African American History

Bursting the bubble of the ‘post racial society’ illusion: An open letter to my white brothers and sisters in Christ Part 1

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AN OPEN LETTER TO MY WHITE BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN CHRIST

“The sons of Noah who went forth from the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. (Ham was the father of Canaan.) These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the people of the whole earth were dispersed.” Genesis 9:18-19

Me as a very cute little girl growing up in the 70's post the Civil Rights Era but during the Black Power Movement.
Me as a very cute little girl growing up in the 70’s post the Civil Rights Era but during the Black Power Movement.

The 1st people group that I ever identified with was that of African Americans. Years later, after growing up in America and experiencing the joy and pride of my 1st community as well as a mixture of love, acceptance, prejudice and racism from those of the majority culture, I became a follower of Christ, and I was now identified with another people group. Both my original identifier and my newfound one were groups of people who had experienced extreme persecution and oppression historically, and had been victimized by others worldwide. My now identifying with Christ and all of his followers, as well as praying for them and grieving with them as believers faced persecution in my life time, did not cancel out my being a part of the people group that I was born into. My joining in the fight for equal treatment under the law for African Americans, and bringing to light injustice in this country does not cancel out my being a follower of Christ. But I have found that in the eyes and hearts of many, that’s exactly what it does.

I have shared news recently that greatly impacts the body of Christ and I have also shared news that greatly impacts the African American community, and I am realizing more and more that these two can be treated as if they are totally unrelated. They are not, as we are not.  Where my white brothers and sisters in Christ, for the most part, can sympathize with the persecution of other believers and even empathize and grieve with/for them, many either cannot, or choose not to empathize or grieve with their African America Christian counterparts when given the opportunity. And if any grief is momentarily shared, it has a time limit attached to it. That being said, I am a believer who is black. Go figure.

(almost totally unrelated sidebar; the historic account of the Ethiopian Eunuch found in Acts 8 points out that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was not unknown to the people of Africa.  We will come back to this later.) “And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah.” Pagans and savages did not do that.)

As such, I share a lot about news stories that stand out to me in the hopes of making people think, and to challenge world views that are held that do not line up with what Christ taught. I share posts voicing my opposition to abortion and the fact that Margaret Sanger designed Planned Parenthood to get rid of black people….to kill them before they were ever born… but I do not hate those who are pro-choice. I share posts standing for the Biblical definition of marriage, but I do not hate homosexuals. I share posts exposing racism and hatred based on skin color and exposing the evil of the justice system in this country, and the systemic criminalization of Black people, but I do not hate white people. As a result of my many posts exposing and challenging views about racism (and there have been many), there are those among my white brothers and sisters who have now labeled my family racists, and do not want to see my family at church anymore. There are those who say that the recent (3 months) worth of posts have been exclusively “Black this and black that” and they are sick of it. They are tired of seeing it in their newsfeed. There are those who believe that all I have shared is negativity. There are those who have unfriended my family and labeled us as now preachers of hate and not preachers of the Gospel. All of this and more because of news stories shared on Facebook. Does anyone other than me see a problem here? We have not changed as a family. The current issue that we happen to be confronting is simply a more difficult one for people to come to terms with. As Christians, for the most part, we can agree on the issue of abortion. For the most part we can agree on the danger of ISIS and the need to pray and stand against that. But sadly, we do not agree on issues of racism. My life experience has given me a different perspective than some of yours, and I share from that perspective partnered with what Gods Word teaches us, and many are increasingly, overwhelmingly uncomfortable. So I am called names. And my family members are called names. And I receive hate filled messages. Because somehow it is still not understood that we are the same. Now, understand that when I say that we have not changed, I am referring to our faith and commitment to Christ. It has not wavered or diminished. We have not changed. But what I am realizing is that many just never got to know us as well as they thought they did in those 2 hour a week services. We still love God. We still love people. We still stand and speak out against injustice, but we now realize that what we view as injustice is not what many of you view as injustice. What we feel passionately about speaking out against, you do not feel passionately about speaking out against. Our
wakeup3goal as a family was to wake people up. Our goal was to raise awareness to what we viewed as the senseless murders of unarmed black men, and the systemic abuse of black people that has remained the status quo in America during and since slavery. Many hold to the belief that the Civil Rights Act did away with all of that, but as I have often said, you can’t legislate the heart. The Civil Rights Act simply gave the white citizens of America whose hearts overflowed with venom for the African American people, boundaries on how far they could go legally in their efforts to rid the “stain” of brown skin from this country. It did not remove the venom. Do you understand? I need you to see and know that horrible evils still take place in this country to the people who look like me, and you need me to see and know that things are not like they used to be, and you need me to understand this while I watch an unarmed black boys body lay in the street with part of his face blown off and his brains oozing out from gunfire by a police officer, for four hours. You need me to understand while I watch an unarmed, black, father of six and grandfather being choked to death, and then see the police walk away without penalty. I want you to stand and fight with me for things to continue to change, and you want me to acknowledge that there have been changes and IF progress is still needed, I just need to understand that it takes time. But how much time? Today marks the 59th anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and a young black boy was found

