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

“I would consider it a curse second only to slavery itself to owe the emancipation of our race purely and solely to the American people. If they had voluntarily and from philanthropic motives and not from military necessity adopted the policy of emancipation, for ages yet to come it would be made the pretext to deny us some right or withhold some benefit. We would stand in the attitude of supplicants and dependents instead of equals, not having by earnest efforts, and co-labor won manly independence. …If you do not possess the physical courage to resist every insult and indignity, and manifest a readiness to sacrifice every interest, and even life itself, for your rights, you so not deserve to be a free man. And if you were made a freeman, you would soon become a slave again.” George E. Stephens (Civil War soldier in the 54th Massachusetts Infantry, war correspondent, lay Baptist preacher – 1832-1888)

“It is said that men generally regard moral and religious duties more attentively as they grow in years, and as year by year pass away, I am the more deeply impressed with the fleetness of time and the rapid approach of the eternity beyond the tomb; and as the annual watch-night approaches, thinks to myself, have any of the Christian graces adorned the conduct of the receding year? Has faith strengthened? Is the devotion to the cause of God and my fellow-man more firm? And am I prepared to brave the storms and conflicts of the hour, or willing to sacrifice interests, home, comfort, or life if need be for God and liberty? These are some of the suggestions of the watch-night of December 31, 1862.” George E. Stephens

“Every tear shed by the bereaved widow and orphan, every sigh for the departed brave, form the sad and mournful atonement and portion, and are sanctifying the motto ‘Liberty and Union’ – soon to adorn our flag. Thus the blood and the tortures of the slave blending with the blood and tears of the free, promise eventually to insure universal freedom and a peaceful and united country.” George E. Stephens

“I have called my tiny community a world, and so its isolation made it; and yet there was among us but a half-awakened common consciousness, sprung from common joy and grief, at burial, birth, or wedding; from a common hardship in poverty, poor land, and low wages; and above all, from the sight of the Veil that hung between us and Opportunity. All this caused us to think some thoughts together; but these, when ripe for speech, were spoken in various languages. Those whose eyes twenty-five and more years before had seen ‘the glory of the coming of the Lord,’ saw in every present hindrance or help a dark fatalism bound to bring all things right in His own good time. The mass of those to whom slavery was a dim recollection of childhood found the world a puzzling thing: it asked little of them, and they answered with little, and yet it ridiculed their offering. Such a paradox they could not understand, and therefore sank into listless indifference, or shiftlessness, or reckless bravado.” W.E.B. DuBois (sociologist, historian, civil rights activist and author – 1868-1963)

“Bishop Onderdonk lived at the head of six white steps, – corpulent, red-faced, and the author of several thrilling tracts on Apostolic Succession. It was after dinner, and the Bishop had settled himself for a pleasant season of contemplation, when the bell must needs ring, and there must burst in upon the Bishop a letter and a thin, ungainly Negro. Bishop Onderdonk read the letter hastily and frowned. Fortunately, his mind was already clear on this point; and he cleared his brow and looked at Crummell. Then he said, slowly and impressively: ‘I will receive you into this diocese on one condition: no Negro priest can sit in my church convention, and no Negro church must ask for representation there.’ I sometimes fancy I can see that tableau: the frail black figure, nervously twitching his hat before the massive abdomen of Bishop Onderdonk; his threadbare coat thrown against the dark woodwork of the book-cases, where Fox’s ‘Lives of the Martyrs’ nestled happily beside ‘The Whole Duty of Man.’” W.E.B. DuBois

“Negroes never did stick together and they never will. They hold too much malice – Jealousy deep down in their hearts for the few Negroes who tries…They know within themselves that they’re doing the wrong things, but expects everybody just because he is a Negro to give up everything he has struggled for in life such as a decent family – a living, a plain life – the respect.” Louis Armstrong (trumpeter, vocalist, goodwill ambassador – 1901-1971)

“I learned in New Jersey that to be a Negro meant, precisely, that one was never looked at but was simply at the mercy of the reflexes that color of one’s skin caused in other people…I simply did not know what was happening. I did not know what I had done, and I shortly began to wonder what anyone could possibly do, to bring about such unanimous, active, and unbearably vocal hostility.” James Baldwin (writer and social critic – 1924-1987)

“I came to an enormous, glittering, and fashionable restaurant in which I knew not even the intercession of the Virgin would cause me to be served. I pushed through the doors and took the first vacant seat I saw, at a table for two, and waited. I do not know how long I waited and I rather wonder, until today, what I could possibly have looked like. Whatever I looked like, I frightened the waitress who shortly appeared, and the moment she appeared all of my fury flowed toward her. I hated her for her white face, and for her great, astounded, frightened eyes. I felt that if she found a black man so frightening I would make her fright worthwhile. She did not ask me what I wanted, but repeated, as though she had learned it somewhere, ‘We don’t serve Negroes here.’ She did not say it with the blunt, derisive hostility to which I had grown so accustomed, but, rather, with a note of apology in her voice, and fear. This made me colder and more murderous than ever. I felt I had to do something with my hands. I wanted her to come close enough for me to get her neck between my hands. …I realized that she would never come any closer and that I would have to strike from a distance. There was nothing on the table but an ordinary water mug half full of water, and I picked this up and hurled it with all my strength at her. She ducked and it missed her and shattered against the mirror behind the bar. And, with that sound, my frozen blood abruptly thawed, I returned from wherever I had been, I saw for the first time, the restaurant, the people with their mouths open, already, as it seemed to me, rising as one man, and I realized what I had done, and where I was, and I was frightened. I rose and began running for the door. A round, potbellied man grabbed me by the nape of the neck just as I reached the doors and began to beat me about the face. I kicked him and got loose and ran into the streets …I could not get over two facts, both equally difficult for the imagination to grasp, and one was that I could have been murdered. But the other was that I had been ready to commit murder. I saw nothing very clearly but I did see this; that my life, my real life, was in danger, and not from anything other people might do but from the hatred I carried in my own heart.” James Baldwin

“In order really to hate white people, one has to blot so much out of the mind – and the heart – that this hatred itself becomes an exhausting and self-destructive pose. But this does not mean, on the other hand, that love comes easily: the white world is too powerful, too complacent, too ready with gratuitous humiliation, and, above all, too ignorant and too innocent for that. One is absolutely forced to make perpetual qualifications and one’s own reactions are always canceling each other out. It is this, really, which has driven so many people mad, both white and black.” James Baldwin

“Man, I’m around young brothers all the time. I’ve never lost the connection. I tell them, Look man, we don’t need all them hard, ugly-faced looks. I’m not going to try to prove anything to you. You need to prove it to me because I know more about this than you. And the fact that you feel life has messed you over, so what, man? That’s unfortunate. But that don’t give you license to act all messed up to anyone else. Things happened to me, too, but it has nothing to do with you. So the obsession with realness and ghetto authenticity that has a vise grip on black popular culture – that’s like volunteer slavery, trying to prove you really did come from the plantation. Brothers need to be out here trying to compete for jobs and education. And whatever our cultural program is, maybe we should be trying to define that in the highest terms instead of the lowest, instead of being a caricature of a black person, try to be a real person. Don’t be a toilet for society or fodder for the growing prison business.” Wynton Marsalis (trumpeter, educator – born 1961)

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