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Fellowship of Humanity
of the Fellowship of Humanity
produced on computer since 2001
when a major
effort to modernize the Fellowship was underway.
another task to archive them online on our website here.
from June 2003
are now available on PDF at
dating from September 2001 through May 2003,
become available on PDF at this link when
Newer back issues of Newsletters,
dating from October 2006 to the present,
become available on PDF at this link when
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THE STORY OF A
THE FELLOWSHIP OF HUMANITY
With Contributions By Members
J. ARTHUR RAGSDALE
History is the story of man, told by man himself. Man
makes his own history. But he does not make it from the
"whole cloth," to quote the phrase of a famous writer. He
makes it from the materials at hand. Is history an exact
science? The answer must be no, because of so many
subjective factors which enter into its making. But it is
possible to study history by use of the scientific method, by
which means a certain law or tendency may be observed, which
explains, on a long-time scale, the development of the course of
Corliss Lamont in his recent book entitled
Freedom of Choice Affirmed,
asserts that man is free to make a choice in any given
situation. However, Lamont qualifies this statement by
saying that the choice is free within certain limits.
What are these limits? These limits are made up of the
entire social and natural environment in which any given
individual had his origins, plus his inherited physical and
mental capabilities. His choices are made and his will
is exercised and directed because of and by means of these
background factors. Since each individual has had a
different life experience, his will is formed accordingly.
However, it may be observed that large numbers of
individuals who find themselves in the same social
environment are constrained thereby to form judgments and
make choices according to their needs, and thus at certain
periods of history the collective will of a certain social
class may be opposed to that of another class.
To sum up, history is the resultant of the clash of
innumerable wills, both of individuals and of social
Fellowship of Humanity
is an example of how history is
determined by this process. The following pages will
illustrate how this came about.
HISTORY OF THE
FELLOWSHIP OF HUMANITY
J. Arthur Ragsdale
This has been the home of an organization, unique in the
since August 4, 1941. Its name is The
If one should take a stroll along the south side of 28th
Street, between Telegraph Avenue and Webster Street, in the
City of Oakland, one will notice a large garden, with trees
of several varieties, most prominent of which are a number
of live oaks, natives of the soil of Oakland, California.
Toward the rear of this garden is seen a small building,
over the entrance of which are inscribed the words, “
The origins of The
can hardly be explained without some
description of the social environment which gave birth to
it. It was the year 1934. Franklin Roosevelt had
been elected President two years previously. Many
millions of people were out of work; some of them since
1929, the year of the stock market crash which was followed
by the Great Depression. Thousands of people roamed
around the country, going from state to state, looking for
work. But there were no jobs to be had. Banks
failed and industry came to a standstill. A large
savings and loan company in San Francisco was forced into
bankruptcy because some of its biggest borrowers, large
hotels and restaurants, up and down the state, could make no
payments on their loans. The loan company foreclosed
the mortgages and tried to operate these “frozen assets”
directly, but this also proved to be a failure as there was
insufficient public patronage to sustain the offered
The Roosevelt administration was struggling to bring order
out of chaos and to get the wheels of industry turning
again. Many bills were rushed through a panic-stricken
Congress. Some of these measures proved to be useless
for the purpose intended. Months and years passed by
and many people were still without work. The
government began handing out doles, some of them in the form
of make-work jobs, but it also established the Works Project
Administration and the Public Works Administration, which
gave employment to many people. However, there was
still much unemployment and people began to gather into
groups and to discuss what might be done to relieve the
situation. Some of these groups formulated plans and
leaders sprang forth who sought to publicize the plans and
to build organizations to put them into execution, in the
hope of solving the problem of unemployment.
One such plan was that which was advocated by
and a prolific writer of many novels, most of them bearing
on the problems of poverty and unemployment.
entitled his program “End
Poverty in California.”
His plan consisted in having the State Legislature pass a
law which would legalize the seizure of factories which had
been closed by the depression, by the State, and to have
them operated by the State and thus put some of the
unemployed people to work.
announced that he was going to run for Governor on this
program and managed to form a large statewide organization
which became known as “EPIC,“
an acronym formed from the initials of the title of the
ran in the Democratic
primary election and won the nomination for Governor as the
candidate of the Democratic Party. However, he was
defeated by a reactionary Republican candidate who was
backed by all the wealthy interests who feared that their
property was about to be taken away from them. Thus
plan was never given a trial. Whether it would have
worked or not is another question.
Some of the people who were
supporters were members of a
Unitarian Church in Oakland. During the “EPIC”
campaign there was great excitement, which did not abate
defeat. The hopes of the unemployed had been raised
high by his plan and his followers felt that something had
to be done. Among the
supporters in the
Unitarian Church was a minister, Reverend
who taught Sunday School there.
had a magnetic personality, a
charisma, and built up a following. He was a man with
a dream. He envisioned a string of churches throughout
California which would be called “The
Church of Humanity.”
Thus even though
had been defeated, his message would be carried on.
So on January 12, 1935, a group of individuals, dedicated to
the cause of humanity, gathered together in the City of
Oakland and signed a document entitled “Articles
of Incorporation of the Church of Humanity.”
This document was filed in the office of the Secretary of
State in Sacramento, on
January 28, 1935.
Church of Humanity
thus became a non-profit corporation according to the
provisions of the General Non-Profit Corporation Law of the
State of California.
There were seven articles set forth in these
The first article provided that the name should be The
Church of Humanity.
The second article set forth the purpose in three
sub-paragraphs. The first of these detailed the
purpose, as now incorporated in the
as Section 4, Paragraph 1. The second sub-paragraph of
Article II stated that it was the purpose to organize other
throughout California. The third sub-paragraph stated
the intention to lease, buy or sell property, etc.
Article III stated that the existence of this corporation is
to be perpetual. Article IV provided that the
principal office is to be in Alameda County. Article V
stated that the Directors are:
A. D. Faupell,
Frank W. Hooper, Anna Belle Van Tassel, J. I. Mclntosh, and
Constance Roberts. Articles VI and VII provided that
may be adopted by the Board of Directors and by the members.
The Board of Directors named in the
membership of about 200.
On February 7, 1938 , a Resolution was adopted by the Board
of Directors changing the name to The
This change was approved by a large majority of the
membership. The Resolution was filed in the office of
the Secretary of State on
February 8, 1938.
It was signed by
A. D. Faupell,
President; Anna Belle Van Tassel, Secretary; and Directors
Frank W. Hooper, Robert Robertson, and A. Berlucci.
During the first six years of its existence the Fellowship
met in different halls, among them Jenny Lind Hall and Sons
of Norway Hall on Piedmont Avenue. Then on August 4,
1941, the building and lot at the present location, 411 -
28th Street, was purchased from the Central Lutheran Church.
This was made possible through the generosity of
J. George Kullmer,
whose name is preserved on a bronze tablet fastened to the
wall just inside the 28th Street entrance. The members
were very enthusiastic over the acquisition of their
beautiful new home and garden, and set to work with a will
to put everything in order. The sign near the 28th
Street entrance to the garden was made by Jessie Bradley and
her son, Theodore. It reads as follows:
Affirm that Man, by His Own Power,
Through Scientific Knowledge, Enlightened Social Purposes,
and Democratic Cooperation, Must and Can Build a Better
Human World. The inscription on the bronze tablet
inside the building reads: FELLOWSHIP FOUNDATION This
Building and Grounds are The Gift of
J. GEORGE KULLMER,
Born in Hess Nassau, Germany, Dec. 21, 1859, Died Apr. 23,
1940 “He Being Dead, Yet Speaketh” Heb. 11:4. The
dedication ceremonies for the new hall were held on
October 26, 1941.
One of the speakers was Rabbi Stearn of the Reform
The first President and the first Leader of the Fellowship
He suffered several strokes in 1944 and was forced to
E. O. Corson
was chosen as President to succeed Mr.
and remained in office until the annual election August 29,
1948. During Mr.
a former college teacher, was chosen as the second Leader.
He first addressed the Fellowship on August 3, 1947.
He retired from the office on October 30, 1948. The
third President was
A. R. Mueller,
elected August 29, 1948. On May 29, 1949 he was
re-elected after a
in the Fellowship tried to unseat
him by means of a
The fourth President was
Walter F. Kennon,
elected at the annual meeting held on September 17, 1950.
was reelected at every annual meeting including September
1965. He retired from the office by resignation on May
1, 1966. During his administration three Leaders
served the Fellowship. The third Leader of the
Fellowship was Dr.
Lowell H. Coate,
who was in that position during a part of 1954. Before
coming to the Fellowship Dr.
had served with the Los Angeles School Department as a
Supervisor for 25 years. He was a graduate of Olivet
College in Illinois and took his Ph.D. degree in Education
at Pasadena College in California.
W. David Brown
assumed the duties of Leadership in 1956 and continued on
into 1957. He was the fourth Leader of the Fellowship.
was popular with the members, but upon graduating from the
Starr King School in Berkeley, he resigned from his position
with the Fellowship to accept an appointment as minister of
the Unitarian Church in Louisville, Kentucky, where, after
about two years of hard work in his new position, he died
suddenly of a heart attack at a relatively early age.
We were all sorry to hear of
death as he was a likeable young man.
Hugh Robert Orr
became the fifth Leader of the Fellowship in 1958. He
was the most loved and respected of all our Leaders and
continued in the position for nine years. He was
stricken suddenly with a heart attack while at the rostrum
in a Sunday morning service in March, 1967, and died a few
days later. His passing was a great loss for the
came to us with a background as a Professor of English
Literature at the University of Chicago and later at San
Francisco State College. He had been a Unitarian
minister and was one of the early
leaders and teachers in the United States. He was
founder and editor of the Progressive World magazine, the
official publication of the United Secularists of America.
picture has been placed in the
next to that of
A. D. Faupell.
in Fellowship affairs arose in 1952 when the County of
Alameda denied the Fellowship’s claim for exemption from
real estate taxes. This claim must be filed annually
by all churches in compliance with Article XIII, Section
1-1/2, of the Constitution of the State of California, which
provides, in part:
and so much of the real property on which they are
situated as may be required for the convenient use and
occupancy of said buildings, when the same are used
solely and exclusively for religious worship.... shall
be free from taxation.”
pursuing its administrative remedies, the Fellowship paid
the taxes and penalties under protest, filed its claim, and
commenced an action
to recover the amount so paid. The
determined that the Fellowship did use its property “solely
and exclusively for religious worship” and was entitled to
the claimed exemption. It ordered the taxes refunded.
In rendering its decision the
stated that many of the world’s religions, counting their
adherents in the millions, such as Taoism, Buddhism and
Confucianism, did not include belief in a supreme being in
their teachings. The County of Alameda appealed this
decision to the
Court of Appeals
and to the
State Supreme Court
and the ruling of the
was sustained in each
appeal. These history-making decisions established the
right of The
to exist as a
free of taxation.
The purpose of the Fellowship to establish a
was originally set forth in its
filed with the Secretary of State in Sacramento in January,
court trials and
together with the time taken by the appeals to the
Court of Appeals
and to the
lasted over two years. They placed a
on the Fellowship and occupied an
enormous amount of
of the President and the Board of Directors. In
addition to President
full credit must be given to Secretary-Treasurer Frona Ernst
for her tireless efforts in raising the necessary funds for
Gratitude is due to
Doris Brin Walker for her able
handling of the case, from the
Court of Appeals
Several years after these trials Secretary-Treasurer Frona
Ernst retired for reasons of ill health. She was
succeeded in the position by Maxine Staats, who, in addition
to her duties as Secretary-Treasurer, undertook the position
of pianist, replacing Lillian Wright, who had played
beautifully for the Fellowship for many years, but who was
forced into retirement because of the encroachments of
arthritis. When the Fellowship acquired an organ early
in 1966, Mary Middleton, who by this time had succeeded to
the office of Secretary-Treasurer, also became the
Fellowship Organist. She resigned the position of
Secretary-Treasurer on June 1, 1966, but continued as
Organist until October 25, 1970.
Early in April 1966, Barbara Kennon, wife of President
Kennon, died from an attack of Asiatic influenza while the
Kennons were on a vacation trip in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Shortly after this, President
on his return from Mexico, became
with the members in a
over the desirability of
disposing of the
at 411 - 28th Street and moving the Fellowship to another
location. This led to his resignation as President on
May 1, 1966. As
J. Arthur Ragsdale
was Vice-President at the time, he succeeded to the office
of President, following
was elected as President at the Annual Meeting in September
1966. He was re-elected to that office at each
succeeding Annual Meeting in September of the years 1967,
1968 and 1969.
was fifth to undertake the position of President. The
sixth Leader of the Fellowship,
was elected to that position in February 1968, by the
members of the Fellowship. He assumed office on March
1, 1968 and occupied the position until March 31, 1969.
was a talented young man of strong personal convictions.
He had a background of studies in Philosophy and Literature
at Northern Illinois University and Miami of Ohio
University. Shortly after leaving the Fellowship he
moved with his wife and infant son to Chicago, Illinois.
