Interesting letter read from President H.L. Steed of the South African Mission ... In some cities, he says, the natives have become interested in the gospel, and elders have held meetings with them. This however he had not encouraged, as the elders could not meet the demands made upon them by the white population, and he asked to be instructed on the question of laboring among the natives, by whom he evidently meant negroes.
The question of preaching the gospel to the native negro population was now considered, President [Joseph F.] Smith remarking that all we could do for that class of people was to preach the gospel of repentence [repentance] to them, as they would be entitled to Church membership, and where they receive the gospel they should be encouraged to form branches composed of their own class of people.
[Source: Marquardt, H. Michael, Mormon Central: Adam S. Bennion Papers, Excerpts From Minutes of the Council of the Twelve and of the First Presidency, 1879-1947 http://www.xmission.com/~research/central/chorg2.htm]