This noose was found hanging in the work vehicle of the son of a friend who lives in Florida...2 weeks ago.
This noose was found hanging in the work vehicle of the son of a friend who lives in Florida…2 weeks ago.

hanging in NC a couple of months ago.How much time is still needed?

Life is about perspective, but perspectives change all of the time. We hear good movie reviews and decide to see it. Then we hear some really bad ones and decide to wait until it comes out on dvd. Our perspective on whether or not we should spend $54 (for our family) or $15 was impacted by information. How often have we lived to see our perspectives change? But in this area…racism and it’s lasting effects on this country, on the church, I have found that many of my conservative brothers and sisters hold their position. I don’t understand, but I do not harbor hatred. My perspective on the current events we are facing on this front are not what they were a year or two ago. They have continued to grow, and evolve. While I don’t blame you for holding to a perspective that I disagree with, I pray that yours will not remain the same in this crucial area. At the same time, I believe that the descendants of slaves have proven over and over again in this country, that we patiently wait and hope for change, understanding that some changes take more time than others.

I have always been a person who believed that prayer (our communication with God) and the sharing of perspectives and information (our communication with each other), changes things. Sin is a human condition. It knows no color and does not operate within the parameters that our flesh has established. It is not black, white, or brown. To continue to insist in word or deed, that one people group is inherently superior to another based on racist ideology is a huge fallacy that many who name Christ fall for daily.  Following are just a couple of areas where perspectives of white and black Christians seem to differ substantially. I will be discussing these topics in upcoming posts.

The sanctity of the flag and US Constitution

The ‘sovereignty’ of American soil

The value of the descendants of slaves (human beings)

The presumed guilt of black people

I will also be covering, for the sake of sharing historical information, as well as assisting in the development of empathy and compassion, posts about the following subjects;

Brief historical overview of Black Economics

Brief historical overview of the Black Family

Brief historical overview of Black Education

Brief historical overview of Black Politics

Brief historical overview of Blacks in Prison

Gods word tells us to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. Let us begin to do this together in the area that is currently dividing our nation again. Remember, communicating about the issue is not what causes division. Ignoring the issue is.

A Celebration of Black History Month; 5 Phenomenal Profiles

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Hey Everyone! This is Isaiah, and today (this evening) I will be sharing a brief look at five African-American men who left their marks on history.  Please take the little bit of information I share and look into the lives of these men even deeper.  You will be blessed by what you learn!

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Rev. Henry Highland Garnet

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Henry Highland Garnet was a leading member of a generation of black people who led the abolition

movement. Born in 1815 and Died In 1882, Was a former slave but now the pastor

of the fifteenth street Presbyterian church in Washington D.C. On February 12, 1865,

Henry Garnett became the first Black man to give a sermon at the capital building.

Its was delivered on Sunday February 12, 1865 just days within the congress’s

adoption of the 13th Amendment banning slavery.

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Rev. Richard Allen

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Re. Richard Allen was the founder of Americas first black Denomination.

Born a slave on February 14 in 1760 and died March 26, 1831. He was an educator, and the founder of The African Methodist Episcopal Church (A.M.E) In 1816. The first independent black denomination in the U.S.

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John Roy Lynch

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John Roy Lynch was Born September 10th 1847 and died November 2nd 1939.

He was an American politician, Attorney, writer, military general, husband and father.

He was elected as the first African-American speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives in 1873. He was among the first generation of African-Americans

Elected to the U.S House of Representatives during the reconstruction period in the U.S after the civil war.

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Joseph Hayne Rainey

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Born into slavery on June 21st 1832 and died August 1st 1887. His father purchased his freedom in the 1840s, and also purchased the freedom of the rest of his family … He was the first black man to serve in the United States House of Representatives, the second black person to serve in the U.S congress ( U.S senator Hiram Revels was the first), The first African-American to be directly elected to congress, And the black presiding officer of the United States Congress.

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Frederick Douglass

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Frederick Douglass was born a slave in 1818 and died February 20th 1893.