During the period following the death of Dr.
in March, 1967, until
took over the office in March, 1968, President
temporarily assumed the duties of Leadership in addition to
his duties as President. After the resignation of
in March 1969, the Board of Directors decided, for the time
being, to carry on without a leader. Since the
specifies that the President shall
preside at the Sunday morning services in the absence of the
Leader, unless the President decides to appoint some other
person, this is the program that has been carried out.
Usually a member of the Board of Directors or some other
assumed the chairmanship on Sunday mornings. This
arrangement proved very successful for about a year and a
half, when we were fortunate in obtaining the services of a
new Leader. The Rev.
Wm. T. Baird
came to us highly recommended as a
minister of many years in a church in Chicago, as well as a
leader in the civil rights movement. He has been
functioning to the entire satisfaction of the members of the
Throughout the years many prominent speakers and lecturers
have appeared on the platform of the
Among these, to mention a very few, were Corliss Lamont, Leo
Huberman, Scott Nearing, Frances Herring, William Mandel,
Sydney Rogers, Maude Russell, Dr. Carleton Goodlett, Dr.
Martin Larsen, Vincent Hallinan, Terrence Hallinan, Benny
Bufano, and Ben Seaver. The topics of the morning
services covered a wide range of subjects. Speakers
dealt with discussions on world affairs, civil rights, and
civil liberties, work among black students, work with youth,
the problem of delinquency, of radiation, farm labor
conditions, the plight of the American Indians, ecology, and
even a demonstration of different bird calls. Various
speakers told of their visits to Vietnam and gave graphic
reports of the devastation wrought by American intervention.
The talks may be widely diversified, but are always
interesting and inspiring.
It should be explained that at the Annual Meeting of
September 18, 1966, the
was amended to provide for a Second
Vice-President and to separate the offices of Secretary and
Treasurer. Since then these offices have been filled with
great success by the present occupants of these positions.
Following are the members of the Board of Directors at
the time of this
Yetta Land, first Vice-President; Charles Friedman, Second
Vice-President; Sheba Ragsdale, General Secretary; Hazel
Linton, Treasurer; Sam Blackman and
J. Arthur Ragsdale.
This account would not be complete without giving
commendation to those loyal and faithful members who have
given of their time and other resources so that the
Fellowship might continue to exist and to go forward in even
greater service to its members and to the community at
large, in the spirit of
for the betterment of humanity. In the pages following
this brief outline of the history of the
will be found more detailed accounts of the early days of
the Fellowship, written by Henry Halvorsen,
Lucy H. Johnson,
Mrs. Herbert T. Johnson,
and Alfred G. Martin, all former
of the Fellowship in the days of the formation and who are
still members (with the exception of Henry Halvorsen, who
died about a year ago). Mrs.
was formerly Secretary of the Fellowship. When this
book was started,
was still President. At the conclusion of his term in
was elected to succeed him.
was reelected in September 1971 and is presently occupying
is one of the early
members and has been a loyal and consistent supporter of the
A. D. Faupell
E. O. Corson
A. R. Mueller
Walter F. Kennon
J. Arthur Ragsdale
Florence Windfall 2004-09
A. D. Faupell
Lowell H. Coate
W. David Brown
Hugh Robert Orr
J. Arthur Ragsdale
Wm. T. Baird
had its antecedents in the
I was accustomed to attend the Unitarian Church at 14th and
Castro in 1932 or 1933. There were some very good
lectures at the Sunday School class. Mr.
A. D. Faupell
was the Leader at that time and his talks were of an
educational nature, mostly on psychology, philosophy and
politics. Over one hundred people attended these
lectures, most of them middle aged. Dr. Reed was then
the Pastor of the Unitarian Church and out of respect to
him, on account of the Sunday School some of us attended his
services. However, Dr. Reed took exception to the
subject of the programs in the Sunday School and,
particularly during the
campaign for Governor, objected because we wanted to
then decided to move out.
My recollection is rather vague, but I do remember that the
Tom Sullivan (Spokane Tom), two others, and myself organized
with Tom Sullivan conducting. The old original Chabot
Observatory in Chabot Park between Jefferson and Grove on
10th Street was where we held our first meeting. One
of the boys got a permit from the Board of Education.
became so large we had to change our meeting place to the
school house which is now a parking lot (originally it was
University of California) across the street from Chabot
Park. The old building of the University became a
public school. As many as 4,000 people at one time
listened to the
lectures with well known speakers. The Sunday School
section of the Unitarian group moved to the Pacific Building
at 17th and Jefferson Streets, to the fourth floor.
was organized in the Masonic Temple
on Madison Street. There were four or five well known
who attended the Fellowship meetings
and helped in the organization. The dues were set at
10¢ per member.
was the principal speaker. They had a question period
and the speaker would make comments — the same format as
presently; a prelude, a text by
usually, then collection, question-period and comments.
They met here for some time, then moved to Norway Hall on
Piedmont Avenue; later to the Knights of Pythias Hall.
In 1936 and 1937 I was Secretary-Treasurer of the Workers
Alliance and could not attend meetings but came back in to
the Fellowship in 1956. One of the original members of
a Mr. Fell, died about this time and his widow turned over
the estate to the Fellowship. Bill Moody, one of the
original members of the
and a few of its other members reorganized the Club and they
continued to meet informally.
recollections were dictated by Mr. Halvorsen shortly before
campaign, working in headquarters of
As I attended these meetings, I was thrilled by a little man
A. D. Faupell.
His talks rang so sincere and rational. Mr.
had spoken once weekly for the yet-to-be
He also spoke at various organizations in forming this
unit. I spoke to him many times. He had real
human qualities. In greeting and speaking with the
many people after meetings, he was keen in determining what
the person was capable of, thereby assisting in forming the
as we called him, came to my home twice, once social and the
other time to ask me to donate my services in painting a
sign for our Norway Hall on Oakland Avenue, just prior to
buying the present location at 411 - 28th Street. I
painted a professional sign for the outside.
I had been in San Francisco and Oakland many years from
1926, but Eastern trips took about seven years, being an
active industrial unionist, and a member of the A. F. of L.
Returning from Bonus Army in 1934, I became interested in
In the years 1934, 1935 and 1936 we met in many places,
mostly in Jenny Lind Hall. Then we met in a real nice
setting weekly at the Blue Bird Cafeteria on Franklin Street
at 17th. There we purchased our supper, and after
eating and joviality, “A.D.”
would call the meeting to order. As many as 70 to 125
attended. One of the members, an elderly man, very
quiet, a carpenter, named
J. Geo. Kullmer,
was hospitalized at that time. Figuring his stay among
the living would be short, Mr.
and requested that he bring an
to him, so that he could arrange to dispose of his estate.
brought Mr. Wm. Crocker, an
and member. Mr.
estate was divided three ways, to a brother and sister in
Germany and one third to the Fellowship.
After a search for a suitable hall, the present location was
found. It had been built for religious services but
was put up for sale because neighbors brought about
They complained of
What joy and enthusiasm by one and all in refurbishing,
altering, painting, building the big outdoor fireplace,
gardening and painting of the picket fence!
I took pictures, dozens, of all at work: “A.D.”
himself leaning on a shovel, with overalls on — also others.
I helped a paint contractor paint inside, others helped in
putting up shelves, stoves, stage, ante-rooms and basement.
All worked gratis. These pictures are in a large album
which the late Jessie Pedrick maintained as a pictorial
history of the Fellowship.
After about eight years, a
arose among the members,
in twain. I stayed neutral for the existence of our
As I look to the yesterdays in our Fellowship movement, I
recall with pride some outstanding activists: Mr. and
Mrs. Lawrence McCray (they owned a large place and monthly
threw a party, a jovial gathering); Jack Morton was a hard
worker around the hall; Anna Myers radiated Fellowship;
Jessie Bradley and her machinist son Theodore made the big
beautiful announcement board facing 28th Street, replacing
my smaller one – (Jessie, at all socials, decorated the hall
in different motifs
Roman, Greek, etc.); Anna Van Tassel was a lovely person and
did things; Lillian Wright, our pianist at that time, played
beautifully; Blind George donated handsomely; Sophie Lloyd,
ex-teacher, lived nearby, married a member; Mr. Smart, Mary
and Mr. Jentlen; Lombardii, Corrigan, Crawford, all
activists; Lil Loud and Lucy Hibbard; others I knew well
were Ernest Larchi, the Knickerbockers, Sam Landis, Mrs.
Ensign, Fred Rivers, Feinstein, Wm. Pagel, J. Stitt Wilson
(a wonderful orator who spoke many times for the
Fellowship); Fred Maes, Frona Ernst (long time secretary).
Among the more recent to pass away: Robert Bolton, Harvey
Staats, Wm. Merz, Scotty Learmont,
W. David Brown,
Al Hanson, Ted Boutelier, Eric Lind, Harry McLellan (husband
of Jessie Bradley), C. A. Benson, Frances Frazier, Professor
Max Radin, Myrtle Maddy and Mrs. Chaput. We all worked
hard and together at the
to further the interest of
in order to build a saner society
and eventually a warless world.
Mrs. Herbert T. (Karen) Johnson
A. D. Faupell
was the Leader. His talk that morning was about the
Norse Trilogy, and since I am of Swedish ancestry and
familiar with Swedish music, friends of mine (members at the
time) asked me to sing a few Swedish songs for the program.
I was impressed with the way in which Mr.
paralleled the Norse trilogy with that of Christian and
other religions, past and present.
I’ve thought a lot about my past acquaintance with the
Fellowship and my recollections are rather sparse, to say
the least. My first introduction to the Fellowship was
as a guest singer when
Some time later, when Herb and I were discussing our wedding
plans, we agreed that only Mr.
should perform our marriage ceremony. As Herb knew a
minister who had handled an estate badly and gone to prison
as a result, he mentioned hearing another minister on the
radio one Sunday morning, who must have been “Humanist,"
because you could understand everything the man said, and he
made no idle promises. When I told him about Mr.
this settled the matter immediately.
An interesting sidelight about what followed — Herb and I
made all the necessary and proper arrangements (we thought)
so that the ceremony could be held on Friday morning, May
30, 1941. On Monday of that week we appeared at the
County Clerk’s Office to apply for our marriage license.
We were informed that the license would be ready on Friday,
but, since Friday was a holiday and the office was not open
on weekends, we would have to wait until Monday June 2nd to
pick it up. Needless to say, we were quite upset,
inasmuch as we hadn’t realized the three-day wait meant
three days between the day of application and the day of
delivery. Finally, the County Clerk offered a
solution. If Mr.
would come to the
Clerk’s office and sign an affidavit that he would not
perform the ceremony until Friday morning, we could pick up
the license Thursday night. This he did — and we’ve
been forever grateful for his thoughtfulness.
After we had been married a short time, Mr.
asked if I would sing at another Fellowship service.
This time the program was about China and at that time 1
sang Chee Lai and some other songs appropriate
to the occasion. This service was held in the present
I cannot recall the place where the first meeting I attended
Mrs. Lucy H. Johnson
in Its Early Days — Though I had
heard of the
A. D. Faupell
had started in Piedmont, Paul and I attended, for the first
time I have a record of, on Sunday, July 6, 1941, when
Monroe Friedman, as guest speaker, addressed the group
meeting in Daughters of Norway Hall. Mr.
instead of doing all of the speaking himself, frequently
presented speakers with special knowledge or
thought-provoking ideas. The following Sunday,
however, July 27, 1941, he made a talk which so impressed my
husband, Prof. Paul L. Hibbard, and me, that we signed the
becoming members, and thereafter attended as regularly as we
well could, taking with us Mrs. Margaret Harrison, Mrs.
Eugenie C. Biolettti, and other friends when they could go.
On August 10, 1941, my sister, Dr. Minna E. Jewell, while
visiting us went with us. On Sept. 7, 1941, Mr.
as first of a series on
Mankind Uprooted spoke of
Schopenhauer and Nietzsche.
On October 12, 1941, I drove with Paul and Mrs. Margaret
Harrison past the place which was to be the permanent home
of the Fellowship at 411 - 28th Street, Oakland, which had
been purchased with a bequest left the organization by a
deceased member, while on our way to Norway Hall where the
meeting was still held. But the members were eager for
the new place and did much to put yard and building in
order. One day a large group of them met and under
guidance of a stone mason — I think his name was Miller —
split off slabs from large stones to use in building the
fireplace, patio and walks. A photograph was taken of
the party with Jessie Bradley at the wheelbarrow, which I
have seen in a book at the Fellowship. Each of us
split off at least one slab, but our mason planned the work
and did much in carrying out the plans. Many worked on
the wooden building to clean and repair it,
contributing his skill as a plumber. My husband, whose
field in chemistry was plant nutrition, and who was a lover
of growing things, became head of the Garden Committee.
