The Louis Gregory Project has evolved from Lex Musta's study of the Hand of the Cause Mr. Louis George Gregory since 1997, though its genesis dates from the August 6, 1951 cablegram of the Guardian Shoghi Effendi which established both his place in history as well as his most prominent role in the future. This project is dedicated to the production of a book to be distributed for free in Africa to encourage the "Rising Bahá'í generation in" the "African continent" to "glory in his memory and emulate his example". In addition, it serves as a cultural repository and resource for the citizenry of the world.
Haifa Israel, July 2005. Inaugural Consultation Launching the Louis Gregory Project Into The World.
The Project invites individuals from the African Continent to respond to the statement of the Guardian of the Baha'i Faith which explains the Hand of the Cause of God Mr. Louis George Gregory's Role in the future of Africa: "Rising Bahá'í generation in African continent will glory in [Louis George Gregory's] memory and emulate [Louis George Gregory's] example". The project will be completed when a youth from every nation, tribe and ethnic group in Africa responds to that statement with a statement of their own on exactly what memory and example is meaningful to them and applicable to the most urgent and vital needs of her or his community and continent. The intent is to be both spiritually uplifting and intellectually challenging.
Profoundly deplore grievous loss of dearly beloved, noble-minded, golden-hearted Louis Gregory, pride and example to the Negro adherents of the Faith. Keenly feel loss of one so loved, admired and trusted by `Abdu'l-Bahá. Deserves rank of first Hand of the Cause of his race. Rising Bahá'í generation in African continent will glory in his memory and emulate his example. Advise hold memorial gathering in Temple in token recognition of his unique position, outstanding services. SHOGHI EFFENDI
Hand of the Cause, Mr. Louis George Gregory
6 June 1874 South Carolina - 30 July 1951 Maine
Light and glory, greeting and praise be upon the Hands of His Cause, through whom the light of long-suffering hath shone forth, and the declaration of authority is proven of God, the Powerful, the Mighty, the Independent, and through whom the sea of bestowal hath moved, and the breeze of the favour of God, the Lord of mankind, hath wafted. BAHA'U'LLAH
I have no objection to your interpretations and inferences so long as they are represented as your own personal observations and reflections," Shoghi Effendi wrote in his own hand to an individual, reasoning that, "no one has the right to impose his view or opinion and require his listeners to believe in his particular interpretation of the sacred and prophetic writings."
(Shoghi Effendi, letter to an individual, dated 6 April 1928. Unfolding Destiny: The Messages from the Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith to the Bahá'í Community of the British Isles (London: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1981), p. 423)
A clear distinction is made in our Faith between authoritative interpretation and the interpretation or understanding that each individual arrives at for himself from his study of its teachings. While the former is confined to the Guardian, the latter, according to the guidance given to us by the Guardian himself, should by no means be suppressed. In fact such individual interpretation is considered the fruit of man's rational power and conducive to a better understanding of the teachings, provided that no disputes or arguments arise among the friends and the individual himself understands and makes it clear that his views are merely his own. Individual interpretations continually change as one grows in comprehension of the teachings.
(Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1963-1986: The Third Epoch of the Formative Age (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1996), p. 88.)
The first LSA of Kampala, April 1952.
Fred Bigabwa, Chrispin Kajubi, Peter Musoke, Enoch Olinga, Mr and Mrs Musa Banani, Mr and Mrs Ali Nakhjavani and Philip Hainsworth formed the first Spiritual Assembly of Kampala at Ridván. Enoch Olinga is back row middle. The had held a commemoration in honor of Louis Gregory 5 months earlier.
On the 30th of July 1951 Louis George Gregory passed away. That same day Mr and Mrs Musa Banani, Mr and Mrs Ali Nakhjavani and their baby daughter Bahiyyih and Philip Hainsworth were en route to Kampala, Uganda where they arrived on the second of August 3 days later.
After receiving news of Shoghi Effendi's August Cable on November 24th 1951 a commemorative meeting for Hand of the Cause Mr. Louis George Gregory was held in Kampala at which the five pioneers and Marguerite Preston (Kenya) were joined by twelve Africans. In December, the first two native Uganda Baha'is had been accepted - Fred Bigabwa (Mutoro) and Chrispin Kajubi (Muganda). In January, 1952 Mr and Mrs Banani went on pilgrimage from Kampala and while there Mr. Banani was made a Hand of the Cause. The Kampala Baha'is held a meeting to coincide with a time the Guardian was known to visit the Shrines and Mr. Banani was to ask him particularly to pray for Uganda as with the five pioneers and three African believers, they needed another Baha'i to ensure an Assembly. It was at that meeting that the first member of the Teso tribe expressed his desire to accept the Faith. He subsequently went on leave, started the teachingwork among his own people and began the process which eventually led to thousands of his fellow tribesmen enrolling; he later became the Knight of Baha'u'llah for British Cameroons, was designated by the Guardian as Abul Futuh (Father of Victories) and in October, 1957 was appointed as the second African Descent Hand of the Cause - he was Enoch Olinga.
