Document 25: W. Adrian Freeman, "How Do You Feel?" Newsletter of the Abyssinian Baptist Church, 3 December 1932, Reel 33, Papers of Margaret Sanger, 1900-1966, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
This article in a church newsletter described Sanger's work in advance of her speech at the Abyssinian Baptist Church on 7 December 1932. The article, which recounted Sanger's efforts on behalf of birth control, provides a glimpse of the glowing terms in which Sanger and her work were presented at an influential religious institution in Harlem.
In this period, the Abyssinian Baptist Church had the largest congregation in Harlem (8,000 in 1929 and 15,000 in 1938). Home to ministers Adam Clayton Powell Sr. and Jr., the church was a source of survival for many community members in the early years of the Depression. In 1931, the senior Powell contributed four months of his salary to local charitable efforts and challenged his congregation to do all they could. Throughout that year, the church fed 2,000 people a day in its soup kitchen. It aided more that 40,000 destitute Harlemites in 1930 and 1931. The junior Powell, who supported birth control, played a pivotal role in the Don't Buy Where You Can't Work campaign and the later Greater New York Coordinating Committee on Employment. From this position, Powell went on to become Harlem's representative to Congress in 1945, where he served until 1971.
How Do You Feel?
W. ADRIAN FREEMAN, D.N.B. M.D.
When Lena Madesin Phillips presented Margaret Sanger with the medal given by the American Women's Association for Attainment she said "She has fought a battle against almost every influence which in the past was considered necessary to the success of a cause . . . She has devoted her life to the highest of all pursuits, Social Welfare ... She has helped to bring about conditions advocated by the President of the United States when he said "There should be no child in America that has not the complete birthright of a sound mind in a sound body." . . .She has opened the doors of knowledge and thereby given light, freedom and happiness to thousands caught in the tragic meshes of ignorance . . . She has borne her hardships gallantly, has been a true friend, and example in human understanding and sympathy. . . . Margaret Sanger is known thruout the world as the organizer of the modern birth control movement. She started the first Birth Control Clinic in the United States in 1916. When she started the birth control movement Mrs. Sanger was a young mother with three children. It was the desperate conditions she met as a nurse among the New York poor that drove her to consecrate her life to obtaining for them what she saw as their most pressing need—access to knowledge of scientific means of controlling conception.
Ten days after the opening of the Clinic it was raided by the police and Mrs. Sanger was convicted and spent a month in the penitentiary pending appeal.
There are one hundred such clinics in the United States to-day and they owe their existance to the fact that Mrs. Sanger refused to accept defeat when opposed on all sides by organized society.
In 1923 Mrs. Sanger opened a clinic in New York City. This, the foremost clinic of the world, has been operating for ten years.
In February 1929 Mrs. Sanger established the Harlem Birth Control Clinic which is located at 2352 Seventh Avenue, with the belief that intelligent birth control knowledge would improve the health, the economic and social standards of the community. This clinic now has over three thousand patients from the Harlem and Bronx communities. It has a medical director and a staff of women physicians, registered nurses and a colored social worker. The Advisory Council includes, Mrs. Lois Allen, Mrs. Bessye Bearden, Dr. Lucien Brown, Dr. May Chinn, Dr. Harold Ellis, Mrs. Felix Fuld, Mrs. Jane Fisher, Mrs. Marion Hernandez, R.N., Rev. Horatio Hill, Rev. Wm. Lloyd Imes, Dr. Peter M. Murray, Dr. Alonzo DeG. Smith, Mabel K. Staupers, R.N., Dr. James L. Wilson and Dr. Louis T. Wright.
Elizabeth G. Lautermilch, R.N.
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