E. O. Corson,
whose business was pest control, sprayed the trees. On
October 26, 1941 we attended the Dedication ceremonies at
which Rabbi Stearn of the Reform Synagogue gave a fine
address, stressing the social message of the prophets.
The building was well filled and everyone enthusiastic.
was a man of intellectual integrity and a winsome and
friendly personality who was an inspiration to those
gathered about him. He had been a Methodist minister,
and in his work had to take frequent rides on the train.
He observed the “news butcher” carried paper bound books and
called out — “Heaven with Moody” (a popular preacher) or
He always chose Heaven, but someway felt unsatisfied.
One time he found a book by
left on the seat and out of curiosity started to read it.
The beauty of the language and the nobility of the
sentiments was a revelation to him. He read more of
and read many scholarly commentators on the Bible, which led
him to feel that the social message of Jesus had been
diluted and sidestepped by the accretion of pagan material,
the sacrificial idea, etc. He brought out the contrast
between the teachings of Jesus and the Pauline and
Constantinian doctrines, which made him their symbol.
He could no longer with honesty preach the “old time
religion.” So he started to preach what he felt to be
Paul derived much satisfaction from hearing him, until his
advancing deafness, helped only to a slight extent by three
successive hearing aids, made him feel thwarted by his
futile efforts to hear. Then he would go outside and
work in the garden with the plants he loved. Sometimes
I took him there and worked with him on other days of the
week, and others were helpful until blooming flowers
bordered the walk on both sides from the gate to the
building, trees and shrubs were well pruned and fertilized,
and the neglected garden became a beauty spot. We
attended a pot luck dinner of the Fellowship on November 16,
1941, before dishes and other necessary equipment had been
acquired; then on January 14, 1942, the Fellowship put on a
big turkey dinner at which
250 were present.
Death claimed a number of our able members. On March
11, 1942, Mrs. Walter Kennon was the victim of a heart
attack, leaving five growing children, the youngest only six
years of age. On September 27, 1943, the beautiful
voice of Margaret Harrison, which could carry the alto for
the whole congregation, was stilled, and her tireless work
for the things she believed good, which she carried on
without sparing herself though well past seventy yielded to
a worn out heart. On Saturday, October 14, 1944, Mrs.
Lawrence McCray also died as one in harness, having two
evenings before attended a meeting of the Democratic County
Central Committee with me. Mr. Roberts, who conducted
the singing ably, could no longer continue the work.
He was succeeded by Mr. Hinds, who had a good voice but
little training. On August 28, 1943, my husband Paul
suffered a slight stroke. He recovered his ability to
walk without dragging his foot, and worked in the Fellowship
garden, but from that time on failed in many ways, and
subsequent strokes rendered him helpless in 1946. He
died March 14, 1947.
On January 9, 1944, a pot luck dinner at the Fellowship and
the annual election took place.
had sprung up among the members regarding
control of the
and whether Mr.
should be given permanent tenure as Leader. I stood
in backing Mr.
control. But on January 15, 1944 he suffered a stroke
that destroyed his ability to speak. His wife worked
heroically to re-train him in speaking, utilizing undamaged
nerve centers for producing speech, but this took time.
At the meeting on Sunday, January 16, 1944, Mr.
conducted a symposium by Mrs. Allen,
John Walters, Mr. Loud, and Mr. Chesterman. The next
Sunday when Walter Packard spoke on the Central Valley
Project, Messrs. Walters, Chesterman, Kightlinger
and Leslie were absent. For a time, without Mr.
to unify the group, there was much
On Sunday, April 9, 1944, Mr.
spoke for the first time since his stroke, introducing the
Hugh Robert Orr.
On July 23, 1944, he acted as speaker, giving a book review,
and on August 13, 1944, spoke on
Though perhaps less fluent than formerly, he had profited by
much time for thinking and seemed especially understanding.
The following Sunday Mr.
The First Nudist Colony and its Sudden Demise
(Eden). Then John Stirratt
Then word came that Mr.
was worse again and confined to bed. He never spoke
Though thereafter we had many able speakers, particularly
Hugh Robert Orr,
who later became Leader, a man of brilliant intellect and
fine personality, the
There were notable exceptions as on Sunday, January 14,
1945, when Tom Roberts told of his life as a union leader,
and that evening the Free World Day dinner was put on by
Lawrence McCray. Though 81 years of age he stuffed
huge turkeys and baked them, managed coffee and many
details, assisted by Jessie Pedrick,
Hinds, and others. Over
230 were served
at only 50¢ a plate. Anga Bjornson presided; Dr.
George Hedley of Mills College, Judge Louis Hardie and M.
Anderson Thomas spoke, besides “minute men.” In spite
of having worked for 48 hours, Lawrence McCray addressed the
group in a strong voice. He lived a year and a half
longer, dying July 13, 1946.
As Secretary Mr.
E. O. Corson
gave loyal support to Mr.
both before and during his illness. I remember what
looked like a big thermometer which he set up, with the
column rising as funds accumulated until it reached the
amount of the mortgage on the
home, which they celebrated with a mortgage burning party.
Being President of the Fellowship was to him a first
attainment of importance. He was large and strong and
made a fair success of his pest control business. My
first husband, Paul Hibbard, who was a chemist in the
Division of Plant Nutrition at the University of California,
helped him with advice, but since Mr.
had never studied chemistry and had
no understanding of the chemicals he used, my husband could
only give him recipes and rule of thumb. Mrs. Corson,
besides raising a family, acted as his secretary, clerk and
On May 18, 1947, he showed me correspondence he had with a
candidate for Leader to succeed Mr.
though that same day George Smart, head of the Fellowship
Memorial Association called a meeting to consider policies
which, with the
in the membership, augured ill for raising a salary.
a well educated man, a former college teacher, spoke to us
first on August 3, 1947, introducing himself, his wife and
two little boys and giving a brief account of his life, and
especially of teaching school in a colony of fanatical
Dukhobors (followers of Tolstoi). Under him, the
Fellowship was affiliated with the
We had many excellent speakers besides Mr.
and was tense with
for and against
One occasion for dissatisfaction was the change of name of
the organization from “Fellowship
On January 18, 1948, we met after a luncheon to consider a
in the chair ruled out of order everything the congregation
attempted to do. Only Mr. Kruger backed him.
People became so
whacked his gavel and threatened to send for the
to him to do it. Finally he adjourned the meeting, but
immediately they reconvened it with Mr. Smart as temporary
chairman and Mr.
as secretary. Mr.
was made chairman. In an orderly way, we all
considered the new
paragraph by paragraph with only
On August 1, 1948, Mr.
celebrated his anniversary of coming
to Oakland and the Fellowship with an address on
Afterward we met to plan a three-day peace conference, the
women planning food and where to obtain it. On August
29th, 1948, I attended a committee meeting on the
and election. It appeared that George Smart, with no
consultation with other members of the
inserted a provision which would
make the property
and mimeographed and mailed the copies to all members.
After the morning service and pot luck lunch, in the absence
of a secretary, since Oscar Haugen was ill, Mr.
at the annual meeting of the Fellowship August 29, 1948 — a
one for Mr.
Clarence Rust to back him — chaired the meeting and also
took the floor, an
procedure. Finally he
adjourned the meeting in spite of a no vote, whereupon Vice
called to order, after Mr.
appealed from the decision of the Chair. Under his
chairmanship the new
was soon adopted and the election held. All other
nominees of the Nominating Committee were elected by
overwhelming majorities, but though
a small vote,
there was a close race between Mr. Crocker, the Committee
nominee, an able man of judicial temperament and modesty,
who was one of the original group of members, and Mr.
A. R. Mueller,
a later comer. I had known him years before in
Berkeley. A small group pushed for him, with the
result that there was a run-off between him and Mr. Crocker,
who was ill and absent, in which he edged out Crocker by one
On advice of a new member of the Board, Mr. C. W. Johnson, a
a resolution was passed requesting Mr.
to return the Fellowship
in his possession. The next Sunday I found that Mr.
had not carried out the resolution passed by the Board of
Directors, asking Mr.
to return to the new officers the
held by the former officers, but had arranged a
chaired at first by Miss Anga Bjornsen, to elect six
members, three of the
and three of the
to thresh out the differences with Rev. Cope of the Berkeley
Unitarian Church and Prof. Rowell as co-moderators.
Mr. Rust, and Miss Bjornson were chosen vs. Mr.
Mr. Mathews, and me. This only opened the way for a
and weakened our
To me, the issue
seemed to be whether an organization has a
to vote into
office the ones it wishes,
or whether one already in office holds permanent tenure
regardless of the vote of the congregation. Mr.
at the first conciliation meeting, held at the Unitarian
Church in Berkeley, being delayed in arriving and very
tired, denounced Mr.
in a way that seemed to throw Rev. Cope’s sympathies to Mr.
while Prof. Rowell stood with the elected officers.
After a few meetings, Mr.
and Mr. Rust took the case to
of people whom no one at the Fellowship had seen there.
I was left as secretary with the necessity of notifying all
members of meetings or business but
files or roll book.
I collected what lists I could find among the congregation.
On Saturday, October 30, 1948, at the farewell dinner for
who had worked devotedly with the Fellowship in spite of
small remuneration, about $100 was raised. Prof.
Rowell spoke and Mrs. Mathews and Mrs. Shivers played a
piano duet — Liszt’s 6th Hungarian Rhapsody.
The Sunday following Mr.
delivered his final sermon.
On November 14, 1948, after the meeting and lunch at the
Fellowship, I went on an errand to Professor Rowell’s, but
car trouble made me get back ten minutes late, just as
and his group were leaving the hall to hold a meeting in the
patio. I kept the minutes for the meeting which
followed — a continuation of the meetings of Sept. 19 and
Sept. 26, and Mrs. Fincken sent me minutes of the first part
of the meeting which I missed. I completed it with a
few details from Messrs.
Smart, Markland, and
and embodied it in the minutes. Then I got other
documents of Mr. Smart which I fastened in the same folder,
which I turned over to Mr. Edises for his associate
Mr. Truehaft. With the help of Mrs. Ernst, who typed
duplicate stickers of the addresses I furnished her, I got
out a letter, drafted by Mr.
and me, and a
On Thursday, January 13, 1949, Mr.
and I went to lay
the case of the
before Mr. A. D. Ericksen, whom I
had known well in political work. Though a Mormon
bishop, he took the case for only $250 because of his
interest in and affection for Mr.
Afterward we went to see
J. Regan Talbot. Mr. C. W. Johnson was with him and
came out with us and took us to lunch at Capwell’s Market
nearby. That was the beginning of an association
between him and me that developed as the
progressed and Fellowship
I cut a stencil for a turkey dinner for February 12, 1949,
typed endlessly on addresses for files and to sticker
envelopes, and spent an afternoon with Mr.
working over a letter to be sent out with the Turkey Dinner
and February program announcements. I stenciled it, in
the evening Mrs. Dickie and I mimeographed it, and the
tickets for the dinner on the old, primitive, hand-turned
and hand-inked machine of the Berkeley Democratic Club were
printed. I spent several days going over minutes and
papers and putting them in labeled folders or envelopes.
I conferred with Messrs. Mathews, Smart, Fincken, and
Markland at the Fellowship, telephoned for
signers of the
statement of attendance
on Sept. 19, 1948, and signed them up at the Sunday meeting
February 6,1949, and with Mr. Mathews’ help
got a good number.
At that meeting the Board met and Mr. Ericksen read his
brief, comparing it with
and showing the basis for
On Saturday, February 12, 1949, I finished typing the
minutes in duplicate, getting done in time to pick up Mrs.
Dickie and Mrs. Tabler to go to the Fellowship Turkey
Dinner. It was a big success;
and though all were served, little was left over. $125
above expenses was reported from the dinner and a $25
collection, but the women of the dinner committee surely
worked hard for it. Mrs. Tabler helped much of the
time after we arrived.
On Sunday, after the Fellowship meeting, the Board of
Directors and witnesses met with Mr. Ericksen, who
questioned Mr. Lind, Miss Anna Meyer, and Mr. Smart.
On Tuesday, February 15, 1949,
case came to
Clarence Rust (Corson’s
introduced a lot of earlier minutes, then skipped over
September 19, 1948 to September 28, 1948 (when
had Mr. Haugen write minutes) and November 14, 1948.
Before it finished he had Judge Hoyt grinning. He had
some notes he claimed to have written Sept. 19, 1948, but
Judge Hoyt told him they were of use only to refresh his
memory and could not be introduced as evidence since he was
not secretary and a secretary had been appointed. On
Monday, February 21, 1949, I went again to
but was not called on since the whole time was taken
with regard to the “members”
for whom he had
signatures on cards.
I went next when the
again convened on Monday, February 28, 1949. Afterward
I checked the
list of names
he gave as those who met in the patio Nov. 14, 1948, with
and checked until 2:00 P.M. when the court reconvened and I
had to stop —
40 names in all.
again on March 1, 1949, Mr.
finished his testimony and Miss Ange Bjornson was
questioned. She finished the following day.
