THE CHURCH AS OPPORTUNITY PROVIDER
This is the third part in a series on “Christianity and Racism. Parts I & II may be read in previous issues of the Journal (April 26, 2018 & May 3, 2018), or you may obtain a future copy of the booklet, “Christianity and Racism” by inquiring at the Journal Ofﬁces by calling: (626) 798-3972.
Somewhere it was said “Eleven o’clock on Sunday morning is the most segregated hour in America”. It seems that in the statement, while, partially true or not, it may not be so much a negative but an opportunity provider. As a Black man in this country, there is an eighty percent chance that all-week we may work alongside the white man, not as an equal but as subservient. The fact is that many of us probably work for the white man doing equal or more work for less pay. Blacks are usually the last hired and the ﬁrst ﬁ red. When you create an innovation in the workplace, you get no credit for it. It just means that you can get the work done faster and do more work.
In 1921 there was a town in Oklahoma that was so prosperous that it was called “Black Wall Street”. White jealousy resulted in the town being destroyed by a ﬁ re. The creation of the town and its prosperity was living proof that Black people could handle their own affairs.
So what if the eleven o’clock hour was the most segregated hour in America. Have we been so bought into the “Evil Enterprise of Slavery” that we must have a white overseer around at all times? The creation of the African Methodist Episcopal church was created by a group of Blacks who went with Richard Allen, (circa 1790) to pray at a White Church and were told where they could not at the same altar with the White so-called Christians. Is that Christ like?
The creation of the Black Church was a great event in African American History. The Black Church played a great part in the liberation of Black African enslaved people. There were Blacks who were Pastors, Bishops, Deacons, Sunday School teachers, treasurers, musicians and choirs, and leaders who set up conference and conventions. All these duties and tasks proved that Blacks could handle our own affairs, and the Black Church became an opportunity provider.
In another example, the hiring of Jackie Robinson was evidence that given the chance to lead, the white man will lead to the exclusion of the black man. The Black baseball player joining the white baseball league opened one door and closed another door. When the White league’s door opened, the door to the Black leagues closed. Consequently, we have no more Black-owned teams and no more Black-owned baseball stadiums, not even a Black-owned hot dog company.
Currently, there are nine major Black Christian Church denominations, First African Methodist Episcopal (FAME), African Methodist Episcopal Zion (AME Zion), Christian Methodist Episcopal (CME), United Methodist Church (UMC) National Baptist Convention, USA Incorporated, National Baptist Convention of America, unincorporated, Progressive National Baptist Convention, Church of God, and Church of God In Christ. What this means is that Blacks control their own destiny, as it relates to their Church and religious practices, without a white overseer. It also represents nine major leadership organizations in the Black community which provide a training ground and wealth promoters for Black America.
Another great idea was the creation of the Historical Black Colleges and Universities. In part, a creation of the Black Church, many of these Colleges and Universities were born in the basement of the Black Church. In the beginning the Presidents and Professors at these Colleges and Universities were all White. The reasoning for hiring all Whites was that they were the ones with the education we needed. This was a result of the fact of discrimination and legislative adventures that denied Blacks the right to go to attend or work at the best schools.
Black Colleges and Universities make up only 4% of the more than three thousand Colleges and Universities in the Country. Of all Colleges and Universities, these small schools graduate more than 28% of all students who earn undergraduate degrees and 75% of all African Americans who earn PhD’s. Their graduates make up 85% of all Black doctors, 80 % of Black Federal judges, and 50% of all Black engineers.
With this record, Black Colleges and Universities struggle yearly to survive racist theology and legislators who constantly question the need for these schools. These schools and the Black Church form the backbone for black survival and progress. Both need support.
I say these are the best schools because the white man has taught us that Harvard, Princeton and other so -called Ivy League schools are the best. Why not Howard, Morehouse, Spelman and those approximately 105 Black Colleges and Universities rated as the best schools?