A White Southerner Accepts Desegregation (1962)
Dr. Hill is a physician in Atlanta, Georgia and an elder in Trinity Presbyterian Church where he gave this talk before a Sunday morning adult class which he teaches, in a series on “The Church Faces Racial Tension.”
I am a Southerner. I was bred in the South where my forefathers were slave-holders and Confederate soldiers. I was born and raised in Southern towns with their rigid racial patterns and their typical Southern prejudice. I was away from the South for a few years but I returned to live in the South by choice and intend to remain here for the rest of my life. I love the South and its people.
I like having two black arms in my kitchen and two black legs pushing my lawn mower to help take the drudgery out of living for myself and my family, and I like having them at a very minimum of cost to me.
I like choosing my own friends and associates and I like eating in pleasant places with well-bred people of my own race, class, and status.
I like to worship in a church which is composed of my friends and equals where I will be among my own group, racially, socially, and intellectually.
I like for my children to go to school with their own kind and with other children of their own racial, social, and intellectual level. I like for them to be shielded against poverty, ignorance, dirt, and disease.
I like to practice medicine among intelligent, cooperative people who understand what I am trying to do for them, who are friends as well as patients and who pay their bills.
I like to live in a neighborhood composed of people of my own group who have pleasant, well-kept homes and where there is no conflict or strife.
I do not want my daughter to marry a Negro.
I like the racial status quo. I am a Southerner.
But, I am also a Christian. As a Christian, I must believe that God created all men and that all men are equal in the sight of God. I must believe that all men are my brothers and are children of God and that I am my brother’s keeper. I must believe that Jesus meant what he said when he commanded me to love my neighbor as myself and when he commanded me to do unto others as I would have them do unto me. I must believe that the church is God’s house and that it does not belong to me, to the congregation of Trinity Presbyterian Church or to the Southern Presbyterian Church. I must believe in the fellowship of all believers.