George Washington Carver? Alvin D. Smith? Martin Luther King Jr.? Apocryphal?
Dear Quote Investigator: Prominent scientist and educator George Washington Carver believed that fear lay at the root of hatred, and hatred would eventually lead to the destruction of the hater. Would you please help me to find a citation?
Quote Investigator: Alvin D. Smith attended the Bible Classes conducted by George Washington Carver during the years 1915 to 1919. Smith often took notes, and many years later in 1954 he published “George Washington Carver: Man of God” which included material based on Carver’s lectures Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1
Right off, he began talking about David and Goliath. He said, “As we tune in with our Creator and study our Bible, we get the answer to any problem.
“Fear of something is at the root of hate for others and hate within will ultimately destroy the hater. Keep your thoughts free from hate, and you need have no fear from those who hate you,” said he.
Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.
Embedded in the passage above is an adage that was evolving before 1915: Hate destroys the hater. A Quote Investigator webpage on this topic is available here.
In 1916 “The Daily Telegram” of Long Beach, California reported on a speech delivered at the local Women’s City Club by former Mayor Louis N. Whealton who employed an instance of the adage: 2
For real or imaginary causes, hate and envy spoil much of the beauty of the world and bring to many, to the one who hates more than all,—misery and unhappiness. Hate at last destroys the hater, who becomes ostracized and pitied as one who is suffering with a mania, and, to that degree, insane.
In 1957 civil rights champion Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a sermon titled “Loving Your Enemies” which included the saying: 3
Hate at any point is a cancer that gnaws away at the very vital center of your life and your existence. It is like eroding acid that eats away the best and the objective center of your life. So Jesus says love, because hate destroys the hater as well as the hated.
In 1995 “Words to Make My Dream Children Live: A Book of African American Quotations” included an entry for the Carver’s remark: 4
Fear of something is at the root of hate for others and hate within will eventually destroy the hater.
—George Washington Carver: Man of God (1954)
In 1997 “American Heritage Dictionary of American Quotations” also included an entry for the Carver’s remark. 5
In conclusion, the 1954 citation provides substantive evidence that George Washington Carver made the statement under analysis. The accuracy of the ascription depends on the veracity of Alvin D. Smith who stated that he heard the remark during one of the Bible Classes conducted by Carver between 1915 and 1919.
- 1954, George Washington Carver: Man of God by Alvin D. Smith, Chapter: Race Hate—David and Goliath, Quote Page 43, Exposition Press, New York. (HathiTrust Full View) link ↩
- 1916 May 20, The Daily Telegram, Section: Social and Club Life in Long Beach, Louis N. Whealton, John Francis Neyland, Quote Page 6, Column 5, Long Beach, California. (Newspapers_com) ↩
- 1998, A Knock at Midnight: Inspiration from the Great Sermons of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. by Martin Luther King Jr., Edited by Clayborne Carson and Peter Holloran, Sermon: Loving Your Enemies, Note: Delivered at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Montgomery, Alabama on November 17, 1957, Start Page 41, Quote Page 53, Published by IPM: Intellectual Properties Management Inc. in Association with Warner Books, New York. (Verified with scans) ↩
- 1995, Words to Make My Dream Children Live: A Book of African American Quotations, Edited by Deirdre Mullane, Entry: George Washington Carver (1864?-1943), Quote Page 74, Anchor Books: Doubleday, New York. (Verified with scans) ↩
- 1997, American Heritage Dictionary of American Quotations, Selected and Annotated by Margaret Miner and Hugh Rawson, Topic: Hate, Quote Page 225, Penguin Reference, New York. (Verified with scans) ↩