brought a message of God’s mercy to man was beautiful to look upon, clad in the purest white and with a countenance bright as the noonday sun
When God cursed Cain for murdering his brother Abel, He set a mark upon him that all meeting him might know him. No mark could be so plain to his fellow-men as a black skin. This was the mark God placed upon him, and which his children bore. After the flood this curse fell upon the seed of Ham, through the sin of their father, and his descendants bear it to this day. The Bible tells us but little of the races that sprung from Ham, but from that little, and from the traditions of various tribes, we are led to believe that from him came the Canaanites, the Philistines, the Egyptians and most of the earliest inhabitants of Africa.
We are told in the Book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price, that Egypt was discovered by a woman, who was a daughter of Ham, the son of Noah. This was probably the first portion of Africa inhabited by men after the flood, it being the nearest to the land (Asia Minor) where the ark rested and the children of Noah first settled. From Egypt the families of men gradually spread out to the southward, up the river Nile and along the borders of the Red Sea, and westward by the shores of the Mediterranean.
The pure Negro, as represented by the people of Guinea and its neighboring countries, is generally regarded as the unmixed descendant of Ham. Our engraving of a Negro is of this type. Their skin is quite black, their hair woolly and black, their intelligence stunted, and they appear never to have arisen from the most savage state of barbarism. But it must not be supposed that all the inhabitants of Africa are of this unmixed black class, for it is not so; some of the mountain tribes of that continent approach to nearly white. Hence, we sometimes hear travelers speak of white Kafirs, white Arabs, &c. There are also quite a number of African tribes who vary in color from olive to dark brown and reddish black. They are also as varied in their size, height and build as they are in color. We will tell you some little of two of these African races known as the Abyssinians and Kafirs
Abyssinia lies on the east coast of Africa, immediately south of Nubia, and near the mouth of the Red Sea, opposite the southern portion of Arabia. The people who inhabit this country are of various races, from tribes nearly resembling Negroes, to others who are very much like Bedouin Arabs. Some of these latter people claim to be descended from the Hebrews. We do not put much trust in this story, though King Solomon doubtless traded with them, as he established a port to carry on commerce with Africa at the northern extremity of the lied Sea. It is certainly possible that some of the Jewish traders settled in Abyssinia, and forgetful of the law of Moses, married some of the dark-skinned daughters of the land, who have the reputation of being very beautiful and finely made. In later days, after the captivity in Babylon, some of the returned Israelites may have wandered into Africa, as it is almost certain they did soon after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman and the scattering of the Jews. It is however, much more probable that the greater portion of those people arc the offspring of a mixed race of Arabs and of a darker people, kindred to the Negro. Traces of Arab customs, traditions, and words are prevalent all over Africa except in its extreme South-western borders. The Arabs were great wanderers and traders; Abyssinia and Nubia lie opposite their native land or the other side of the Red sea, which was by no means difficult to cross. Many of them doubtless settled on the African shore, and not being restrained by the Mosaic law of marriage, freely mixed with the people and permanently established themselves in the country. When Mohammed came, and his followers compelled adherence to their faith at the edge of the sword, Africa became the field of many of their semi-warlike, semi-religious missions. This overrunning of the country by these foreigners no doubt produced a great change in the appearance of the people, and a number of races rose up from Arab fathers and Negro mothers whose children now form a great portion of the inhabitants of the Barbary States, Nubia, Abyssinia, the North-Western coast as far south as Senegambia, and of the people inhabiting the borders of the Atlas mountains.
This is all the more probable as far as the Abyssinians are concerned, as the nearer the coast these people dwell, the nearer they approach the Arabs in type of features and general appearance, while the more inland tribes approach nearer to the Negro race.
The next people we will allude to are the Kafirs. They appear to have originally dwelt in some of the central regions of Africa near the equator, from whence they have been gradually spreading southward; as, since the discovery and settlement of southern Africa by European nations, these people have advanced considerably further southward than they were origin ally found by the early navigators. In this march southward they appear to have swept before them or engulfed the earlier inhabitants of the country, who are best seen, at the present time, in the abject Bushmen and Hottentots of the British Colony in the Cape of Good Hope. In the Kafir races are sometimes included the people who inhabit Zanzibar and Mozambique on the east coast of Africa, as also many inland tribes, in addition to the tribes of South Africa more especially known as Kafirs. If would include all these people in the Kafir race, we have a great diversity of appearance and color, from almost a negro blackness to a light shade of brown. The difference of climate in the vast extent of territory in which they dwell may in a great degree account for this. In strength, activity and mental capacity they are certainly ahead of the Negro, and their knowledge of certain Mohammedan and Jewish rites, as circumcision and cities of refuge, is held to be a proof that they had come in contact with these people, if they did not to any extent mis with them. At any rate it helps to prove their more northern origin than modern Kafir land, as we have no idea that the soldiers of the Arabian prophet pushed their conquests anything like as far south. The religion and superstitions of the Kafirs give evidence that their acquaintance with Mohammed’s doctrines was either very slight or that they have long since departed from his teachings and returned to the former heathenism, while among many of the kindred tribes of this race, dwelling further north, Mohammedanism is the prevailing faith.
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|1.||‘The Negro Race’ by George Reynolds published and edited by George Q. Cannon in the Juvenile Instructor, October 15 1968 – https://archive.org/details/juvenileinstruct320geor/page/156/mode/2up|