Good first day of Black History Month to all. Join us on tomorrow night, Wednesday, February 2, 2022 at 7:00 p.m. via ZOOM to share in an Open Conversation relative to being black in America. Join us if you care to as we peel away and share the many layers of the historical, social and racial injustices Black folks have experienced. It may be an opportunity for you to tell your story. The ZOOM link is the same as Sunday morning worship.
See message for today below:
Today is the beginning of what we call Black History month. I know some of you are saying, “Every month is Black History Month.” Yes, that is true, but let’s appreciate the time and special attention we can give it for the next 28 days. If you woke up this morning and you are black, you ought to give God praises for his goodness, grace and mercy, for He has brought us from a mighty long way. We are indeed the United States of America and we as a people have made significant contributions to the progression of this great nation. I had a conversation with a sister on last week who was just celebrating the fact that she was African American and proud of her heritage. Her testimony to me was, “I wouldn’t change anything in my life and I am so glad I am an African American. That’s a testimony all of us should embrace, just in case we do not.
Black History Month began as a means of remembering important people and events in the history of the African diaspora. Now that is a statement from Wikipedia, but I wish to remind everyone that all African Americans are important people. It does not matter whether we were/are street cleaners, lawyers, educators, doctors, government officials, etc., we are all important and we have all made contributions in some significant ways.
Today we give honor and praises to Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History who first announced the second week of February to be Negro History Week. The second week was chosen because it coincided with the birthday of Abraham Lincoln on February 12 and that of Frederick Douglas on February 14, both of which black communities had celebrated together since the 19th century. Woodson felt deeply that at least one week would allow for the general movement to become something to celebrate annually. Black History Week grew in popularity over the years in the United States and transformed into Black History Month.
Black History Month was first proposed by black educators and the Black United Students at Kent State University in February 1969. The first celebration of Black History Month took place at Kent State a year later, from January 2 to February 28, 1970.
Six years later, Black History Month was being celebrated all across the country in educational institutions, centers of Black culture and community centers. It was President Gerald Ford who recognized Black History Month in 1976, during the celebration of the United States Bicentennial. He urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout history.” May I have the honor of repeating a portion of his statement. He said, “every area of endeavor throughout history.”
These are the words of Carter G. Woodson that all of us must embrace and never forget. “If a race has no history, it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated.”
Beware my brothers and sisters, for there are those with racist and duplicitous agendas who are misleading people about our history. Some folk would like to wipe out our history or influence us to believe certain events did not take place. Wake up and accept who we are, who we have been and who we will become. God did not bring us this far to leave us.
Even though Joel 1 is about an invasion of locust, I love the idea that he says, “Hear this, you elders, listen, all who live in the land. Has anything like this ever happened in you days or in the days of your ancestors? Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation.”
My point is to simply say that we have an obligation to tell our children so that they can tell their children about our rich history. If we don’t do it, the text books will probably no longer tell the stories of our past accurately.
We see in the Old Testament where over and over again, the Israelites are instructed to build memorials so that future generations would not forget their past and their God.
May we devote time an energy teaching our children about our past and how we are to love all people.
Not a sermon, just my thoughts!
Robert Earl Slade, Pastor