This material accompanied the sermon HERE COMES THE NEIGHBORHOOD from the sermon series: Be the Body – Seeing the Church as the Body in the Bible and Making the Body a Priority in the Present by Pastor Howard Lawler on 11/5/17.

The following quotes are from books in my personal library. As a Caucasian, I have deliberately read widely on this matter to be informed, empathetic, and prudent in my conduct. Pastor Howard

“In the earlier seventeenth century, religion was the predominant criterion by which one would be enslaved; heathens of any color were considered as potential slaves, property whose progeny would also be owned by another. Christians, on the other hand, were not seen as appropriate chattels, whether black or white. As the seventeenth century passed, the opposition between Christian and heathen slowly gave way to that between black and white, and by century’s end, race had become the sole determining factor of who would be enslaved and who would not. Slavery based on the color of one’s skin did not arrive full-blown on English American soil, but slowly emerged over a considerable period of time.” James Peetz

“We know less about the nature of black-white social interaction in the earlier seventeenth century than about that of later times. There is a tendency to project the image of plantation slavery made famous by writers such as Alex Haley and Margaret Mitchell in an uncritical fashion on these earlier times, where in fact, a very different kind of community may have existed, closely knit, and one in which servitude rather than the color of one’s skin dictated the social order. Such a community would be expectable in a situation where those of lesser social standing were of both European and African origin, and would change only when the demographic balance shifted to the full-blown racially based slavery which appeared as the seventeenth century drew to a close.” James Peetz

“While racial feelings undoubtedly affected the position of Negroes, there is more than a little evidence that Virginians during these years [before 1660] were ready to think of Negroes as members or potential members of the community on the same terms as other men and to demand of them the same standards of behavior. Black men and white serving the same master worked, ate, and slept together, and together shared in escapades, escapes and punishments.” Edmund Morgan

The African slave trade was already over a hundred years old when the Dutch ship landed twenty Africans at the Jamestown colony in 1619. Portugal had introduced Africans to Europe in the early sixteenth century. …a white indentured servant could run away, and because he was white, he could go to another place and have no fear of being caught. Gradually, the English colonists turned to African as the ideal solution. Because they were black, it would be difficult for them to run away and escape detection. Too, they could be bought outright and held for as long as they lived. And finally, the supply was inexhaustible. Eighteen years after the first Africans came to the Jamestown colony, the first American-built slave ship sailed from Marblehead, Massachusetts. Its name was The Desire.” Julius Lester

“White resistance to slave conversion appears to have fluctuated according to the proportion of blacks in the population. Thus early support for S.P.G. missionaries’ work in baptizing and catechizing slaves in South Carolina declined as blacks came to outnumber whites in the colony after about 1708. Virginia rectors reported occasional success in Christianizing slaves, but as blacks rose from less than 10 percent of the population in 1680 to around one-third by 1740 white resistance stiffened. Maryland’s population was only 12 to 18 percent black in the first third of the century, which may account for the greater willingness of white masters there to allow slaves to be baptized and catechized. This shading of attitudes is apparent in the responses of southern rectors’ to the bishop of London’s 1724 questionnaire on the state of the colonial church. All nine respondents from South Carolina reported little or no success in converting Negroes, typically because ‘their Masters will not consent to have them Instructed.’ About half of the twenty-eight Virginia respondents had managed to baptize several, and in rarer cases ‘many’, Negroes, though only three or four noted that some blacks actually came to church. But in Maryland nearly a third of the rectors had baptized many slaves, some of whom attended church and took communion.” Patricia Bonomi

“Yet if black conversions were more numerous in Maryland, there is no reason to question the conventional view that the overwhelming majority of southern blacks remained unchurched. As one writer summed it up in 1705: “Talk to a Planter of the Soul of a Negro…and he will respond that whereas the body is worth L20, the souls of an hundred of them would not yield him one farthing.” Patricia Bonomi

“The lower number of blacks in the North suggests that the white population there should have been more receptive to missionary efforts. And indeed, only New York and New Jersey, which along with Rhode Island contained the largest proportion of blacks, passed laws stipulating that baptism did not alter the slaves’ condition of servitude. Conversion did little to ease the burden of slavery in any northern colony, but it appears that more slaves became church adherents there than in the South.” Patricia Bonomi

“Turning my attention to the United States of our own day [early 1800s], I plainly see that in some parts of the country the legal barrier between the two races is tending to come down, but not that of mores: I see that slavery is in retreat, but the prejudice from which it arose is immovable. In that part of the Union where the Negroes are no longer slaves, have they come closer to the whites? Everyone who has lived in the United States will have noticed just the opposite. Race prejudice seems stronger in those states that have abolished slavery than in those where it still exists, and nowhere is it more intolerant than in those states where slavery was never known.” Alexis De Tocqueville

“As much as I try to feel pity at the sight of this degraded and degenerate race, as much as their fate fills me with compassion in thinking of them as really men…it is impossible for me to repress the feeling that they are not of the same blood as us. Seeing their black faces with their fat lips and their grimacing teeth, the wool on their heads, their bent knees, their elongated hands, their large curved fingernails, and above all the livid color of their palms, I could not turn my eyes from their face in order to tell them to keep their distance, and when they advanced that hideous hand toward my plate to serve me, I wished I could leave in order to eat a piece of bread apart rather than dine with such service. What unhappiness for the white race to have tied its existence so closely to that of the Negroes in certain countries! God protect us from such contact.” Louis Agassiz (professor of biology and geology at Harvard and Cornell – lived 1807-1873)

“A woman once complained to Andrew Carnegie: ‘Is it not disgraceful…Negroes admitted to West Point.’ Carnegie responded, ‘Oh…there is something even worse than that. I understand that some of them have been admitted to heaven.’ After some silence she said, ‘That is a different matter, Mr. Carnegie.’”

“By 1900, there were just three monuments to black soldiers in the northern United States, none in Pennsylvania. In the South, monuments to African Americans went up with little white objection. They depicted loyal slaves.” Margaret S. Creighton

“By the middle of the twentieth century, as segregation fastened on the borough, touring African Americans found it nearly impossible to spend the night in Gettysburg. Of the thirty-six hotels and boardinghouses in the area in the early 1950s, none accepted guests of color and only three (out of fourteen) restaurants served them food, ‘depending on the ‘situation.” If they wanted to experience the Battle of Gettysburg on its home ground, then, black visitors had to drive in, pack food, tour quickly, and get out.” Margaret S. Creighton

“Treating people differently according to their race is as un-American as a hereditary aristocracy, and as American as slavery.” Amitai Etzioni

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