Tribute to Dr. Charles Hubert published in:
The Morehouse Alumnus,
July 1944

Dr. Charles D. Hubert, Great Soul, Passes

With the passing of Dr. Charles Dubois Hubert, director of the School of Religion and professor of church history, on January 26, 1944, Morehouse College suffered the second great--perhaps irreplaceable-- loss (occasioned by death) to its administrative staff in the space of four months. Through his unselfish service to the College and by his wise and Christian leadership in the community at large, Dr. Hubert had endeared himself to several generations of "Morehouse Men" and had achieved that universal love, respect, and magnanimity which we are to associate with the late Doctors Archer, Brawley, and Hope and which characterized the founders and early fathers of the College.

Born in Hancock County, Georgia, Charles Dubois Hubert entered the Morehouse Academy in the seventh grade and graduated from it in 1905. He was awarded the B.A. degree by Morehouse College in 1909. He prepared himself for the Christian ministry at the Rochester Theological Seminary, where he earned the B.D. degree in 1912. In 1923 Morehouse College conferred upon this capable and noble son the D.D. degree, and he received further graduate training in his field at the University of Chicago in 1932-1933.

During his rich and useful career Dr. Hubert had served as pastor of the following churches: the First Baptist Church, Mumford, NY; Mt. Olivet Baptist Church, Rochester, NY; Hickory Grove Baptist, Sparta, GA; Shiloh Baptist Church, Atlanta, GA; The First Baptist Church, Darlington, SC; and Providence Baptist Church, Atlanta, GA, of which he was the pastor at the time of his death.

On the retirement of the late President Samuel H. Archer, in 1937, Dr. Hubert was named acting president of Morehouse College, and served in this capacity until the election of President Benjamin E. Mays, three years later. Since 1914 he had been director of the School of Religion. In all these positions Dr. Hubert exhibited the finest qualities of courageous, virile leadership in the noblest traditions of the Christian religion. The fighting spirit which he had shown as varsity half-back during his college days was everywhere evident in his attacks on the social ills which afflict the modern world.

The funeral services for Dr. Hubert, conducted jointly by Providence Baptist Church and Morehouse College, were held in the College chapel at three o'clock Monday, January 31. The eulogy, given by President B.E. Mays, follows:

"The ancient Greeks were eminently correct when they said that there are only two basic reasons for having funerals. The first is to console the bereaved. They knew what everyone must learn through experience that deep grief is like a heavy load; when shared, it is easier to carry. So, we have assembled here this afternoon, in body and in mind, from many sections of America, and from all walks of life, to help this family carry the load. Deep grief is like a heavy load; when shared it is easier to carry. The second reason for funerals orations, according to the Greeks is to exhort the living to an emulation of the virtues of the deceased. And since the virtues of this deceased are many, we pause this afternoon to exhort ourselves and others to an emulation of the virtues of Charles DuBois Hubert. In attempting to do this, I shall use as subject, 'Charles DuBois Hubert, A Great Soul.'

It should be clear to all that a man can be a genius--that he can possess a brilliant mind--and yet never be a great soul. For example, Athens' Alcibiades and Shakespeare's Iago had brilliant minds, and no one can doubt the fact that Hitler and Mussolini have the genius for organizing evil. But history will never record these men as great souls. A great soul may be defined as one who combines in his person a good mind, a good heart, and a deep sense of justice. Jesus and Socrates, Booker Washington and Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi and Saint Francis of Assisi are illustrative of men who combined a sense of justice, intellect, and goodness. Charles DuBois Hubert qualifies as a great soul because he too, combined these qualities in his person, and when these three are combined we have a giant of a man.

It is for this reason that people from all walks of life loved C. D. Hubert and respected him. Whether it was trained or untrained, the classes or the masses, the wealthy or the poor, C. D. Hubert was respected and adored. The ragged boy from the alley, the well dressed boy from the paved streets, the farmer in overalls, the well dressed college professor, the Negro and the white man were all just plain folks, children of God, to C. D. Hubert. It is not an accident that when the news got out in Washington that C. D. Hubert needed blood, sixteen Morehouse men offered blood.

