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. All of the writers are African American, but from different periods of history and different perspectives. As a Caucasian, I have deliberately read widely on this matter to be informed, empathetic, and prudent in conduct. Pastor Howard Lawler

“In August, 1832, my master attended a Methodist camp-meeting held in the Bay-side, Talbot county, and there experienced religion. I indulged a faint hope that his conversion would lead him to emancipate his slaves, and that, if he did not do this, it would, at any rate, make him more kind and humane. I was disappointed in both these respects. It neither made him to be humane to his slaves, nor to emancipate them. If it had any effect on his character, it made him more cruel and hateful in all his ways; for I believe him to have been a much worse man after his conversion than before. Prior to his conversion, he relied upon his own depravity to shield and sustain him in his savage barbarity; but after his conversion, he found religious sanction and support for his slaveholding cruelty. He made the greatest pretensions to piety. His house was the house of prayer. He prayed morning, noon, and night. He very soon distinguished himself among his brethren, and was soon made a class-leader and exhorter. His activity in revivals was great, and he proved himself an instrument in the hands of the church in converting many souls. His house was the preacher’s home. They used to take great pleasure in coming there to put up; for while he starved us, he stuffed them. …While I lived with my master in St. Michael’s, there was a white young man, a Mr. Wilson, who proposed to keep a Sabbath school for the instruction of such slaves as might be disposed to learn to read the New Testament. We met but three times, when Mr. West and Mr. Fairbanks, both class-leaders, with many others, came upon us with sticks and other missiles, drove us off, and forbade us to meet again. Thus ended our little Sabbath school in the pious town of St. Michael’s.” ” Frederick Douglass (former slave, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman – 1818-1895)

“It was necessary to keep our religious masters at St. Michael’s unacquainted with the fact, that, instead of spending the Sabbath in wrestling, boxing, and drinking whisky, we were trying to learn how to read the will of God; for they had much rather see us engaged in those degrading sports, than to see us behaving like intellectual, moral, and accountable beings.” Frederick Douglass

“We have men-stealers for ministers, women-whippers for missionaries, and cradle-plunderers for church members. The man who wields the blood-clotted cowskin during the week fills the pulpit on Sunday, and claims to be a minister of the meek and lowly Jesus. The man who robs me of my earnings at the end of each week meets me as a class-leader on Sunday morning, to show me the way of life, and the path of salvation. He who sells my sister, for purposes of prostitution, stands forth as the pious advocate of purity. He who proclaims it a religious duty to read the Bible denies me the right of learning to read the name of God who made me. He who is the religious advocate of marriage robs whole millions of its sacred influence, and leaves them to the ravages of wholesale pollution. The warm defender of the sacredness of the family relation is the same that scatters whole families – sundering husbands and wives, parents and children, sisters and brothers – leaving the hut vacant, and the hearth desolate. We see the thief preaching against theft, and the adulterer against adultery. We have men sold to build churches, women sold to support the gospel, and babes sold to purchase Bibles for the poor heathen! All for the glory of God and the good of souls! The slave auctioneer’s bell and the church-going bell chime in with each other, and the bitter cries of the heart-broken slave are drowned in the religious shouts of his pious master. Revivals of religion and revivals in the slave-trade go hand in hand together.” Frederick Douglass

“One day she was whipped for grieving for her lost boy. Colonel Burwell never liked to see one of his slaves wear a sorrowful face, and those who offended in the particular way were always punished. Alas! The sunny face of the slave is not always an indication of sunshine in the heart. Colonel Burwell at one time owned about seventy slaves, all of which were sold, and in a majority of instances wives were separated from husbands and children from their parents.” Elizabeth Keckley (former slave, seamstress, and confidant of Mary Lincoln – 1818-1907)

“The twelve hundred dollars with which I purchased the freedom of myself and son I consented to accept only as a loan. I went to work in earnest, and in a short time paid every cent that was so kindly advanced by my lady patrons of St. Louis.” Elizabeth Keckley

“Oh, yes, he sometimes whipped me soundly, though never cruelly. And the most severe whipping he ever give me was because I was cruel to a cat.” Sojourner Truth (abolitionist and women’s rights activist born into slavery in Ulster County, New York and lived in New Paltz as a slave – 1797-1883)

“I was setting here thinking the other night ‘bout the talk of them kind of white folks going to Heaven. Lord God, they’d turn Heaven wrong side out and have the angels working to make them something they could take away from them.” Jack Maddox (former slave)

“This the way it go: Be nice to massa and missus; don’t be mean; be obedient, and work hard. That was all the Sunday school lesson they taught us.” West Turner (slave)

“I had never seen white people before and they appeared to me the ugliest creatures in the world. The persons who brought us down the river received payment for us of the people in the ship, in various articles, of which I remember that a keg of liquor and some yards of blue and red cotton cloth were the principal.” Charles Ball (former slave, U.S. Navy, author – 1780-?)

“I pity from the bottom of my heart any nation or body of people that is so unfortunate as to get entangled in the net of slavery. I have long since ceased to cherish any spirit of bitterness against the Southern white people on account of our country was wholly responsible for its introduction, and, besides, it was recognized and protected for years by the General government. Having once got its tentacles fastened on to the economic and social life of the Republic, it was no easy matter for the country to relieve itself of the institution. Then, when we rid ourselves of prejudice, or racial feeling, and look facts in the face, we must acknowledge that, notwithstanding the cruelty and moral wrong of slavery, the ten million Negroes inhabiting this country, who themselves or whose ancestors went through the school of American slavery, are in a stronger and more hopeful condition, materially, intellectually, morally, and religiously, than is true of an equal number of black people in any other portion of the globe. This is so to such an extent that Negroes in this country, who themselves or whose forefathers went through the school of slavery, are constantly returning to Africa as missionaries to enlighten those who remained in the fatherland. This I say, not to justify slavery – on the other hand, I condemn it as an institution, as we all know that in America it was established for selfish and financial reasons, and not from a missionary motive – but to call attention to a fact, and to show how Providence so often uses men and institutions to accomplish a purpose.” Booker T. Washington (educator, author, orator, and advisor to presidents of the United States – 1856-1915)

“This experience of a whole race beginning to go to school for the first time, presents one of the most interesting studies that has ever occurred in connection with the development of any race. Few people who were not right in the midst of the scenes can form any exact idea of the intense desire which the people of my race showed for an education. As I have stated, it was a whole race trying to go to school. Few were too young, and none too old, to make the attempt to learn. As fast as any kind of teachers could be secured, not only were day-schools filled, but night-schools as well. The great ambition of the older people was to try to learn to read the Bible before they died.” Booker T. Washington

“I knew that the average Indian felt himself above the white man and, of course, he felt himself far above the Negro, largely on account of the fact of the Negro having submitted to slavery – a thing which the Indian would never do. The Indians, in the Indian territory, owned a large number of slaves during the days of slavery.” Booker T. Washington

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