Black Race

A COLOURED man from South Africa who was visiting ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, said that even now no white people really cared very much for the black man. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá replies: Compare the present time and the feeling towards the coloured people now, with the state of feeling two or three hundred years ago, and see how much better it is at present. In a short time the relationship between the coloured and white people will still further improve, and bye and bye no difference will be felt between them. White doves and purple doves exist, but both kinds are doves. Bahá’u’lláh once compared the coloured people to the black pupil of the eye surrounded by the white. In this black pupil you see the reflection of that which is before it, and through it the light of the Spirit shines forth. In the sight of God colour makes no difference at all, He looks at the hearts of men. That which God desires from men is the heart. A black man with a good character is far superior to a white man with a character that is less good.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in London, p. 67

O thou who art pure in heart, sanctified in spirit, peerless in character, beauteous in face! Thy photograph hath been received revealing thy physical frame in the utmost grace and the best appearance. Thou art dark in countenance and bright in character. Thou art like unto the pupil of the eye which is dark in colour, yet it is the fount of light and the revealer of the contingent world. I have not forgotten nor will I forget thee. I beseech God that He may graciously make thee the sign of His bounty amidst mankind, illumine thy face with the light of such blessings as are vouchsafed by the merciful Lord, single thee out for His love in this age which is distinguished among all the past ages and centuries.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 114

The negro race has been, and still is, the victim of unjust prejudice, and it is obviously the duty of every Bahá’í, negro or white, to do all in their power to destroy the prejudices which exist on both sides. They can do this not only by exemplifying the true Bahá’í spirit in all their associations and acts, but also by taking an active part in any progressive movements aimed at the betterment of the lot of those who are under-privileged, as long as these movements are absolutely non-political and non-subversive in every respect.

Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 532

‘Abdu’l-Bahá did not hesitate to introduce into His relations with Western believers actions that summoned them to a level of consciousness far above mere social liberalism and tolerance. One example that must stand for a range of such interventions was His gentle but dramatic act in encouraging the marriage of Louis Gregory and Louise Mathews -- the one black, the other white. The initiative set a standard for the American Bahá’í community as to the real meaning of racial integration, however timid and slow its members were in responding to the core implications of the challenge.”

“Century of Light,” Commissioned by The Universal House of Justice, p. 24, paragraph 3.16