I think it is in order to say on an occasion like this that Morehouse College is a great college not because it is heavily endowed, because Morehouse needs now, has always needed, and probably always will need endowment. It is a great college not because of spacious ground, for we have only eleven acres; not because we have costly physical plant, because our buildings are few and we need more. But Morehouse is a great college because for seventy-seven years Morehouse College has had on its faculty at least one or two John Hopes, one or two Samuel Archers, one or two Benjamin Brawleys, one or two Fred Gassetts, one or two John Brown Watsons, and one or two C. D. Huberts. And two or three great souls on any college faculty can make a college great. C. D. Hubert helped to make Morehouse College great. When men like Hubert die, I am inclined to pray:

 

"God give us men! a time like this demands

 

Strong minds, great hearts, true faith and ready hands;

 

Men whom the lust of office does not kill;

 

Men whom the soils of office cannot buy;

 

Men who possess opinions and a will;

 

Men who have honor; men who will not lie;

 

Men who can stand before a demagogue

 

And damn his treacherous flatteries without winking;

 

Tall men, sun-crowned, who live above the fog

 

In public duty and in private thinking."

C. D. Hubert was a great soul because he knew what it is to suffer and to struggle. There can be no great soul without suffering and no great soul without struggle. It seems to be nature's way to discipline the lives of those who would achieve greatness of soul by subjecting them to suffering and struggle. That is why it sometimes happens that a singer sings sweetest after some great catastrophe, that a minister speaks more sincerely after some great tragedy, and that the individual soul is often softened after he brooded and agonized over the sins of man. Such was the case of the prophets. Hubert suffered no great catastrophe; he was not disciplined through long sickness, for he was until recently an essentially well man. But like Amos and Micah he brooded and agonized over the wrongs and injustices of society. The injustices in the economic order disturbed him. He could never reconcile himself to war. He brooded over the plight of his people: ignorance, Jim Crowism, discrimination, segregation, and disfranchisement. Only those of us close to Hubert knew how these sins wore on his heart and mind. He never understood why a mob at one time should come to get him or his cousin when they had done no wrong.

He knew the meaning of struggle. It's a long way from a plow boy, six mile from a railroad in Hancock County, from a school that ran five or six months a year, to Morehouse, Rochester, and the University Chicago. It was because he knew the meaning of suffering and struggle that his preaching often made men break down and weep. The soul of the man lay bare when he preached. The poem that follows explains why C. D. Hubert was a great soul. Like the tree, he knew what it was to struggle and fight for a place.

 

"The tree that never had to fight

 

For sun and sky and air and light;

 

That stood out in the open plain

 

And always got its share of rain,

 

Never became a forest king,

 

But lived and died a scrubby thing."

 

 

"The man who never had to toil

 

By hand or mind in life's turmoil,

 

Who never had to win his share

 

Of sun and light and sky and air,

 

Never became a manly man,

 

But lived and died as he began."

 

 

"Good timber doesn't grow in ease;

 

The stronger wind--the tougher trees

 

The further sky--the greater length

 

The rougher storms--the greater strength

 

By sun and cold, by rain and snows

 

In tree or man good timber grows."

 

 

"Where thickest stands the forest growth

 

We find the patriarchs of both,

 

And they hold converse with the stars

 

Whose broken branches shows the scars

 

Of many winds and much of strife--

 

This is the common law of life."

C. D. Hubert was good timber. He was a forest king. He held converse with the stars.

He was a great soul because he worked for the joy of working and for the good of the cause. He was no four-flusher. He didn't seek the limelight. He never catered to the crowd. He never preached a sermon for the express purpose of making people shout. He never preached for money. He preached for the joy of preaching and because God Almighty sent him into the world to preach. It must have been men like Hubert that Kipling had in mind when he said:

 

"And those that were good will be happy;

 

they sit in a golden chair;

 

They shall splash at a ten-league canvas

 

with brushes of comets' hair;

 

They shall find real saints to draw from--

 

Magdalene, Peter, Paul;

 

They shall work for an age at a sitting and

 

never be tired at all!

 

 

"And only the Master shall praise us, and

 

only the Master shall blame;

 

And no one shall work for money, and no

 

one shall work for fame;

 

But each for the joy of the working, and

 

each, in his separate star,

 

Shall draw the Things as he sees it for the

 

Good of things as they are!"

Charles DuBois Hubert was a great soul because he combined in his person a good mind, a good heart, and a sense of justice; because he loved peoples, all peoples; because he knew the meaning of struggle and the meaning of suffering; and finally, he was a great soul because he worked for the joy of the working, and not for the plaudit of men. For such purposes came Charles DuBois Hubert into the world.