Hand of the Cause
Louis Gregory was born in Charleston, South Carolina in 1874 at a time when Baha’u’llah walked upon the earth and was a prisoner of the Ottoman Empire, an empire 600 years old, the most powerful in all of Islam that together with the Persian Empire were the chief tormentors of Baha’u’llah; who would soon win the heart and animate the soul of the American who is honored as the Hand of the Cause of God Louis Gregory.
His parents were former slaves who were freed during the American Civil War.
It was natural for Louis Gregory to be attracted to the Baha’i Faith because it teaches the oneness of mankind and he saw himself as a living example of the reality that all humans are equal in the sight of God. As an attorney and an incisive thinker, Louis Gregory appreciated there is no distinction granted to anyone by God on the merit of race alone. After all, wasn’t Jesus a Jew? Didn’t He come from a race of people reviled and persecuted across the planet? Louis Gregory knew that the Creator made all people and that come the Day of Judgment, character would be infinitely more important than race.
Yes, Louis Gregory was an extraordinary thinker whose ideas both encompassed his time, and also reached into the future to help create a better world based on the principles of the Faith of Baha’u’llah; which he found to be morally superior to what guided the lives of the generality of mankind — if only because the slightest hint of racism or sexism among any people causes irreparable harm to all of humanity.
He supported the efforts of everyone to educate others, both in practical knowledge related to earning a living in order to live noble and productive lives, but also he wanted everyone to live in a nation that would embody truths forever associated with the Faith of Baha’u’llah: the oneness of mankind, the oneness of God, the equality of men and women, the agreement between science and religion, and the need for universal education as a means to free humanity from the yoke of superstition, fanaticism, and the darkness of ignorance of every kind.
When Louis Gregory passed away at age 73 in July 1951, Shoghi Effendi sent a telegram to the American Baha’i community which spoke glowingly of the “noble-minded, golden-hearted Louis Gregory” who was “so loved, admired and trusted by Abdu’l-Baha.” Furthermore, he telegrammed that Louis Gregory “Deserves rank of first Hand of the Cause of his race. Rising Baha’i generation in African continent will glory in his memory and emulate his example.”
Louis Gregory was a prominent and beloved member of the American Baha’i Community. At the request of Abdu’l-Baha, he spearheaded the racial integration of Baha’i meetings, both in the Northern and Southern states, when integration was still frowned upon in both regions and, yet, soon became a hallmark of Baha’i meetings throughout America. He served on the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States of America for many years. He had a talent for administration and organization, and for working closely and productively with people of different races, at a time — a few short decades ago — when such an accomplishment was rare. Like Saint Gregory the Enlightener, who converted Armenia to Christianity in 301 AD, making it the first Christian nation, Louis Gregory helped to brighten the lives of many people throughout the United States of America and was a living example of what it means to live a noble and productive life, free of the bane of prejudice. In his heart of hearts, the “noble-minded, golden-hearted Louis Gregory” may have dreamed of the day when the United States of America would become the first nation to officially adopt all the guiding principles of the Baha’i Faith, and achieve the destiny foreseen by Abdu’l-Baha for America when He prayed on behalf of its people and their nation: “Confirm this revered nation to upraise the standard of the oneness of humanity, to promulgate the Most Great Peace, to become thereby most glorious and praiseworthy among all the nations of the world. O God! This American nation is worthy of Thy favors and is deserving of Thy mercy. Make it precious and near to Thee through Thy bounty and bestowal.”