Earlier, in July 1909 Robert Turner, the first African Descent Baha'i living in America, passed away with the words "Alla'u'Abha." 'Abdu'l-Baha had written that if he stayed firm in his Faith he would be the door through which his race would enter the Faith. That same month, one, Mr. Louis George Gregory declared his faith in Baha'u'llah after three years of study with Pauline Knobloch Hannen (1874-1939). Pauline would become one of the first travel teachers to Rhodesia in 1923 and was one of the first to teach Americans of African Descent in 1903. Pauline's sister Fanny Knobloch was one of the first pioneers to Southern Africa reaching Capetown in July 1920. Pauline traveled with Fanny to teach the Faith in Transvaal, Orange Free State and Rhodesia. Fanny returned to Captetown again in 1928-1930 helping to set up 6 communities, which succeeded in giving rise to Mrs. Agnes Carey in 1936 as "The Mother of the Baha'is of South Africa." Agnes received Shoghi Effendi in 1940 and a wave of pioneers in the 1950s. Then, with Mr. Gregory in the Abha Kingdom, the first African Descent South African Klaas Mtsweni, a Zulu, declared his faith in Baha'u'llah in 1954.
Funding for The Louis Gregory Project is administered through Juxta Publishing's Books For The World series. The Louis Gregory Project welcomes the public inspiration and support of thoughtful citizens who wish to make an ear-marked donation to Juxta's Books For The World series.
The Books for the World series aims to bring diverse literature to people around the world by directing all proceeds from sale of a title into donating the same title to people who otherwise could not afford it as well as offering library donation programs and free electronic books which can be used for local printing and distribution.
At this time, the following projects are part of the Books for the World series:
1. A Story of Peace for the Children of God is the inaugural book in the series. The book was originally offered for donation throughout the African continent. In addition and due to overwhelming response, sponsored copies of this title were distributed in Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, and parts of Eastern Europe. The first printing of the book sold out in one month. The second printing of the book is now available.
2. The Psychology of Spirituality is being made for the Books for the World Library Donation Program. National Bahá'í Communities, Local Bahá'í Communities and Bahá'í Groups which would like to donate this book to their local libraries may receive copies of this book for the cost of shipping for this purpose. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
3. Juxta Publishing plans to build a library of freely-available e-books as part of the Books for the World series. These books can be freely downloaded and printed for local non-commercial use. The first Books for the World E-Book will be A Brief Course on the Bahá'í Faith.
Please Consider Encouraging and Assisting the Establishment of a Head Stone to mark the previously unamrked graves of 1st Sgt. Geoge Gregory's Family in the Monrovia Union Cemetery, Charleston, South Carolina
In Savannah Georgia to help preserve the historic Laurel Grove Cemetery, by putting up the first African American Civil War Soldier tombstone in the cemetery belonging to the Father of Louis Gregory's Step-Brother: Louis Noisette. Louis Noisette was born to Benjamin Noisette in enslavement. Benjamin may have been born of Manding Noisette who had come from Haiti in 1797. After Benjamin died, Louis was raised by the Thomas family. When the United States Colored Troops conquered Charleston in 1865 he quickly joined the 33rd United States Colored Troops as a 16 year old in the signal corps. As a drummer he served the unit until the end of the war. Thereupon, he married Lauretta Harrison, and concevied a child Harrison Leroy Noisette. While still in the womb, Louis Noisette passed away in 1881. Soon thereafter he was raised from infancy as Louis George Gregory's brother, and his many children enjoyed a close relationship with their loving uncle. Grace Noisette, still calls Louis George Gregory, Uncle Louis, in her Long Island nursing home.
With the help of prominant Georgia born civil rights leader, Asa Gordon, we will be putting on a number of events at the Savannah civil rights museum, The Gordon library and at the Laurel Grove Cemetery
In 2007 a tour of African states will be made providing free books to African Baha'is detailing the life and times of Louis George Gregory through his own writings, and the documents of his actions throughout his remarkable life which earned him the titel of "Hand of the Cause of God."
To join this project please contact Lex Musta (email@example.com)
If you are named after Louis George Gregory you may wish to consider attending this gathering. If you wish to be a sponsor please send $100 US for reliminary reunion planning, mailings, etc. Please write your name as you would like it to appear in the program. Anticipated cost is $100-125 for activities. Events will include a meet and greet reception, picnic group picture and a Noisette rose Trail/Charleston Tour. In addition for Baha'is there is anticipated to be tours of the Louis George Gregory radio station, the Louis George Gregory Baha'i Institute, the Louis George Gregory Museum, the Civil War Grave Marker of his father 1st Sgt. George Gregory, the Rough Fork Plantation on which his mother Mary Elizabeth was enslaved, a visit to the newly erected grave marker on his mothers previouly unmarked gravesite, a prayerful study circle on life and death featuring the participation of the many individuals named after Louis George Gregory, a festive fireside hosted by Henry Wigfall the individual largely responsible for connecting the Baha'i community back in unity with the Louis George Gregory family, a special presentation by Leroy Gregory Noisette the grandson of the brother of Louis George Gregory and the Godson of the one neice of Louis George Gregory's who became Baha'i Aunt Lala, a visit to the newly placed tombstone of Louis Gregory's step-mothers former husband's gravesite the first African Civil War Union soldier tombstone in Savannah Georgia together with a visit to the Haitian memorial in recognition of Louis Gregory's 1797 Haitian family roots and his pioneering the Faith to Haiti in 1937 and a visit to the Avery Institute which has a portrait of Louis George Gregory placed in his childhood schoolroom preserved. Also the African Slave Market museum and the African International Museum will also be open by 2008 to be enjoyed. Also we will visit the point through which 60% of the Africans who came to the America's passed through.
Please enclose check or money order payable to : Noisette Family Reunion.
Send to: Peggy Noisette Merrell Clement 4745 Arco Lane, Charleston SC 29418, 843-259-1752. firstname.lastname@example.org