Rust called Mr. Walter
Gordon and Mr.
— neither helped him that I could see, and Anga did not
stick to facts. Then he rested his case. Mr.
Ericksen did some cross questioning, and then called me.
The judge admitted my minutes up to the time Mr.
left, in evidence, those after as an exhibit, saying they
are not official, since Mr.
did not appoint me as secretary and
appointment terminated when he left the chair. I told
the contents of the minutes during Mr.
chairmanship in response to questioning.
On Monday, March 7, 1949, I finished as a witness, then Mr.
was put on the stand. Mr. Rust
him with regard to a book,
Crimes Against Russia,
which he reviewed at the Fellowship.
He testified that he did so at Mr.
request and it was Mr.
who chose the book. He is not and has never been a
The following Wednesday Messrs.
Smart, Nicolaysen, and Mathews testified, also Holland
Roberts. On Thursday, March 10, 1949, Mr. Ericksen had
me present the first minutes I typed together with the
changes made in them. On Tuesday, March 29, 1949, I
drove to the
with Mrs. Kerchen, Mrs. Dickie, and
Mrs. Tabler, and heard the pleas, first of Mr. Rust, and a
clear, well-documented and forceful summarizing of
by Mr. A. D. Ericksen, concluding
with an eloquent defense of the right to think and learn.
We heard from Mr. Ericksen that Judge Hoyt will rule
— ours and Mr.
in the patio —
On Monday, April 4, 1949, Mr. Clabe W. Johnson and I, who
had become very fond of each other during our work for the
Fellowship during its
drove to Reno, Nevada where we were married. After a
short honeymoon driving about the gold mining regions on our
return trip, we reached home Thursday, April 7, 1949.
Next afternoon we attended a conference with Mr. Ericksen to
plan strategy for the coming election of the Fellowship.
On Sunday, April 17, 1949, with flowers and a cake I baked,
Clabe and I went to the Fellowship. Mr.
gave a good talk on
The Meaning of Easter.
Then we had a pot luck luncheon at which Clabe and 1 were
honored by wedding cakes baked by Mrs. Mueller and Mrs.
Giltsch. They gave us one with a bride and groom to
At the business meeting it was arranged that I should get
with the help of Mr. Smart and Mr. Kightlinger — who was
back with us for the first time since he left the Fellowship
after the January 16, 1944 meeting — and get others to
contact as many as possible. We met Mr. Kightlinger in
his real estate office, and I went over his copy of the
up to the date over five years ago, copying it, checking it
from which I also copied the later names and addresses.
In that part I noticed names written over erasures.
One was Dittmar’s and the name of C. W. Johnson was gone
I also copied former secretary Haugen’s
typing them on duplicate stickers for mailing and for
pasting on cards for a file, for that purpose adding their
number in the
and telephone number. Then I made telephone lists to
pass to members for them to contact.
I stenciled a letter, and the Court Decision, also
credential sheet, and prepared the mailing, using care to
send to members only. The
was 87 for me,
86, Bjornsen and Hinds each 59. Afterward the Board
reconvened, elected Mr.
1st Vice President, Mr. Mathews 2nd Vice President, Mr.
Smart Treasurer, and me Secretary; then appointed May 29,
1949, to elect a President. At the 11 o’clock meeting
led a Memorial Day service, at which he spoke appropriately
Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address
beautifully, while Mr.
presided. Mrs. Ernst and Mr. Hinds then paid tribute
After a lunch, we assembled for the election. Mr.
was elected by a 51 to 0 vote.
The evening of May 31, 1949, we attended a peace meeting led
by Alfred Gonsalves at the Fellowship in the patio before
the fireplace. In spite of the fire it was
uncomfortably chilly, but the meeting progressed well.
Mr. Clarence Tobey and Mr. C. R. Vickland were among the
speakers. As we were about to leave, Clabe was called
on and although he had made no preparation, he was so well
informed that he gave a forceful talk on
The Fraud of the Atlantic Pact
which stirred the audience so that they rose. The
group later became the
Bay Area Peace
with Clabe as President and Mrs.
Frances Capelle, an earnest young mother, as secretary.
The executive committee usually met with us. Though
not a part of the Fellowship, the groups overlapped and
On Thursday, June 2, 1949, we attended the funeral of Ira
Ross, brother of Mrs. Jessie Pedrick. As he was
driving back to Fresno, he apparently lost consciousness and
swerved into the wrong lane head on against a huge truck.
and his group did not come to the next Fellowship meeting,
but on the following Sunday June 12, 1949,
Kruger, Newman, and three women of
were present and
tried to take the chair, declaring that the
had given him the presidency until September. Mr.
instead of calling on the Speaker to take the floor, tried
long arguments and made a sounding board for
Then he lost nerve and left the platform, but
came forward and saved the situation. The speaker left
because of the
came — Newman had telephoned for them —
but Mrs. Ernst showed them a copy of it and on seeing the
Newman, and Kruger out of the premises.
came when, on July 21, 1949 we received a pack of
from Mr. Dittmar. I knew him previously as a member of
the Democratic County Central Committee, who worked entirely
with old age pensioners, attending all of their meetings and
obtaining their signatures and addresses on petitions for
which the politician or interest who employed him paid so
much per name. Mr.
and others added 5 more cards he had put out as
entitling them to
in the Fellowship, making
in all. We again employed Mr. Ericksen to
us. He dictated a letter to present at the Directors
meeting and send in returning the cards. Before
returning I copied the names and addresses on the Dittmar,
Newman, and Ormsby cards.
On Sunday, Sept. 11, 1949, Clabe spoke at the Fellowship on
Conceptions and Their Relation to Human Welfare.
He was bothered by violent coughing after an asthmatic night
until Mathews brought him water. After that he went
along well but did best after he abandoned his manuscript.
About 50 were present. All listened and many expressed
appreciation. The following day we drove with George
Smart and A. D. Ericksen to the Naval Supply Base, where we
were joined by Mr. and Mrs. Mathews, Carrie Brandenburg,
and Miss Anna Meier, who worked at
the base, in her hearing before the Loyalty Board, with
Ericksen as her counsel, the rest of us witnesses.
All was very secret.
We were called one at a time, Walters first, then
I was next to last and Smart last.
Afterward Ericksen seemed well satisfied with the results,
though the verdict exonerating her came some time later.
This is an example of the
tactics used to
harass the Fellowship by gossip against a loyal member.
On Sunday, September 18, 1949, the day scheduled for the
Annual Election, Mr.
was absent. Mr. Ericksen had Mr.
convene the meeting at 2:00 P.M. and presented a resolution
to adjourn the annual election meeting until October 16,
1949. It passed unanimously since the
group agreed. In spite of the
new members had joined
the Fellowship, for whom I mailed
and placed their names and addresses in the files.
During the weeks following, I was kept busy with typewriter,
mimeograph, etc. copying lists in duplicates, and other
papers for Mr. Ericksen, sending out notices, and using a
rubber stamp “A
On Wednesday, October 5, 1949, the case of Dittmar vs
was opened at 10:00 A.M. Mr. Ericksen, whom we had
re-employed, made a fine work of marshalling
— showed the law to be clearly in our favor, but Judge Hoyt
tentatively decided to admit all
as well as the
— in spite of a
that in a voluntary association, no person can claim
membership unless accepted, and
no court can make
an organization accept members it does not choose to have.
On October 6, 1949, I was placed on the stand by Mr. Lercara,
He questioned me with regard to notification of members,
speaking accusingly because he had not been notified though
his name is on the
I testified that Mr. Lercara had come when a Candidate for
office a number of years ago to solicit votes and then had
but I had not seen him there since; also that I had received
from my predecessor, Oscar Haugen, who I presumed, had
complied with the
but that Mr. Lercara’s name was not on the list.
Judge Hoyt, who
acted as if he were counsel for the plaintiff, ruled against
I had to add the Dittmar and
114 names to the list to whom I sent all notices, already
running into many hundreds.
On October 16, 1949, after a baked ham dinner the evening
before which raised some funds for our
gave a talk on
The Worth and Price of a Liberal.
Then a number of us got together and decided, since
friends were present, to
the meeting until November 13, 1949, with no other action
than dispensing with the minutes and treasurer’s report.
On November 13, 1949, after Prof. Rowell spoke on
Traditions and Myths, giving both their undesirable
and valid features, the deferred election meeting convened
in order to
until December 11, 1949, when we met to
to January 8, 1950,
thus keeping alive
the annual election.
The members signed a letter I wrote thanking Mrs. Kower for
the gift of her piano. On December 17, 1949, two days
was to begin, Clabe,
and I conferred with Mr. Ericksen with regard to a proposal
Lercara that a
be made out of court. He
we should make. That evening a turkey dinner was held
at the Fellowship, over 100 attending, after which the Labor
School Chorus presented
The Yellow River Cantata,
a Chinese revolutionary work written in 1938, and other
selections as encores, followed by a dance. Sunday,
the Board of Directors — Mathews, Smart,
and I, excepting
who was absent and had already seen him — conferred with Mr.
Ericksen to consider the offer made by Lercara.
On January 29, 1950 I delivered a lecture on
The Bible as a Cultural Document.
The people seemed interested and quite a group came up to
talk with me afterward, and in the question period there
were a number of good questions which enabled me to amplify
my presentation of the various states of cultural
development in Palestine and the surrounding peoples.
I was pleased with Mr. Lind’s response. Before he had
assumed 1 would hand out the “old time religion.” On
January 31, 1950 we attended the funeral of Mrs. Beatrice
Shivers, a much loved member; and on February 20th of Mrs.
Kower, who had given her piano to the Fellowship. On
March 19, 1950, Mr.
gave a fine address on
The Threat of Catholicism to American Freedom.
A business meeting followed. Then on Sunday, April 2,
1950, we met with Mr. Ericksen, who could get nothing out of
until September 1950.
Until that time I would have to continue sending out monthly
inactive and unknown names on the Membership Roll
and those added by Dittmar and others and
allowed by the
for since the original
signing the roll
qualification for membership,
until we could adopt a constitutional amendment making some
other qualification, we were
to send notices to all we could not prove were dead.
The Fellowship had acquired the Addresserette held by Oscar
Haugen, so I cut many stencils for it. Later, on April
30, 1950, Mr. Ericksen met with us on a compromise prepared
by Lercara on the Dittmar case, to which we agreed but
nothing came of it, so on May 21, 1950, he moved to bring
the case to
After more correspondence with Lercara by Ericksen, the
Board decided to have him go ahead with the compromise.
Mr. Dittmar presented
objections to 17
of ours. Afterward, on July 13, 1950, I finished work
excepting for a little tabbing of deceased persons. On
July 17, 1950, Clabe went with Mathews, Smart, and me,
representing the Board of Directors, to the Supervisors’
office to protest the
levying of taxes
on the Fellowship. The hearing was put off because of
Afterward we discussed strategy with Ericksen apropos of a
letter from Lercara in which he said the
would be dissolved but disallowing our 17 members. We
decided to go ahead and
let them sue
if they would. On July 20, 1950, Dittmar called up to
say he had in Lercara’s office a bunch of
and $4.60 which he wished to turn in. I told him
yesterday was the deadline; they were too late according to
On Sunday, July 30, 1950, after Mr.
This Plundered Planet
at the Fellowship meeting, the Board of Directors held a
specially called meeting with Mr. Ericksen, at which it was
decided to send notices to the Dittmar group, but to state
on them that this did not qualify any voter, but that
inspectors of election would pass on them; to put Dittmar
and me and one other in the place of inspectors — two to
Besides my concern for the Fellowship, I had for some time
been concerned regarding Clabe’s health. In spite of
my eliminating allergens as far as possible from his diet
and the house, his asthma kept growing worse. On
August 3, 1950, I drove with him to Chico to try the valley
climate; then to Paradise in the foothills; then to Clear
Lake, returning Monday, August 7th, but we found no climate
that seemed to benefit him.
At the meeting August 27, 1950, David Sarvis gave a factual
presentation on the
Later the Nominating Committee decided on
for President, Fincken and Mathews to succeed themselves,
and Al Gonsalves and Lind to succeed Haugen and Smart.
Later Mrs. Ernst objected determinedly to leaving out Smart,
and some called Bradley and Gonsalves
which they were not. Mrs. Bradley was an artist, and
like many artists was a bit “Bohemian,”
that is, informal of manner, and so was Theodore.
Gonsalves was devoutly religious with a Catholic background
— a man who lived his beliefs regardless of cost to himself
— as much as anyone I have known, but his desire for what he
considered good, at times clouded his judgment, making him
work for hopeless causes really thinking they could win.
Lind was emotionally rationalist and anti-Catholic. On
September 10, under Mrs. Ernst’s urging, the nominating
committee, with Clabe dissenting, reversed itself,
for President, Mathews, Fincken, Smart, and Crocker.
