PREACHER WITH A PLOW by Samuel B. Coles

PREACHER WITH A PLOW

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A Negro missionary from the American Board of Congregational Churches, Mr. Coles spent 30 years in an agricultural community in Angola, Portuguese West Africa. He went there not to proselytize but to raise the human and economic standards. Instead of psalms, he distributed plows made on his own forge and trained oxen to pull them. He did his own farming in the rich, unused river-bottom country- thereby proving that no harm would come from the spirits suspected to be there. He also led attacks against locust swarms, introduced ceramics and built a school. When occasion required, he matched his own concoctions against the medicine man's. Above all, he sought to instil initiative, goading, bribing, and setting his own example to induce his people to act in their own behalf. Compared to Schweitzer, Mr. Coles believed far more in sweat and swear policies, he was more economics minded, he was more concerned with the fate of the African than of mankind. Philosophically he was deficient, and from all that his autobiography reveals, cultural values played little part in his daily thought. His life story is therefore, practical Christianity, impressive rather than inspiring.

Pub Date: July 11th, 1957
Publisher: Houghton, Mifflin