Founded in 1902 by G. P. Bowser (1874-1950), the Christian Echo is the oldest periodical in circulation among African American Churches of Christ. . . . Unfortunately for historians, in 1946 archival materials on the early issues of the Christian Echo were destroyed in an automobile accident as G. P. Bowser was moving to Detroit. Therefore, early issues have been difficult to locate, complicating research. (Jesse Curtis Porter, in Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement, p. 191).
The question of whether the U.S. Olympic team should participate in the 1936 Summer Games at Berlin was a big issue in the black community in this country. A good number of those who qualified for the team were African-American. Because of Nazi Germany's racism, there were calls for an American boycott of the Games. Some people wondered about the safety of black as well as Jewish athletes in Hitler's Germany.
But there were several other parts to this story. For example, some of the leading members of the International Olympic Committee--which had, in 1931, extended the invitation to Berlin to host the Games--were American big shots. They were clearly embarrassed by the turn of events in Germany beginning in 1933, when Hitler had seized control. They didn't want to make any changes. Were some of them anti-Semites themselves?
At the same time, some in the black community wanted their athletes to go to Berlin and practically disprove racism by winning in their events. In retrospect, this position has been vindicated, above all, by the four gold medals won by Jesse Owens and the hero status he attained in Berlin.
Also, some people in the U.S. were saying, in effect, "Germany isn't any more racist than we are. So why not go?" This was an embarrassing admission, and had the effect calling into question America's own terrible history and condition.
Along this line, one of my current research interests is to find out whether the Christian Echo ever weighed in on these questions at the time. But the back issues of the Echo for the pertinent years are unavailable so far as I can tell. Can anyone help me out with this? I wonder if there' any chance that an unbroken set of the Echo can be put together? That, I think, would be a worthwhile project.
Can some of you Stone-Campbell historians be some assistance here? I need all the help I can get. Thanks!