This I Believe

Haynes, George Edmund


  • George Haynes, executive director of the National Urban League, describes his beliefs in the equal potential of humans, in beauty, truth, goodness, peace, life, God, and eternity.
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And now, This I Believe, a series of living philosophies presented in the hope they may help to strengthen and enrich your life. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. George Edmund Haynes has been a national figure in the field of race relations for more than forty years. He was co-founder and executive director of The National Urban League. Author, lecturer, sociologist and college professor, he headed the Race Relations Program of the Federal Council of Churches for twenty-five years. His current book Africa: Continent of the Future, was written after extensive travel and study. Here now are the personal beliefs of Dr. George Edmund Haynes.
I believe in people, whether they live in the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia, or the islands of the sea. They all have potential genius, which needs only opportunity to unfold and to enrich the world. I believe in the people of the Americas, especially those of the United States, for here, “We the people…” have declared that the common man, irrespective of race, religion, or national origin, has the divine right to determine his own way of life without benefit of any divine right of kings or Stalins. After half a century of study and interracial work in the United States, Europe, and Africa, I know that thousands of devoted men and women have faced prejudice, greed, and even death to show that equality and freedom for all men can become a practical reality.
I believe in truth, in beauty, and in goodness. Truth, whether found through science, philosophy, or religion, is stronger than error and will make men free. Beauty, whenever experienced, lifts one out of sordidness and gives joy. Good men march breast forward to solid satisfaction, even in the face of wrong, because they are mindful of the law of love, which is as real as the law of gravitation.
Without some such belief in goodness, men and women are defeated. Those who believe in the law of love set their faces like flint against the idea that some races are inferior. They live by the lift of the vision of all men up to high levels. More than forty years’ experience in the classroom, in government office, and around city and state conference
tables set by religious and social welfare agencies has taught me that attitudes can be changed, and that reason, justice, and goodwill can replace force and violence in dealing with racial, national, and international relations. Nonviolent methods have brought advancement in human relations, exceeding our hopes.
I believe in peace. It is not an armistice between hot or cold wars. Peace will come through the give and take of conference based upon justice and goodwill. It is grounded in the integrity and faith of those who hold high places of trust and honor and the united strength of peoples and nations who place liberty of the individual above wealth or power or glory.
I believe in life, in God, and in eternity. Body, mind, and spirit are only sides of the triangle of life. Death is
only the shadowy valley between life here and hereafter, because God, who holds the distant stars in their courses and gives power to the invisible atom, allows nothing to be destroyed. The form and function of life apart from our planet, we do not know. But science, reason, and religion give ground for unshakable faith that life marches on into the great beyond. My personal experience in the departure of loved ones strengthened my lifelong search leading to these convictions. Words are only symbols, expressing my beliefs in people; in truth, beauty, and goodness; in peace; in life, God, and eternity. Such beliefs have to be experienced to be known.
There were the beliefs of George Edmund Haynes, Negro educator and sociologist of New York.