is Black History month in the USA, during which we acknowledge the contribution
that African Americans have made to this country. For example, the recently
released movie “Red Tails” tells a little known story of African American aviators
who were a part of ‘the Greatest Generation’ and helped defeat the enemies of democratic
freedom in the Second World War.
people in other parts of the world may wonder why America devotes a month to
recognizing the achievements of just one segment of our population. However,
the contribution of African Americans to this nation has not always been
acknowledged. In fact, for a long time it was quite the opposite.
We owe the
celebration of Black History Month, and the study of black history, to Dr.
Carter G. Woodson. Carter Woodson was born to parents who were former slaves.
He spent his childhood working in the Kentucky coalmines and enrolled in high
school at age twenty. He later went on to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard. Dr.
Woodson was disturbed to find that history books largely ignored the black
American population. If they were acknowledged it was generally in ways that
reflected their inferior social position. Woodson set out to set the record
The awful stain
on our nation’s history that was slavery is now in our past, but the effects
linger on. It is only in my lifetime that some of the most glaring injustices
have been addressed. When I consider this aspect of our past, it leaves me
asking how we, a people who sing proudly about “The land of the free and the
home of the brave”, and who pledge allegiance to a republic that promises
“Liberty and Justice to all” could have allowed ourselves in the past to be so
blind, so prejudiced and so stupid.
Advocates of slavery and segregation even used the Bible to support
their arguments. Could anything be more contrary to the “ministry of
reconciliation”? (2 Corinthians 5:18)
History month is not just for African Americans. It is a reminder to all of us
that we are capable of inhuman behavior. Racism is not just a black-white
problem. History shows that all people are guilty. Remember Auschwitz, Kosovo,
Cambodia, Darfur and Rwanda – to name just a few racially motivated atrocities
of our modern times. These are signs of the fallenness of all humanity. Christianity
and racism are incompatible. We must work to not just overcome racism, personally,
but eventually to obliterate it through our message and example of love and
reconciliation. As Acts 17:26 reminds us, “God made from one blood every nation
of men to dwell on all the face of the earth” (NIV 1984).
We have a
common Savior, a common need for forgiveness and salvation, and a common
destiny. God values us all, and Jesus paid the same price for each of us. That
leaves no room for bias, prejudice, segregation or discrimination of any kind.
So, as we
are reminded this month of the significant contributions and the unique
sufferings of our African American neighbors, let me encourage you to take some
time getting to know more of that history. Let us pray for the eradication of
the lingering injustices still found in our nation.
Tkach, Speaking of LIFE.