Between speaking fees, investments and income from presidential appointments, Frederick Douglass was able to mass $300,000 dollars in savings, An equivalence of $25 million dollars today.

He was a writer, and incredible public speaker, and a statesman. After he escaped slavery he became a leader of the abolitionist movement. He proved all slave owners wrong in saying “ slaves did not have the intellectual capacity to act and functions as American Citizens independently”. He was also the first African-American to be appointed to office in four different presidential Administrations.

I hope these profiles have encouraged you to research these great men who impacted the history of black people in America. Talk to you soon!

A few points on Black History; Giving Accurate Historical Perspective Deserving Further Study

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Hey guys! This is Jordan again, son #2. I want to share a few points with you about Black History that will give you a more historically accurate perspective on topics that deserve further study.  I hope you read the information, and choose to go and investigate deeper. A good starting point in http://www.wallbuilders.com.

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Most people don’t know that blacks were involved with the founding of America under the Constitution as well as America under the Articles of Confederation, nor do they know about how the end of slavery came about, or that blacks were involved in the Revolutionary War, playing very instrumental roles in victories.

James Armistead
James Armistead

People such as James Armistead, who served as a spy, and in a way a “double agent”, giving accurate information to Marquis de Lafayette (a frenchman fighting for America) and false information to Benedict Arnold, the American trader who was fighting for the British, were crucial to the fight. There was also Peter Salem, who was instrumental in the Battle of Bunker Hill on the Charleston Peninsula across the Boston Harbor.

Peter Salem
Peter Salem

Soon after these times the North West Ordinance was passed in 1787 by the Confederation Congress, which prohibited the territories north west of the Ohio River from coming into the Union as slave states. Because of this, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin came into the Union as free states. The Constitution was ratified the same year and went into effect in 1789. The Constitution was, at one time, considered to be a document in favor of slavery, with many believing that the three-fifths compromise concerned the worth of a slave, but in actuality it was a compromise agreed upon to limit southern states Congressional representation, which would dramatically increase their power in Congress and perpetuate slavery indefinitely. Congress also abolished the slave trade in 1808 taking another step to stop the growth of slavery in America

The Democratic Party was formed in 1792 by Thomas Jefferson, according to the DNC website, and it soon became the majority party. By the 1820’s most of the founding fathers were deceased and the Democratic Party members were making large changes. The party passed the Missouri Compromise that reversed the North West Ordinance allowing slavery in almost half of the federal territories. In 1850 they passed the Fugitive Slave Law, which in actual practice  allowed the kidnapping of free men, runaway slaves, and any black person in sight, and their return or transportation to plantations. In 1854 they passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act which allowed slavery into areas where slavery had been forbidden. As we can see the Democrats were on a path that was increasing the growth and power of slavery.

This was well observed by anti-slavery Democrats, Whigs, Free Soil Advocates, and Emancipationists, so they came together to form the Republican Party. Most people don’t know that the Republican Party was originally started with it’s main goal to prohibit slavery’s expansion, to give black American’s civil rights, and to end slavery all together. And as history shows us the goal they set out to do was accomplished, and in the effort to sustain the long sought and fought for liberty that was being celebrated by black people, it should come as no surprise that many of the first black legislators were apart of the Republican Party. Not only the first black legislators, but almost 100% of black people, in the northern and southern states.

I figure this is needed information not only because it is History and God’s Providence is actively seen in history, but because in recent times there have been attempts to blotch up the history, character, and intentions of the people who we hold responsible for the ultimate downfall of slavery. I will speak in more depth of the actual characters involved in the downfall of slavery in later articles. I also don’t advocate the Republican Party, I advocate justice, and in these times that’s what they stood for. I hope this article has struck some interest of which I hope you will act on and look deeper into these things.

See you soon!

Celebrating Black History Month: Olaudah Equiano

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Celebrate-Black-History-MonHello, again! It’s Kayla! I’m so glad to hear that so many of you have been enjoying what me and my brothers have posted so far. Who I chose to write about this week is Olaudah Equiano. He has fascinated me ever since I heard of him a few years ago. I was happy to find out while researching that he was a believer 🙂 I hope what I wrote encourages you to read more about him!

olaudah-equiano-1Olaudah Equiano, also known as Gustavus Vassa, was born around 1745. He was an abolitionist, author, poet, father, husband and Christian. But before he was all of those things he was just a young boy living with his family in a village in Nigeria. Around the age of eleven, he was kidnapped and sold to white slave traders. Equiano was taken to the New World and was then bought by Michael Pascal, a Royal Navy officer who lived in Virginia. Pascal was said to be cruel and even changed his name to Gustavus Vassa, as a joke to intentionally mock slavery. Gustavus Vassa was a Swedish man who during his life helped free hundreds of thousands of slaves.

