1938

December 25, 1938: The Advent of Divine Justice

In 1938, Shoghi Effendi, then the Administrative head of the Bahá’í Faith, addressed a letter to the Bahá’ís of the United States and Canada describing the role of America in establishing the Most Great Peace.  The letter, known as The Advent of Divine Justice, singled out racism and prejudice as “the most vital and challenging issue confronting the Bahá’í community at the present stage of its evolution.”  This letter, given it’s historical context during the Jim Crow era, is nothing short than revolutionary.

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Segregated Schools in Tennessee in the 1940's; Images Courtesy of the TN State Library and Archives

Below is a small excerpt which exemplifies the way in which he called upon both white and Black Bahá’í to draw upon the power of their faith and do whatever possible to overcome racial disunity and division:

To White Bahá’ís:

“Let the white make a supreme effort in their resolve to contribute their share to the solution of this problem, to abandon once for all their usually inherent and at times subconscious sense of superiority to correct their tendency towards revealing a patronizing attitude towards the members of the other race, to persuade them through their intimate, spontaneous and informal association with them of the genuineness of their friendship and the sincerity of their intentions, and to master their impatience of any lack of responsiveness on the part of a people who have received, for so long a period, such grievous and slow-healing wounds.”

To Black Bahá’ís:

“Let the Negroes, through a corresponding effort on their part, show by every means in their power the warmth of their response, their readiness to forget the past, and their ability to wipe out every trace of suspicion that may still linger in their hearts and minds.”

To Both:

“Let neither think that the solution of so vast a problem is a matter that exclusively concerns the other. Let neither think that such a problem can either easily or immediately be resolved. Let neither think that they can wait confidently for the solution of this problem until the initiative has been taken, and the favorable circumstances created, by agencies that stand outside the orbit of their Faith. Let neither think that anything short of genuine love, extreme patience, true humility, consummate tact, sound initiative, mature wisdom, and deliberate, persistent, and prayerful effort, can succeed in blotting out the stain which this patent evil has left on the fair name of their common country.”

(The Advent of Divine Justice, p 40)

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