Based on what his critics say, would you believe that J. Frank Norris was a featured speaker at national meeting of Black Baptists? Probably not. But he was at the 1926 meeting of the National Baptist Convention held in Fort Worth, Texas, in September, 1926.
I noticed a brief quote about this event in Michael Schepis’ biography of Norris (p. 85) and have located some newspaper coverage of it. I would also like to note the timing of the convention falls in between the shooting of D.E. Chipps in July and Norris being tried for murder in November.
Please remember the age and society that produced these newspaper stories is different than ours today. Though I did not notice anything overtly racist there is some language of that time that is not used today.
From the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on September 9, 1926:
I think something to note on the same page as the above is this snippet concerning Norris:
From the Fort Worth Record Telegram on September 11, 1926:
This ad is found in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on September 11-12, 1926:
From the Fort Worth Record Telegram on September 13, 1926, with an account of Norris speaking:
Finally, from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on September 18, 1926:
Schepis included one quote in his book found in The Searchlight on January 28, 1927. It is from a letter from Rev. J.W. Hurse of Kansas City, Missouri, and states: “…one of the greatest sermons that it was ever my pleasure to listen to was preached by you in our National Baptist Convention.”