The Fellowship annual election finally came off on Sunday,
Sept. 17, 1950. With lists, ballots, etc. locked in
the ballot box we drove to the Fellowship.
held forth, then turned the meeting over to
as pre-arranged, who introduced Mathews and me.
Mathews recounted the financial and social side, I, the
speakers of the year. After a hasty “pot luck” the
election convened. Dittmar, Rust and Lercara
marshalled their forces as best they might, but could muster
28 legitimate votes,
though 33 (a few of them our supporters) were disqualified
and denied ballots.
We won 110 to 28
on most of the candidates — one 109 to 29; and the
amendments both passed.
Afterward when the Board met, I resigned as secretary, Sept.
17, 1950. I had already stenciled a letter according
to the amended
and on Monday afternoon we drove to Mrs. Dickie’s and
mimeographed it. At 3:00 P.M. we had a “stuffing
party” at the Fellowship, where Mathews, Mrs. Ernst, Mrs.
Bradley, Mrs. Groth, Harry McLellan, and I stickered the
envelopes and arranged them alphabetically, then copied the
names, stuffed them, then stamped, sorted, counted and tied.
Ted Boutelier served us soup he is famous for making. Then
we drove to Berkeley where we mailed the cancellations —
in all. I explained to Mathews and in part to Harry
and Mrs. Ernst the contents of the boxes I left, and was
glad to leave to Mrs. Ernst, who was to be my successor, the
Addresserette with a file of stencils cleared of cancelled
names, for the
so that her work would be much easier than mine had been.
On Tuesday evening, Sept. 19, 1950, Clabe and 1 attended a
meeting of the
where Clabe made a fine farewell address and everyone spoke
appreciatively of us. A leaflet on
Korea and China
was presented and discussed; then returned to the committee
for revision and mimeographing. Friends of the
Fellowship and the Peace Committee entertained us at dinner,
and on Sept. 30, 1950, the Fellowship held a victory dinner
in my honor, where Mr. Mathews presented me with a fine
suitcase. On October 3rd, 1950, we set out for the
Mojave desert in southeastern California, arriving at the
little town of Joshua Tree next forenoon. Since Glabe
found breathing easier than in Berkeley, we bought an acre
tract on the edge of Yucca Valley on October 27, setting out
for home Sunday, October 29th, 1950. A few weeks
later, Mrs. Fincken called me up to tell me that Mr. Kruger,
whose membership had been cancelled, and Mrs. Ernst went to
asked him why he went to the Fellowship; was he in sympathy
with their objectives? He said it was his patriotic
make them trouble.
he wasn’t a member
he had no right to go
without an invitation.
He said George Smart had invited him!
Mrs. Ernst (who had been responsible for Smart’s nomination
to succeed himself) told Smart a-plenty.
While I was in the throes of breaking up my home in
Berkeley, packing for the move to Yucca Valley, we continued
to work with committees of the Fellowship considering new
Leaving our apartment rented, as well as the one below it,
we set out in an overloaded car on the afternoon of February
1, 1951, arriving at Yucca Valley on the 3rd. Until we
could build our house, for which I had remade my plans and
had them blue printed, we lived in one side of a duplex.
On May 28, 1951, while I was at work varnishing the interior
knotty pine walls, Al Gonsalves together with his son and
nephew — both in their early teens — drove up in his truck
bringing the furniture and goods we had left stored in the
basement of our Berkeley house. We had the goods put
in the finished bedroom and set up beds for the three to
spend the night. It was good to see Gonsalves and
receive news of the Fellowship.
On September 12, 1951, we drove to Oakland to spend a week
with friends and attend the Fellowship election scheduled
for September 16th. Mrs. Jessie Bradley and son
Theodore, showed us the hospitality of their new home.
Theodore, though hunch-backed and badly deformed, since one
side grew while the other did not, had done the building
even to plumbing and wiring (which had passed inspection)
with only his mother to help him. While there, I
assisted Mrs. Bradley and Mrs. Pedrick in making up and
pleating a new curtain for the stage of the Fellowship,
which Theodore and Harry McLellan put up on a specially
constructed transverse rod. At a Fellowship dinner,
which Mrs. Mueller managed on Saturday evening, Sept. 15,
1951, we met many friends, and afterward the A.S.P. Players
put on Chekov’s
and a tragedy about war.
Then word came that Dittmar et al had secured an
the next day’s election.
We attended the Sunday meeting, but no election could be
held. On Tuesday evening Clabe spoke to a meeting of
the Peace Committee. We were invited to luncheons and
dinners and Clabe was lionized and called on to speak until
he was worn out and hardly in condition to make the return
trip on the 20th. On December 12, 1951, Jessie Bradley
and Theodore drove to our house, guided by Thelma Barth,
whom Theodore recognized as a girl who had not shied away
because of his deformity — now a hard working, hard pressed
mother of two sons she had raised while a widow. In
spite of his balding, she saw in him the boy she had known
years ago in Oakland. Mrs. Bradley was about sick with
a cold and sore eyes but after a day was well enough to
enjoy being shown the sights of the desert, and a trip to
Desert Hot Springs to see Rose Giltsch, who was a Fellowship
member who came to the desert shortly before Clabe and I
did. They set out for home on Jan. 18, 1952, and in
the year to follow, we were again their guests when we
visited the Fellowship and many old friends of the Bay Area
The following year on a visit to the Fellowship hall on
October 19, 1952, we noticed that it had been attractively
re-decorated with paint and new curtains — Mrs. Bradley’s
planning — and there was a complete set of attractive lights
from the ceiling. A goodly audience heard Clabe’s
The Origin and Development of the Constitution of the
in which he presented the clash of opinions of the various
members of the Convention, and the historic basis of the
ideas embodied in the resultant compromises. After a
luncheon, we attended the business meeting at which Mr.
Dittmar and Mrs. Ormsby were
The following month, on November 22, 1952, Mrs. Bradley and
Theodore came to our house bringing Harry McLellan, who had
been stricken with asthma and was looking badly. They
had made the trip for his health to the Mountain View Rest
Home near San Jacinto. While they were here, we
awakened to more than a foot of snow which thrilled them.
The dry air and higher altitude improved Harry’s health.
He came here several times later, once bringing Mrs.
Marguerite Roselle of the Fellowship; another time helping
me build a car shelter and tool shed combination. He
was always cheerful and helpful.
During that year and the years following, we enjoyed many
visits from the Fellowship and
groups — Mr. and Mrs. Capelle, her sister Mrs. Valeri
Lounkin and daughter Louise — a lovely child; Miss Anna
Meier, A. E. (Ted) Boutelier; Myrtle Dickie; Mr. and Mrs.
Clarence Vickland; Mrs. Janet Faupell Baker and Mr. Baker;
Jack Morton and Hazel Richberger who soon afterward were
married. On March 5, 1953, Jessie Bradley suffered a
stroke which disabled her badly. On the forenoon of
May 26, Theodore Bradley, Ted Boutelier, and George Mayer
who drove Theodore’s car, came from the Mountain View Rest
Home, where Jessie was a nursing patient while they occupied
cottages. Theodore looked shockingly ill, but was
anxious to see Thelma Barth, whom he planned to marry as
soon as well enough. A letter from Harry McLellan
wished us to care for Theodore here, but we replied that he
should be near a doctor, and probably in a lower altitude.
On Monday, June 1, we drove to the Mountain View Rest Home
and saw Mrs. Shaw, who cared for the patients there, with
Mrs. Bradley, whose mind at times seemed normal and bright,
then confused, vague, forgetful. Theodore was then in
the hospital at Hemet. A week later, June 8, Thelma
Barth told us that Theodore had died at the hospital the
night before. Two days later, at the funeral in a
Hemet funeral parlor, poor, brokenhearted Jessie Bradley sat
supported between Thelma Barth and Mrs. Shaw while a
preacher droned the usual cant. She said, “Theodore
wouldn’t like that.” Later Harry McLellan, who felt
grateful to Mrs. Bradley for help she had given him while
ill, married her and took her to her home (though he was
young enough to be her son) while she was helpless and in
her uncomfortable state, always wished to be some other
place than where she was.
The last time Clabe and I visited Berkeley was in March
1954, when we went to conclude the sale of my old home.
On March 14th we attended the Fellowship and were greeted
warmly by many old friends — Bolton, Mathews, Morton, the
Avedik, Staats, etc. We were told that Jessie Bradley
McLellan had suffered another stroke the night before, which
impaired her speech. Leo Huberman made an excellent
speech in which he pulled no punches. He was editor of
and former Columbia professor. He showed up the
McCarthy Policy of Terror
— and that it aimed at breaking labor unions, and that the
millionaire labor leaders like Dave Beck, who talk of
harmony of interests between labor and capital, are phonies.
At the McLellan (Bradley) home, Harry told us of Jessie’s
stroke and that she was in a rest home near the lake.
We later visited her there on the 19th. She was able
to speak fairly well but wished to go home, which the doctor
would not yet permit. On March 21, 1954 we attended
the Fellowship for the last time together. Clarence
Vickland presided and Mr. Eden, former economic advisor to
the C.I.O. spoke on
The Present Situation of Capital and Labor.
My husband was never able to visit the Bay region again, but
after his death June 18, 1962, with the help of his son, I
wrote a brief biography of him and compiled a book of as
many of his writings as I could find with it as an
introduction. I printed the book on a spirit
duplicator and bound it in brief covers; then took a number
of them to his old friends of the Fellowship. With
Myrtle Dickie and Lillie Tabler I drove to the Fellowship on
Dec. 2, 1962. I left books for Dr.
Lind and the library. I had given one to Ted
Boutelier, who seemed to be near death, tall frame gaunt,
eyes sunken, he sat in a nursing home. He said he
would leave the book to Harry McLellan. Dr. Frances
Herring gave an informative talk about a peace convention in
Ghana, where she met Nkruma and learned much about the
country and its problems and advances.
Once more I have visited Oakland and Berkeley and attended
the Fellowship, first taking my carload of books for their
library, since I had to dispose of them before going to live
with my sisters in Florida. On Thursday, October 20,
when I drove in, Harry McLellan opened the gate and guided
me; then enlisted another man to help and they unloaded the
heavy boxes of books, piling them in the building. Mr.
and some newer members were there to plan for Thanksgiving.
The following Sunday at the Fellowship meeting, Frona Ernst
was there, looking frail, and Harriet Vickland youthful yet.
spoke well on
The Trojan Women of Euripides
showing that Euripides made himself
unpopular by sympathizing with the enemy. On Sunday
the 30th I saw Lillian Wright — no longer our solo pianist
and accompanist — and again Mrs. Frona Ernst, Harry, and the
but most of my old friends were gone, and since then Frona
and Harry McLellan have gone to the beyond. Still I
have lovely memories of the Fellowship and wish the group
that is in it now can recruit youths who will rejoice in the
freedom to think and build its future.
Excerpted from the Bulletins
Walter F. Kennon
won a nationwide historical decision
in the California State Supreme Court. Many new
members have joined our organization since that time and I
feel I would be remiss in my duties as President of the
organization if I did not occasionally review this very
important chapter of our history. In the next few
issues of the bulletin, therefore, I intend to cite from the
the highlights of this important
years ago the
a non-profit corporation organized under the laws of
California, owned certain real property in Oakland.
It claimed exemption from city and county property taxes
on the ground that the property was used ‘solely and
exclusively for religious worship’ within the meaning of
Article XIII, section 1-1/2 of the State Constitution.
Its claim for exemption was denied. After unsuccessfully
pursuing its administrative remedies, the Fellowship
paid the taxes and penalties under protest, filed its
claim, and commenced this action to recover the amount
so paid. The trial court determined that the
Fellowship did use its property ‘solely and exclusively
for religious worship’ and was entitled to the claimed
exemption. It ordered the taxes refunded.
The County of Alameda and the City of Oakland appeal
from that judgment.... 'Article XIII, Section 1-1/2 of
the California Constitution provides, in part: ‘All
buildings, and so much of the real property on which
they are situated as may be required for the convenient
use and occupancy of said buildings, when the same are
used solely and exclusively for religious worship....
shall be free from taxation.’' The basic problem
involved is whether or not, under the findings, the
respondent (Fellowship) is entitled to this exemption.
The solution to this problem turns upon whether or not
the conclusion that respondent uses its property ‘solely
and exclusively for religious worship’ as these terms
are used in Article XIII, Section 1-1/2, is supported by
“In the fiscal
year 1952-1953 the
To quote further from Mr.
President’s Letter, the following is the third installment
of the transcript of the
by means of public meetings, lectures, programs, study
classes, publishing and distributing literature and such
other means as may be deemed practical for the
dissemination of constructive and progressive thought.
The court also found that 13 other churches in Oakland,
admittedly entitled to the tax exemption, conducted in
the tax exempt property discussion of topics of current
political and economic interest and held social
gatherings, as well as authorizing on the property
meetings auxiliary to such churches, and occasionally
permitted outside organizations to use the tax exempt
property for social gatherings, discussion groups, and
lectures. Based on these findings, the court
concluded that respondent used the property in question
‘solely and exclusively for religious worship’ and that
respondent was entitled to the exemption... It
will be noted that the court did not make detailed
findings as to the beliefs and aims of respondent.
