“As a Presbyterian minister and the son of a Plantation owner, [he] is the epitome of the establishment voice for this time and place.”
As the person who’s been involved with Black History Month at my church, I was asked to write an article about the evolution of BHM at the church, which I wrote in March, and will link to it at some point.
Stealing from me:
There may have been a sense in the country “in 2009, after Barack Obama was inaugurated as President, that perhaps we didn’t NEED Black History Month anymore. It was seen by some that, in a “post-racial” America, we HAD overcome.
“Of course, nine years later, after Charlottesville, the murders at a Charleston church, and Black Lives Matter, it’s clear that we have not yet reached the promised land.”
And America has a lot more history to learn. Mitch Landrieu, mayor of New Orleans, wrote In the Shadows of Statues: A White Southerner Confronts History. Based on hearing him talk about the book on The Daily Show and C-SPAN, he’s helping to fill a void.
Surely, The National Memorial for Peace and Justice addresses a major blind spot in our national consciousness. “The memorial captures the brutality and the scale of lynchings throughout the South, where more than 4,000 black men, women, and children, died at the hands of white mobs between 1877 and 1950. Most were in response to perceived infractions — walking behind a white woman, attempting to quit a job, reporting a crime or organizing sharecroppers.
“Bryan Stevenson, a Harvard University-trained lawyer who created the Equal Justice Initiative in 1994 to fight for justice for people on death row, found himself transfixed by the South’s history of lynching African Americans. Stevenson and a team of researchers spent years documenting those lynchings, combing through court records and local newspapers — which often notified the public that a lynching was coming — and talking to local historians and family members of victims.”
Even earlier, 1842, brought The Religious Instruction of the Negroes in the United States: A Sermon, Delivered Before Associations of Planters in Liberty and M’intosh Counties, Georgia by Charles Colcock Jones, 1804-1863. One of the descriptions on Amazon – there are multiple editions – reads: “As a Presbyterian minister and the son of a Plantation owner, [he] is the epitome of the establishment voice for this time and place…. the ways in which he does and does not allow the humanity of the black population are in themselves fascinating. Read the praise he has for ‘colored ministers’ but brace for the descriptions of the flaws he believes he sees in the black population of the plantations he has visited.”
The more we think we know the history, the more often we are brought up short.
Homer and Harold – “Stories abound of present-day prosecutors who have lost their way, who do anything to win a conviction, who place politics above principle.” This is a fascinating story of the exact opposite
Work fact of the month: in Moldova, Moldovan is spoken by 58.8% (official; virtually the same as the Romanian language), Romanian 16.4%, Russian 16%, Ukrainian 3.8%, Gagauz 3.1% (a Turkish language), Bulgarian 1.1%, other 0.3%, unspecified 0.4%.
American Routes is a weekly two-hour public radio program produced in New Orleans, presenting a broad range of American music — blues and jazz, gospel and soul, old-time country and rockabilly, Cajun and zydeco, Tejano and Latin, roots rock and pop, avant-garde and classical. Now in our 15th year on the air, American Routes explores the shared musical and cultural threads in these American styles and genres of music — and how they are distinguished.
I notice the Capital District Transportation Authority’s rotating messages on the buses. They often tout the energy efficiency of public transportation, or occasionally root for local college teams in the NCAA tournament, or wish us happy holidays. Right after the massacre in San Bernardino, CA, in which 14 people were killed, the buses read, “If you see something, say something.” Sad, but understandable, I suppose.
Less comprehensible was the call from one of the Presidential candidates to ban Muslims from entering the United States. Not only was it abhorrent, and of dubious Constitutional standing, it played right into the hands of DAESH. As Ted Koppel, former anchor of the ABC News program Nightline, noted: The “tough talk” made Donald Trump “in effect the recruiter in chief” for the terrorist organization.
In the introduction of the anthem We Shall Overcome, on the seminal 1963 album Live at Carnegie Hall, Pete Seeger says, “The next verse is ‘We are not afraid’… Like every human being in the world, We HAVE been afraid. But we still sing it. ‘We are not afraid.'”
One of my pastors explained Seeger’s exhortation in terms usually associated with scripture. It is the “prophetic present tense,” a future hope stated as if it has already come to pass. Think the Pledge of Allegiance’s “with liberty and justice for all,” more goal than achievement.
The Transitional Presbyter for Albany Presbytery, Rev. Shannan Vance-Ocampo wrote: “Our fears are the things that hold us back.” There may be fearless people out there, I suppose. But most of us have fear, afraid to do certain things; optimally, we find a way to do it, fear notwithstanding.