Being the slave of a Navy officer, Equiano lived the naval life. He was exposed to many different cultures and shores which was very rare for plantation slaves of his time. Pascal thought it’d look good for Olaudah to get a proper education as well as tutoring, so his master sent him to London. He received some education and in 1766, he bought his freedom. While there, he became involved in the political and legal efforts to outlaw slavery and the British slave trade. He fought to help enslaved Africans get resettled back in Africa.

Olaudah Equiano, while on a voyage in Spain, really embraced Christianity. He had questioned his faith for a long time and he finally felt like he knew what choice to make. In his own words, he felt as if God was giving him a second chance. He truly believed that God created all men equal and we know that because he dedicated his life to the abolishment of slavery.

olaudah equianoIn 1789, he published his autobiography, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano. He knew that one of his most powerful arguments against slavery was his own life. His book became very important and was a major contribution to the abolitionist cause. His book changed the hearts of people towards those enslaved and even inspired others to join him and many others in the fight for the abolishment of slavery. Equiano died in March of 1797. The Slave Trade in Britain didn’t end until nearly a decade later. It would be forty years later that slavery itself was abolished in the British Colonies.

Olaudah Equiano is one to remember. He may not be well known but the work he did made a large impact on those around him and it even influenced the enactment of the Slave Trade Act of 1807. The Slave Trade Act of 1807 prohibited the trading of Africans into slavery in the West Indies. It was one of the most momentous laws ever passed by the British parliament.

He was also portrayed in the movie Amazing Grace along the character of William Wilberforce.

Celebrating Black History Month:Ota Benga

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Hey, my name is Isaiah White and I am Selena’s oldest son. I’m 16 and a junior in Highschool,  and I will be the guest writer for the day. I love playing baseball, running, Mechanical/Electrical engineering, I play the drums/piano, and I love studying foreign languages! I chose to write on a man named Ota Benga, a pygmy man who was put on display in the Bronx Zoo. I chose Ota because of his hardships and struggles that he went thru in the name of Racism and Evolutionary ideology, and because he is not a figure who is celebrated or even discussed during this time of the year. While he made no noteworthy contributions to the ‘Celebration of Black History’, his story is one that should be shared.

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Ota Benga was born in Central Africa in 1881 where he grew up and spent his early years. He was a member of the Mbuti people, a tribe of pygmy people, so he was very short. At a height of  4’11 and weight of only 103 pounds he was called “the boy” in most occasions. One day Ota went out on a hunting expedition, that ended successfully, but when he returned home with his prize he found his wife and two children mutilated. They were a casualty of the Belgian governments campaign for the killing and study of “evolutionary inferior natives”. Ota was later captured by slavers and sold to be in the Bronx zoo as the ” Ape man” .  He was not viewed as a man at all, but a wild animal, and was placed in the monkey house to literally live with the monkeys. He was 23 at the time of his capture, but yet he was called a boy throughout his life. He was put in a cage and humiliated and mocked daily. People would come from all over to see the ” Ape Man” living in the same place as the animals. Those who called themselves Christians and non-Christian alike brought their children to be a part of the humiliation of this young man.  The inhumane treatment that he endured stayed with him throughout his entire life.

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There were several pastors who lobbied for the release of Ota Benga. The frequent protests of his captivity and treatment eventually led to him being purchased, and later taken back to the Congo by a businessman and friend, Samuel Phillips Verner. The Congo is where he married a Batwa woman from a tribe he found a place with. Though he was free and had been returned home, tragedy seemed to follow him. His second wife was killed by a snake bite. It was a short time later that he came to realize that he did not belong with the Batwa people, so he returned to America.

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At his return he went to the Museum of Natural History where it had been arranged that he would stay in a spare room while Verner, his old friend, attended to other business. He enjoyed his time in the museum but soon, once again, grew very homesick. Verner decided to take him to the zoo where he was able to roam freely, but still on display. Verner later gave custody of Ota Benga to Reverend Gordon. Gordon took him off of zoo grounds in 1906. He was still getting much unwanted publicity so Gordon decided to relocate him  Lynchburg, Virginia in January of 1910.  Ota was tutored by Lynchburg poet Anna Spencer so that he could improve his English, and he began to attend elementary school at the Baptist Seminary. After he felt his english improved enough he stopped his formal education and began to work at a Lynchburg tobacco factory. His fellow workers called him “Bingo, and he would often tell his life story in exchange for sandwiches and root beer, But in his heart he wanted to go home…he was planning a trip back to Africa. In 1914 with the outbreak of WWI, a return to Africa became impossible. Depressed and hopeless Ota took his own life by a shot thru the heart at the age of 32. The year was 1916.