For the purpose of this opinion, however, the court will
assume that respondent adheres to the beliefs of
humanists, and will further assume that under humanistic
doctrine a belief in and reverence of God is not
essential to membership. We will further assume
that humanists believe that man contains within himself
infinite goodness and controls his own destiny, and that
a divine or superhuman being has no place in their
beliefs. We will assume these things, although the
actual findings, while implying that respondent adheres
to the tenets of humanism, do not expressly find that
respondent rejects the concept of a deity. From a
reading of several non-legal texts on the subject, it
may be that a deity actually has a place, although a
subtle one, in the beliefs of at least some humanists,
and the findings are not necessarily inconsistent with
such a concept. But for the purposes of this
opinion, in order to meet the issue directly, we will
assume that the findings, properly interpreted, are to
the effect that the adoration of, and reverence to, a
deity have no place in the beliefs of respondent.
That presents the fundamental question – is a belief in
God or gods essential to ‘religious worship’ as those
terms are used in the State Constitution?”
“The next finding
is to the effect: 'That the purpose of plaintiff is to
establish and maintain a free fellowship for the study
of human relationships from the viewpoint of religion,
education and sociology; establishment and the
propagation and nurture of the ideals of the brotherhood
of man, and without any distinctive creed or religious
formula; that a further purpose of plaintiff is to
[The following is
contributed by the Editor.]
Space does not permit quoting from the voluminous details of
the transcript, which deal largely with definitions of
religious worship and interpretations of the language, also
findings in respect to other cases regarding tax exemption.
We will, therefore, skip over to the concluding arguments.
Fellowship of Humanity
which in the above sense are
‘non-religious,’ and which include all of the Fellowship
activities, are analogous to the activities, serve the
same place in the lives of its members, and occupy the
same place in society, as the activities of the theistic
churches. In the present case, it is conceded that
in all respects the Fellowship’s activities are similar
to those of the theistic groups, except for their belief
or lack of belief in a Supreme Being. It therefore
follows that the constitutional exemption is equally
applicable to both groups. Respondent is therefore
entitled to the exemption."
interpret Article XIII Section 1-1/2, if possible, so as
not to offend the federal Constitution. If the words
‘religious worship’ are given a narrow, limited meaning,
so as to require a belief in and adoration of a Supreme
Being, then grave doubts would exist as to the
constitutionality of the section. On the other
hand, a definition which emphasizes the ‘nonreligious’
facets of the conduct of respondent will serve to
sustain the constitutionality of the section. Our
interpretation of the tax exemption provision must be as
broad as is reasonably necessary to uphold it. If
we limit the exemption to those who advocate theism then
it is quite possible that the Supreme Court of the
United States may hold that such an interpretation
encourages particular religious doctrines and practices
and thus violates the division between church and state.
Theism is a concept which is peculiar to religious
theory and practice in the technical sense. It is
not a feature common to those advantages gained by the
state and supportable by it, through the activities of
private educational and charitable institutions.
The problem can be reduced to a simple formula. If
the state cannot constitutionally subsidize religion
under the first Amendment, then it cannot subsidize
theism. If the state can constitutionally
subsidize those functions of religious groups which are
not related to ‘religion’ in its narrow sense, then it
must subsidize those non-theistic groups which perform
the same functions. The first Amendment precludes
a classification based on them. The basic question
then is not whether theism is necessarily the basic
element of ‘religion.’ It can be assumed that the
words ‘religious worship’ in the ordinary and commonly
used sense require a belief in a Supreme Being.
But the United States Constitution prohibits a subsidy
to foster ‘religious worship’ used in this sense.
The real question is whether the activities of the
A. D. Faupell
preach, at the
Fellowship of Humanity.
I think you would like it, and it would be good for your
I did not think I had a soul, since I shocked everyone in my
first year of college, by announcing that I was an
“atheist.” In those first days of college I felt very
lonely in my opinions, because it seemed I was the only
atheist in the world. All my friends, and relatives,
said I was wrong. They didn’t answer my arguments, but
they said I was sinful. Only my mother wasn’t shocked.
She said, “I am glad you have a mind of your own.” She
was a nominal Christian, but had too great a sense of humor
to swallow Bible miracles. She was always making fun
of them. However, I thought this “Fellowship
might be a cult, and might be amusing, so out of curiosity,
I dropped around.
Dancing has been a hobby of mine, since my high school days.
In addition, it was a part-time profession, for eleven
years, when I was employed as old-fashioned dancing host, by
El Patio ballroom, the largest ballroom in San Francisco.
Some time in 1936, as I recall it, I was dancing in one of
Oakland’s public ballrooms, when a dancer informed me, “You
ought to hear
I could not determine from
A. D. Faupell’s
warm, human talk, what his creed was, if any. After
as was his unvarying custom, stood at the door, and shook
hands with everyone. He inquired the names, and
addresses, of newcomers, and asked if he could call.
The man had a phenomenal memory. I once asked him how
he could remember names so well, and he replied, “That’s
part of my business.” When he called at my residence,
I opened up, thinking to greatly shock him, “I want to speak
frankly. I like you — but I am an atheist!”
But, he shocked me, by coming right back with, “That is
substantially my position."
A. D. Faupell
and I became fast friends. He
visited me, often, and I was invited to his home, many
times. I was listed as a charter member on the front
page of a
kept. He put me right to work
as the librarian of the Fellowship, a post I held until I
At the start of World War II, I left Oakland to take
employment at the Army Signal Corps at Stanford University.
Later, I was transferred to the Presidio at San Francisco,
where I happened to notice a sign advertising
Hugh Robert Orr’s
meetings at the Women’s City Club.
I joined and was
issued a card as a charter member.
Soon we branched out to conducting our meetings in a
theater. At one time we were backed by a financial
“angel” and made quite a “splash” in San Francisco.
put me to work as an usher. We
became very good friends, and I remained a loyal member of
left the city and the local
organization practically collapsed.
In 1963, I came back to the place that has always been
“Home, Sweet Home” to me. I refer to the beautiful
little building at 411 - 28th Street, Oakland. I
rejoined. My dear friend, Bob Bolton, was managing the
dance at the Fellowship Hall and I danced there. He
was stricken with cancer and had to go to Chicago for an
operation. Before he went, he came to me with real
tears in his eyes and begged me to manage the dance.
He said he did not know how long he would have to stay in
Chicago, and he wanted the dance to go on. I consented
and told him I was loyal to the Fellowship and hoped I could
for the organization. He said, “That’s
I found out he was right. Bob wanted me to run for a
seat on the Board of Directors and others, including
also urged me. At the second election, I landed the
great honor when Sam Blackman graciously withdrew.
It was with the greatest regret that I resigned from the
Fellowship, and the dance job. I thought I had someone
to carry on in my place at the dance, but it did not work
out and the dance “folded.” The reason for my
resignation was purely an economic one. The San
Francisco building where I had my own business for twenty
years was sold, and I was forced out. Fortunately I
leased a better location across the street but I had to
devote all my time to moving, and building my own business.
Recently, I rejoined the Fellowship. I love the place,
which has many happy memories for me, and I have a great
affection for my fellow
A. D. Faupell
would never tell me what the
initials in the front of his name stood for, but jokingly
said they meant, “After
He started the
movement in Oakland during the depression, and he did have
great dreams for the movement “after depression.” He
lived to see part of the dream come true. In his many
confidential talks with me, he related how he started as a
very orthodox Methodist minister. He said he regretted
he never learned to dance. It was then regarded as
“sinful” by his church. In fact, anything was regarded
as sinful if it was pleasurable. He came to the point
where he could not swallow the orthodox nonsense and broke
away to join the Unitarian Church, which was the most
liberal church in existence in those days. Finally, he
became too liberal for the Unitarian Church and started the
movement in Oakland, speaking from a rented hall. He
called the movement, “The
Fellowship of Humanity.”
He was inspired by
book, in which the author said the church of the future
would be called “The
Church of Humanity.”
substituted “Fellowship” for the
When using the Jenny Lind Hall for a meeting place, one
member died and left his entire fortune to the Fellowship.
With it, we bought an old run down orthodox church building
at 411 - 28th Street. Many changes were made in the
property and when
dedicated it, he said he had
dedicated churches in his old Methodist days, but this was
the first time he dedicated a church that was paid for, with
some money left over. The bequest was supplemented by
work and money of the
The old church had heavy wooden pews and a wooden floor,
which sloped toward a pulpit in front. The pews were torn
out and junked and a dance floor was put in.
said he thought the young folks in
the Fellowship should dance. He said dancing was a
healthful and pleasant exercise that promoted friendship.
Instead of pews, he had
members subscribe to
the purchase of portable metal chairs,
which are used to this day. These chairs could be
stacked away for the dance, or they could be used in
conjunction with tables for the monthly banquet, which was
an enjoyable feature of the Fellowship. One of the
pleasant features of the banquet, instituted by
was to have each diner rise in turn and recite his name and
occupation. He also provided a stage, which he thought
could be used for dramatics. An outside barbecue pit
was built for picnic use. The
trees and landscaping
make the Fellowship property the prettiest spot on the
To have counted
A. D. Faupell
as my close friend was one of the
greatest privileges of my life.
Hugh Robert Orr
came to the
movement almost by the same route as
A. D. Faupell,
having started his professional life as a Methodist
minister. He told me how much he enjoyed the
friendship of the members of his first church. One
day, the janitor of the church came to him, all white-faced
with fear, and said he wanted to speak privately. He
said an ugly rumor was going about the church that: “You
don’t believe in Hell!”
thought that over and decided he
really did not believe in Hell. In consequence, he
wrote a letter of resignation to his Bishop. That
worthy replied and said Doctor
had been reading too many books, and
“Forget it. Stay where you are well liked.” But
was firm and deserted the Methodist
for the Unitarian church.
When he became too liberal for the Unitarians he changed his
occupation to a college teacher of English literature.
There he met one of his pupils, Frances, whom he married,
not without great opposition from her parents, because of
the great age difference.
said to me, “I had great trouble
getting her, and now that I have her, I intend to hang on to
her.” When he left college work, he and his family
migrated to San Francisco, where he started the
movement, the Sunday the Japanese
bombed Pearl Harbor. The marriage of
and Frances was ideal. They
had one child, Kathleen, a very bright girl, who was raised
as an adult. She always sat with her mother at her
father’s meetings. When she was but a tiny girl, she
got up and said, “Good morning, fellow Humanists!”
for his wonderfully refreshing
humor, and his great wit. I could write a long story
about his humor and not cover the many instances; I shall
give a few. I was seated two rows directly behind
Frances Orr and her little daughter, Kathleen, one Sunday
morning. In the seat in front of me was an “old time
religion” woman who was expressing her horror, in shocked
whispers, of the heretical words being spoken by Dr.
on the stage. Her escort was
vainly trying to silence her. She pointed to little
Kathleen, and said, “What a scandal!
That innocent little girl is listening. Why, she’s
only a child!”
When the meeting was over, I followed this woman out to the
was shaking hands with the departing
members of the audience. When this religious fanatic
she cried out, “Those were the most sinful, immoral, words I
ever heard spoken, in public!
But I am a better Christian than I ever was, for having my
smiled, faintly, and said, very
smoothly and politely, “Perhaps you came to the wrong
She stomped out, indignantly.
At that time,
published a weekly newsletter called
The San Francisco Humanist.
One week, I noticed a religious joke on the front page.
Next Sunday, I told
“I recognized that joke on the front page of
He replied, “You should, for I got it from you. Let’s
have more of them.”
witty quips in the
which he edited for many years, brought many a chuckle to
me. One Sunday I told him, “I honestly think
is the finest magazine in existence!”
He came back, enthusiastically, “I think so, too!”
At the time, I was managing the dance for the Fellowship,
was the Leader of the organization.
Our greatest dance competitor was a Methodist church in
Oakland. Their dance made money for their church, for
two reasons. First — they undersold us. Their
admission price (called “donation” of course) was 50 cents.
Ours was 75¢. They paid their musicians nothing,
because they were church members. We had
the finest union musicians,
we paid them,
there was nothing left for the Fellowship. I told
that when I was a boy, I actually
heard all dances characterized by Methodists as “The Devil’s
I asked him, “Was the Methodist church against dancing when
you were a minister?” He said, “They frowned on it.”
I said, “It’s a fine thing that the Methodists used to call
a dance the Devil’s work, and then make money from dances
given right in the church!”
witty reply, “It only goes to show that the Devil always
wins out in the long run!”
