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Never forget

Black history should be important to Christians.

As Christians, we know that the Holy Bible is our spiritual guide to salvation through Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:2-3). But it is also a vast, meticulous record-keeping of historical events. 

From Genesis through Revelation, God always reminds his children that he is the one who has provided for them, delivered them and protected them. In Joshua 4:1-7, God instructs Joshua to appoint a representative from each tribe of Israel to collect 12 stones from the Jordan River. The stones serve as a keepsake to remind Israel’s children and future generations how God allowed the Jewish people to cross over on dry ground. 

“For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.”

— Romans 15:4 (New King James Version)

The Jewish ancestry of Christ, beginning with Abraham, is carefully outlined in Matthew 1:1-17.

Here in the United States, before President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, “Negro History Week” was created in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson.  

The week — and now, month of February — was chosen because Black communities across the nation celebrated the birthdays of President Abraham Lincoln (Feb. 12) and abolitionist/orator Frederick Douglass (Feb. 14).

An ongoing topic of debate and discussion is this: How can this country squeeze the oh-so-many recognitions and contributions of Black Americans into the shortest month of the year? ​ 

My personal answer is simple: You can’t!

Black history ​is American history. Our existence, our footprints and our journey have been woven and intertwined within the fabric of America since we were brought over as slaves from Africa to these shores.

As Christians first — and Americans second — we should all be more knowledgeable and celebrate the achievements of Black historymakers, both the famous and the unsung. 

We all are familiar with Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, John Lewis and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. But do we know the contributions of Garrett A. Morgan, Roy Wilkins, Dorothy Height or Fannie Lou Hamer? 

Are members of Churches of Christ aware of gospel preacher Marshall Keeble, who baptized about 40,000 people and helped found Nashville Christian Institute? Or Fred Gray, the civil rights attorney who represented Parks and King? 

Do we know that Southwestern Christian College in Terrell, Texas, is the only historically Black college funded by Churches of Christ?

Knowing our history always has been important to God. Every single Sunday, we take the Lord’s Supper to commemorate the death, burial and resurrection of his beloved son, Jesus Christ. 

As Christians here in America, we also need to be mindful of our country’s secular contributors and simultaneously hold fast to Colossians 3:11“where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.”

TRINDI G. MITCHELL is a member of the Henry Street Church of Christ in Gadsden, Ala. She is a Sunday school teacher, writer and mother of two children. Contact [email protected].

Filed under: Black History Month Christians Churches of Christ In the Word Opinion Race

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