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While there is more information on Ota Benga available, I just wanted to give you enough to make you want to learn more about him for yourself.  His life and tragic ending does not spotlight a shining moment in any history, but his is still a story worth being told. You can learn more, as I did, by reading the book, Darwin’s Plantation, available at answersingenesis.com. Since this post is up so late, my mom says we won’t post tomorrow, but we are looking forward to sharing more info with you guys. My sister Kayla will be back later this week! Thanks for reading, and check back soon!

ota benga

Celebrating Black History Month:George Washington Carver

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Photo on 2-5-13 at 3.28 PM

Hi I’m Jordan, I’m Selena’s youngest son and I am your guest writer for today. I’m a freshman in high school and my interests incude music, Christian rap, art, and history. I chose to write about George Washington Carver because of how he stood out  in black history but also because of how little is really known about him.

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George W. Carver 1864-1943
George W. Carver 1864-1943

George Washington Carver is one of the most interesting and inspiring men I have ever studied. He was born in Diamond, Missouri, and it’s believed that he was born in January 1864, though this is not known for certain, because most slaves did not have a record of their birth. It is known that he was freed a year after his birth. While he was still an infant, Confederate bushwhackers kidnapped him, and his mother, but since his master considered them family and treated them as such, he hired a union scout to find them, giving him a horse worth 300 dollars. Though George’s mother was never found, George was found and returned, and the following year he and his older brother, Jim, were emancipated. Even though they were ‘free’, they were still children, and they carver were loved, valued and raised by Moses Carver (who was previously his master) and his wife. Though Moses was not their father he treated them as sons and he and his wife educated them. When George was a kid he gained much interest in art and plants, painting pictures of plants, and planting his own garden and tending to it. Goerge found success in both hobbies. We learn from his life that we can discover, while we are children, the direction God plans for us to go based on what we enjoy and have a natural interest in.

GeorgeWashingtonCarver-in-fieldIn the pursuit of further learning, George traveled to a school for black children 10 miles away from his home. He would also learn at some other schools before he got his diploma at Minneapolis High School. He applied to and was accepted into Highland College in Highland, Kansas, but when the school administrators learned that he was black they denied him admission. So instead of attending the school he spent his time doing biological experiments and gathering a geological collection. He began to study art in 1890 at Simpson College, but soon being convinced that art was not in his best interest, he was persuaded to study botany at the Iowa State Agricultural College, making him the first black student at Iowa State. It was there he got his bachelors and masters degree, and proved to be a brilliant botanist. In 1896 Booker T. Washington convinced him to come teach at the Tuskegee Institute, and under his leadership the Tuskegee agricultural department reached national renown for it’s research and teaching of ways to produce crops in hard conditions, and showing farmers and black sharecroppers cash crops other than cotton, such as soybeans and sweet potatoes. He also ran a mobile class in a wagon, by which he would travel around to different areas and farms to teach farmers.

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In his research and experiments he discovered many uses for and made hundreds of products from peanuts, sweet potatoes, soybeans and pecans such as plastics, dyes, paints, a type of gasoline, and yes peanut butter. Though Carver was a considerably distinguished scientist, he was first a Christian and this was displayed in his character and his approach to science. He said concerning nature, “I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.” And this is truly how he approached science; he would speak to, he would “ask God questions”, and he said God would speak back and give him the answers he was searching for. This man truly seemed to have “Love God with all your gwcheart, soul, mind, and strength,” and, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” down to a science. He died on January 5, 1943 at the age of 73, and with all the amazing awards he received, one such as being made a member of the British Royal Society of Arts in 1916, and receiving a museum, and also a memorial after his death, he never lived for that. He said, “It is not the style of clothes one wears, neither the kind of automobile one drives, nor the amount of money one has in the bank, that counts. These mean nothing. It is simply service that measures success.” I figure learning about history is useless unless one learns from history, so learn from this man who came from humble beginnings and who stayed humble, and being a servant was elevated in God’s timing.

I hope you’ve gained interests not only in George W. Carver, but even some of his contemporaries, like Booker T. Washington and others. I also hope you’ve learned from his story, that all you need to be great is to have a servants heart. So tomorrow you will be hearing from my brother Isaiah! Thanks for reading my post, and share what you have learned with others.