FELLOWSHIP OF HUMANITY
Alfred G. Martin (Gonzalves)
Fellowship of Humanity
grew out of one of the most unique
political crusades in the history of our country —
great campaign to “End
Poverty in California”
At that time,
decided upon a new line of political strategy and changed
his registration from
to Democrat; then announced his candidacy for Governor
of California. Along with
were many others who later were to
make political history in California — Culbert Olson,
Sheridan Downey, Ellis Patterson, Robert Kenny, Jerry
Voorhis, George Miller of Richmond and others.
Likewise many old line
throughout the state joined in the effort; while others
stood aside mocking, sneering, and ridiculing.
had run for Governor four times as a
and the most votes he ever received
were 50,000. Now, as a Democrat, he received about
300,000 votes and won the nomination — thereby taking over
the Democratic party. This great victory marked a
milestone in the course of progressivism, from which a
valuable lesson was learned in the techniques of political
strategy. Soon thereafter a tremendous new movement
was under way, attracting many honest and dedicated people
to its fold... many who had never voted before or
participated in political action of any kind.
Among the many dedicated people to come into the movement in
the East Bay was
A. D. Faupell
— a former Methodist Minister who
had left the church because he felt it was not serving its
role as a viable entity in the process of helping to elevate
society. Moreover, by remaining in the abstract and
failing to take cognizance of human needs, or to participate
in the political effort to alleviate the social problems of
the times, the church had missed its mark and failed in the
moral duties for which it was primarily dedicated. Now
participating in the political area — to help effect
meaningful social changes — he had at last found his place
and was doing what he knew to be the most important and
effective work a moral teacher can ever undertake or be
He plunged into the work wholeheartedly to teach and lead
the people to understand their democratic privileges and to
fully utilize and wield their political powers in their own
interests, by vigorously participating in the political
processes of electing moral men to government, that
government may become moral and exercise its duties and
responsibilities in the best interests of the entire people
— in keeping with the Constitutional mandates of “promoting
the general welfare”... and the precept that “all men are
created equal and endowed with those inalienable rights of
life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Working
campaign he was at the height of his
glory and soon became imbued with the idea that honest moral
leadership — whether in the church, in politics, in social,
or philosophical, or any intellectual pursuits — must become
involved in the social and civic duties necessary for the
promotion, the elevation, and evolvement of a higher social
order. And that political participation was a prime
and imperative requisite in this most important endeavor.
Since he was an eloquent speaker and lecturer as well as a
great teacher he was in great demand and was called upon to
address numerous meetings throughout the East Bay. As
a result he was soon to establish a good rapport and lasting
friendship with great numbers of people who highly esteemed
and respected him as soon as they came into contact and
acquainted with him. After
defeat in the General Elections, the
movement began to decline, but it
did not disintegrate. The stalwarts held together and
continued to meet. Since
was looked upon as a brilliant and honest and devoted
teacher and leader he was urged to take the responsibility
and initiative of holding regular weekly meetings.
Soon thereafter he made arrangements with the Theosophical
Church on Madison Street, near Lake Merritt, where regular
meetings were held every Sunday morning. In the
process he would give a series of lectures on various
subjects, ranging from the important political, social, and
international issues of the day, to philosophical,
psychological, and moral discourses. With every
lecture his popularity continued to grow and respect and
admiration for him bordered on reverence, as the meetings
increased in attendance. Later he arranged to continue
the meetings at the Norway Hall on Piedmont Avenue.
At that time the Spanish Civil War was in progress and
became the major issue of discussion. At every meeting
would outline the highlights of the latest developments in
that war. Resolutions and Petitions were frequently
initiated and circulated denouncing fascism, Franco,
Mussolini, and Hitler who were actively supporting Franco in
violation of the London International Pact which was
supposed to supervise a hands-off policy in that war.
In 1938 a great new political campaign was under way in
people were involved. Culbert
Olson was now the candidate for Governor; Ellis Patterson
for Lieutenant Governor; Sheridan Downey for U.S. Senator.
This was the year in which the progressive Democrats won a
resounding victory and things began to look up for the
progressives with promises of a brighter future.
Flushed with the aura of victory and knowing the role which
the members of our group had played in that campaign, Ellis
Patterson was a frequent visitor at our meetings — since he
lived in Oakland at that time. Many other political
leaders attended meetings at Norway Hall. Among the
stalwarts who with
were responsible for the success of
the group, the foremost were Robert Bolton,
Samuel and Mrs. Fell, Earl Noldin, “Jake” Jacobson, Eric
Lind, Jack Morton, Harry McClellan, Fred and Mrs. Mathews,
Alfred Hansen, Frona Ernst, Jessie Pedrick, J. I. Mclntosh,
Jessie Bradley and her son Theodore, and many others.
Even old Fred Reed — before he became rich — was a regular
member, attending every Sunday meeting. He often
complained that he was “land poor” but that “some day” his
land would be worth something. After he became a
millionaire he forgot all about the group and even denounced
them as “communists,”
attended every meeting religiously and was very devoted to
the group. One day he told me in confidence: “I have
all my life. During my younger days I used to work
and would talk to all my friends about
but no one seemed to care, or to do anything to help out the
cause. So I got disgusted and decided to go out for
myself. I worked hard and saved my money, and I have
something. And some day I will do some good with it.”
Little did I realize what he meant by that last statement,
until after he had died. Later I learned that he had
left a good share of his money to the group. This
money was used by
and the Board of Directors to buy the present property at
411 - 28th Street.
With this new
things began to change, and
was not to continue to enjoy the free hand he formerly had
in determining and planning the affairs of the Fellowship.
His plans and ambitions were constantly blocked and
frustrated, and being a highly sensitive man, the tensions
and strains of these frustrations soon developed into
melancholia and a loss of morale; later into a complete
mental and physical breakdown. He lingered in this
condition for months on end and never recovered.
Finally this most brilliant and beloved Teacher and Scholar
— who had inspired and encouraged so many — gave way to the
elements and passed on into eternity... to the heartfelt
sorrow and sad dismay of those who had loved and admired and
In the meantime the same forces responsible for
demise were making steady encroachments into assuming
over the affairs of the Fellowship, and finally succeeded.
It took years of hectic battling in order to break this
control. With this accomplished the ousted
legal action in
against the Fellowship. The case dragged on for many
to the Fellowship. The final
result was victory for the liberals and ejection for the
instigators. Having broken the restrictions imposed by
the members were now functioning freely and engaging in a
great deal of meaningful activity and positive
was then Leader of the Fellowship and did much to enhance
the prestige of the organization.
During this period the campaign for Henry Wallace for
President was under way and much action took place in the
Fellowship by the more
in the effort to enhance the campaign. One of the
highlights of the Fellowship’s accomplishments was the
sponsoring and initiating of the
first Peace Committee
Peace Demonstration in this area.
Since Wallace’s Platform contained a proposal for “Peace and
Worldwide Disarmament” the members took advantage of this
plank to project the formation of a Peace Committee, and
quickly organized a
to facilitate the work. Its first action was to send
communications to all churches in the East Bay to attend a
conference on peace and disarmament. Having been
endorsed by the Oakland Council of Churches, many religious
Ministers and laymen were quick to respond. Out of the
conference a Peace Committee was formed which was titled the
“Citizens Call to Peace.” Arrangements were
immediately made for a Peace Demonstration in Oakland and an
Executive Committee was elected to carry out the work and to
plan future activity. By the time the demonstration
was to be held, many of the church people had dropped out,
due to rumors that this was simply a maneuver for Wallace —
instigated by the “Communists”
of the Fellowship. However many of the more sturdy and
dedicated Christian Ministers and their followers answered
the Call to peace and the demonstration turned into a great
success. About a hundred cars with hundreds of persons
took part in a
through downtown Oakland on a busy Saturday afternoon.
Later the Committee met at the Fellowship and adopted a
motion calling on the Labor Day Parade Committee in San
Francisco for permission to include a
Peace Section in the Labor Day Parade.
After waiting several weeks without an answer, or even an
acknowledgment of the request, the group had abandoned hope.
Then suddenly, a few days before the parade, a letter was
received, granting such permission. Since the time was
short in which to make adequate preparations, the members
were divided as to the wisdom or feasibility of continuing
with the plan. During a meeting at the Fellowship the
majority consensus was against participating. However
a little later — after an impassioned plea by
and an elderly Quaker, declaring that even if they had to
“march alone” they would participate in the parade — the
final decision was made to go full speed ahead and to make
whatever arrangements were necessary for the best possible
showing — under the circumstances.
By this time the Wallace campaign was gathering momentum and
adding numerous supporters to the fold, so that it was not
difficult for word to spread quickly among them to fall in
line. Surprisingly, on Labor Day — after only three
days of preparation — many more people showed up than were
expected. Of particular significance — and the
brightest feature of the
— was the countless numbers of young men and women from the
University of California who participated enthusiastically
and cheerfully, carrying huge banners for “Peace and
Disarmament” stretching out for 20 feet or more. When
it was over, the Chairman of the Parade Committee
congratulated the Citizens Call to Peace for having the most
impressive and colorful section of the parade.
J. Arthur Ragsdale
seen as a philosophy, as a faith, and as a religion,
presents itself in three different aspects, or appearances,
of the same ideology, or body of thought. Each of
these aspects presents itself in characteristics that
intertwine and are inter-related to the characteristics of
the other two aspects. Thus the philosophy of
envisions Man as the highest form of life in the known
universe. Man is, therefore, free to rule the universe
as the supreme power, limited, of course, by the natural
laws governing his physical environment, and by his own
capacity for understanding and directing natural law to
modify his environment, and by the degree to which he is
able to exercise and direct the application of his will
The American College Dictionary defines faith as “Confidence
or trust in a person or thing.” Religion is defined as
“The quest for the values of the ideal life.”
as a faith believes in Man’s potential, or capacity, or
ability to collectively develop on this earth, a better
human society for all the people of the world, a society in
which war, poverty and human suffering will be abolished
forever, and security and happiness will prevail for all.
believes that this will be brought about by the use of the
scientific method and by the exercise of the democratic
process to alter, not only the natural environment, but also
the social environment. This faith, or belief, is not
the same as a supernatural faith. The faith in Man’s
expresses is based partly on fact, the fact of Man’s past
and present performance and strivings toward the future.
Nevertheless it is a faith, because it contains an element
of hope, and as we all know, the future is unpredictable...
The faith expressed is in Man’s potential, but it is no
guarantee of performance.
as a religion is a continual quest, or search for ways in
which to construct, in this life and on this earth, a better
continually asks itself the question: “How can we best
advance toward the ideal life?” and
continually puts forth answers to its own question.
strives to advance on all fronts
the religious front, the political
front, the medical front, the
psychological and psychiatric front, the ethical front, the
cultural front. In all these human endeavors
lends its influence.
strives especially for world peace
as the first step to the Brotherhood of Man.
says: “Everything for the good of
Man.” A religion needs an organization with which to
put forth its ideas before the public.
And this is what the
Fellowship of Humanity
is. “First incorporated under
the laws of the State of California on January 28, 1935,
under the name of the
Church of Humanity,”
it is probably the oldest continually existing
organization in the U.S. For the past 32 years or more
it has carried on the work of
in the San Francisco Bay Area according to the purposes
expressed in Section 4 of its
Of this splendid history our members may well be proud.
It has established a tradition, and its record of
achievement cannot be disputed successfully by anyone.
Fellowship of Humanity
has been, is, and will continue to
be an outstanding exponent of
as long as it operates under its
group in the United
Fellowship of Humanity
in Oakland, California. Almost
35 years have elapsed since the book was originally
published in 1971, and a great deal has happened in the
interval — to the Fellowship itself, to
in general, and to the world as a
whole. History gives us all the benefit of hindsight;
so that by seeing where we have been, we can get a clearer
picture of where we are, and a better idea of where we
should go. And thus it is that the history of the
Fellowship — so reflective of its own times — casts a
powerful light upon present-day realities.
These pages tell the remarkable story of what is probably
The Fellowship grew out of the ideas of two great men:
Absolom David Faupell.
was a famous “muckraking” journalist, whose great book,
laid bare the inhuman conditions of the meat-packing
industry, where workers were treated scarcely better than
the animals they slaughtered, and where unsafe meat was
routinely offered to the public. Reporting this and
other horrors turned
into a committed
and he ran unsuccessfully for Governor four times on the
ticket. But the
could make no real headway in two-party America; so in 1934,
during the Great Depression,
changed his political registration
and captured the Democratic nomination for governor of
California. He ran on a platform called “EPIC”,
which stood for “End
Poverty In California.”
It was one of the most significant radical movements in
American history, and seemed for a time almost on the verge
of capturing power in one of the nation’s largest states.
proposes that our unemployed shall be put at productive
labor, producing everything which they themselves
consume and exchanging those goods among themselves by a
method of barter, using warehouse receipts or labor
certificates or whatever name you may choose to give to
the paper employed... To meet the immediate emergency in
our State and get the money to start our new cooperative
system, we propose what we call an ‘EPIC’
tax. That is an ad valorem tax on property
assessed above $100,000, which means about $250,000 of
candidacy aroused great enthusiasm among the state’s
unemployed, and an equal amount of opposition from the
well-to-do. In the end, President
refused to endorse
and wealthy interests managed to elect a reactionary
Republican. But the defeat did not destroy the hopes
of millions of Californians, who wanted to continue the “EPIC”
Among those millions was an articulate and charismatic
minister in the East Bay named
A. D. Faupell.
began his career as a Methodist minister, but quickly became
disillusioned with orthodox Christianity and shifted to the
Unitarian Church. During the
campaign, after that church
disapproved of his political involvement,
left the Unitarians and struck out on his own. He had
a powerful and magnetic personality, together with strong
personal integrity, and those qualities soon gained him a
significant following. Borrowing one of
and several of his friends incorporated the “Church
January 28, 1935.
It was the beginning of something that has continued until
the present day.
At first, the group met in various rental halls, and even a
cafeteria. On most Sundays,
gave a sermon on
ideals, though he often invited
outsiders with interesting knowledge or ideas to speak.
His lectures had a rare ability to attract listeners of
every background and social class — professors, business
people, machinists, artists, housewives, and the unemployed.
could have been a successful demagogue, but instead chose to
be a democrat in the best meaning of the term, elevating
everyone’s lives and sense of social responsibility.
No one ever felt put down or slighted by
A. D. Faupell.
One of those who listened most intently to Rev.
was a quiet, elderly German immigrant named
had been a
since his youth, and thrilled to
impassioned pleas for social justice. Although not
had built up a sizeable estate, which he bequeathed to the
group (now renamed the “Fellowship
in its entirety.
died on April 23, 1940, and the Board of Directors used the
money to purchase the property located at 411 - 28th Street
in Oakland, which is still the Fellowship‘s home. The
wooden structure there had previously belonged to the
Lutheran Church, and contained pews and a pulpit.
Members of the Fellowship were thrilled to finally have a
place of their own, and eagerly contributed their money and
labour to renovate the building and grounds. In
dedicating the building, Rev.
remarked that it was the first time he ever dedicated a
church that was completely paid for, with some money to
spare. The pews and pulpit were removed, so that the
Hall could be used for dancing and other forms of
wanted the members to enjoy
themselves, and considered pleasure a legitimate pursuit.
suffered a series of strokes,
beginning in 1944, and was forced to retire. Deprived
of his leadership, the Fellowship declined for many years,
and suffered a serious
in the late 1940s. Yet members
continued to hold fast to their founder’s ideals of world
peace and social justice. They participated in the
Henry Wallace campaign of 1948, spoke out against “red-baiting.”
and actively opposed the wars in Korea and Vietnam.
During the 1950s, the Hall was one of the few places in the
Bay Area where
and other blacklisted “subversives”
could speak, so the Fellowship acquired the reputation of
In reality, most of the members were never
but they did insist on maintaining civil liberties in spite
of opposition from both liberals and conservatives.
Not for the first time — or the last — the Fellowship stood
up to the powerful and spoke for powerless and despised
A. D. Faupell
would have wanted it that way.
In the 1950s, the Fellowship acquired a second great leader,
Hugh Robert Orr,
whose impact on the Fellowship rivaled that of Rev.
had begun his career as a Methodist minister, but became
disillusioned with Christianity and turned to
He later served as Professor of English Literature at both
the University of Chicago and San Francisco State College,
and founded the secularist magazine
was that rarest of creatures — a learned crusader. He
was witty, erudite, and compassionate; and inspired enormous
respect during his tenure from 1958 to his death in 1967.
could often crack a
joke and inspire a smile, even from his bitterest opponents,
yet he never yielded an inch on matters of principle.
The Fellowship has had other great leaders in the years
death. Particularly notable was
a jovial Finnish
who served as President during the
could never speak for any length of time without breaking
into song. The current President,
and the Treasurer,
continue the tradition of making the Fellowship a haven for
activism, while working hard to provide affordable rental
space to progressive and minority groups and individuals.
As I write, the Fellowship is engulfed in another
as serious as the one which took
place in the late 1940s. How it will turn out is
anyone’s guess; but, as these pages show, such disputes have
happened before, and every time the group has recovered and
Throughout its history, the Fellowship has been shaped by
remarkable leaders, gifted with the ability to inspire
others, and possessed of the integrity to use that gift for
noble ends. It has also been shaped, as these pages
show, to an inestimable degree by the hard work, dedication,
and sacrifice of ordinary members, such as
who asked for nothing but the opportunity to serve humanity.
Both the leaders and the members were brave and dedicated
people, with great minds and great hearts. But that
very fact makes the disparity between their vision and
present-day realities all the more poignant.
Poverty In California.”
Think of that slogan the next time you walk down the street
and see people living in cardboard boxes in doorways, or
standing in line for blocks, waiting for free meals at Glide
or St Anthony’s. And think of the vision that so many
courageous people at the Fellowship have had of “a world
without war” the next time you turn on the nightly news and
watch the latest events in Iraq. A “world without war”
seems to be the last thing the leaders of this country have
in mind. Think of the Fellowship’s brave and lonely
struggle for civil liberties the next time you read about
our government’s secret trials and torture chambers at the
Guantanamo Naval Base in Cuba. Think of its commitment
to civil rights when you hear Administration spokesmen
defend racial profiling of Arab-Americans. Think of
and their struggle for rational thought, and then consider
that the “religious right” — devoted to the suppression of
such thought — has recently put two of its supporters on the
were atheists. Neither believed in the existence of
God, but neither made that a condition for membership in the
Fellowship. The Fellowship did indeed sponsor lectures
devoted to attacking Christianity in general, and the
Catholic Church in particular, in the context of an
atmosphere in which all forms of free thought were
encouraged. But one of the contributors to this volume
was Albert Martin, a devout Catholic; and the book refers to
an unnamed “elderly Quaker” who insisted that the Fellowship
participate in a Peace March held in 1948. What unites
is not a disbelief in God, but rather a positive belief in
the potential of humanity. Since it contains elements
of faith and reverence,
is a religion in its own right — a fact recognized by the
Supreme Court of California in an historic decision
(portions of which are printed here). The proposition
is a religion, rooted in a faith in humanity, is also upheld
with which the Fellowship is affiliated. It is
expressed in the three Manifestoes of that Association.
But it is fair to say that
as a religion, has not caught on in the United States.
prediction that the “Church
would be the religion of the future has not been borne out
by events. Nor have broad
principles prevailed in our society, or in the world at
large. It is fair to ask: “What went wrong?” so that
might, perhaps, do better in the future. I believe
that part of the answer to the question “What went wrong?”
can be found in “what went right” at the Fellowship.
For all of their staggering erudition, neither Rev.
were dry academic theorists. They both possessed the
ability, not merely to reach their listeners’ minds, but to
captivate their hearts and inspire their souls as well.
As much as
revered science, they did not put
humanity in a test tube. They loved rationality, but
their faith was not in rationality as an end in itself, but
rather in real human beings, with real lives, real hopes,
and real problems. Their vision possessed enough
intellectual integrity to attract learned professors, but it
reached into the guts of ordinary working people too.
They could appeal to the best facets of human nature with
even greater emotional force and intensity than their
opponents could lavish on the worst. Above all,
appreciated the truth of the adage
that “action without thought is blind, but thought without
action is mute.” Their philosophy married the two.
Both men encouraged activism, and managed to convey the
intangible sense that “something was happening” for the
I believe that, with some exceptions, those qualities are
missing from contemporary
Gone is the spirit of the “Bonus Army” of veterans, who
marched on Washington, D.C. in 1932 and said to their
government: “We helped you when you needed us, now help us
when we need you!”
Gone is the passion that moved Paul Robeson’s great voice,
and inspired Woody Guthrie to write “This land is your
land.” He meant: it is your land, not their land.
Gone too is the spirit of Martin Luther King and the
Berrigan brothers (whom I regard as true
despite the fact that King was a
Baptist minister and the Berrigans were Jesuits). King
has been turned into a harmless icon — a fate he himself
would probably have regarded as worse than being locked in a
Southern jail — and the Berrigans are mostly forgotten.
What we have, instead, in our society is “PC liberalism,” of
interest mostly to coffee-table progressives and
faculty-lounge activists, plus assorted forms of “New Age”
mysticism, almost as bad as the superstitions they replace.
The “sound of one hand clapping” is not going to save
need to come to grips with the society in which we hope to
thrive; and, in so doing, need to rekindle a fire that has
been nearly extinguished.
In preparing this book, I was struck by the fact that people
who were involved with the Fellowship in the past, of
whatever background, had a much greater level of
intellectual sophistication than most Americans today.
They knew about history and philosophy, could intelligently
discuss Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, and were interested in
topics such as the parallels between Christianity and Norse
mythology. I came away from the experience with the
sense that I had been looking in on a different age, in
which enlightenment was the rule and not the exception.
Perhaps it was the tail end of the renaissance. Things
have changed, and people have changed. The “dumbing
down” of our culture is a fact we cannot afford to ignore.
It has made the task of
(and progressives generally) immeasurably more difficult.
So part of the job of
is to spark a new renaissance — a rebirth of knowledge and
free thought sufficient to at least give the voice of reason
a chance to be heard.
The last renaissance began with the reintroduction of
Aristotle into European thought in the 14th century, when
“Averroes Clubs” sprang up like mushrooms throughout Europe.
There were no entrance requirements. You did not need
good grades or a high test score to participate — only an
enquiring mind. The same kind of thing should happen
today, under the auspices of
groups everywhere. In this process, we should not be
“selective.” We should scatter the seeds of knowledge
with the wind, and let the flowers of enlightenment bloom
wherever they might. I believe that such a scattering
of knowledge did happen, to some extent, at the
Fellowship of Humanity
during the time of Rev.
in the last renaissance were not averse to innovation. They
did not say that books had to be hand-copied by scribes in
monasteries. Instead they exploited the new technology
of printing for all it was worth, and used it to create the
today should likewise be open to the new technology of the
computer era, and should use it to spread knowledge and
enlightenment. There is a potential for online
universities — accessible to anyone with access to the
Internet — and such institutions can even allow for a
considerable amount of interplay between students and their
instructors (and between the students themselves).
Such a technique would be an excellent supplement to
discussion groups and other activities in the local
churches, and would have the additional benefit of allowing
worldwide to get to know each other. We could also set
up an online International Travel Registry, allowing people
in different countries to make their homes available to
Like the online university, this would be a revival, in
modern form, of an idea going back at least to the
renaissance. By facilitating low-cost travel, as well
as the sharing of cultures, the Registry would contribute to
world peace, enlightenment, and education. It would
encourage worldwide activism — and would attract new members
to our ranks.
In that connection, I suggest that
openly and flagrantly defy the law and travel to Cuba.
Perhaps we could arrange for
on that island to provide accommodations during our stay.
The government of the United States has no right to prohibit
such travel. Let them put us all in jail — if they
dare. We need to recognize that
is a starting point, and not a resting point. While we
should not be partisan in the narrow sense of the term, we
cannot afford to be “apolitical.” Rev.
understood that. He quit the Unitarian ministry, and
threw away his livelihood during the Great Depression, in
order to participate in the struggle for justice. We
must be part of the same struggle, which is even more urgent
today than it was in 1934. We can learn from past
experience, and should not be doctrinaire about government
ownership and regulation of the means of production.
But, to the extent that “neo-liberalism” advocates a
philosophy of “dog eat dog and let the Devil take the
hindmost” we must stand against it. We should make it
crystal clear that real
implies that society needs to take care of the least of its
members, by whatever means are most appropriate to the
situation. We should also make it clear to government
officials that a policy of forcing the homeless to move
“somewhere else” is not an adequate response to social
problems. A great
Oliver Wendell Holmes, once said that “the law, to be
respected, must be respectable.” It is so today.
Members of the
Fellowship of Humanity,
in general, have always been in the forefront of the
struggle for world peace. They have set up Peace
Committees, marched, and demonstrated. During the
Korean and Vietnam wars, many of them broke the law and some
of them went to jail. In a world where the existence
of humanity is at risk because of environmental degradation,
war itself is the supreme form of lawlessness. It is
the Bush administration, and its stooges in Congress, who
are defying the rule of law.
should spark a movement to stop the war-making policies of
that administration, comparable to the one that put millions
of people into the streets to stop the Vietnam War.
There must be civil disobedience on a massive scale — not to
destroy the law, but to uphold it. All of these
things, and many more — environmental protection, animal
rights, prison reform, opposition to the death penalty — are
part of the same package: the struggle for humanity.
is to live up to its potential, it must be true to its name.
These pages have told the story of a remarkable group in
Oakland, California, that was created, built, and sustained
by great people for that great purpose. It is up to
us, their successors, to carry on the task they so nobly
Copyright © 2006 by
The Fellowship of Humanity
Book and Cover Designed by
Printed in the United States of America
By Quincunx Press, Berkeley, California