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Historical essence reflects the politics of cultural legacies

Derek Joy

Derek Joy

Historical essence reflects the politics of cultural legacies

By Derek Joy

One very important social aspect of life is history. Some say “His Story.”

Hence, a journey back in time takes me to an interview of the late Rev. Dr. Mack King Carter, then pastor of Mount Olive Baptist Church in Fort Lauderdale.

His answer to one of my pointed questions was succinct. “The church mirrors society,” said Carter.

Sure enough, since then, a number of other pastors have given the same response to my pointed question. Thus, the evolution of life in America for people of color hit a milestone in 1787.

St. George’s Methodist Church in Philadelphia, Pa., as was the custom, allowed Black Americans to attend worship services in the balcony. A segregated congregation when the Bible doesn’t address pigmentation or other physical characteristics in God’s realm.

So, Richard Allen led a revolt, walked out with the intent that came to fruition as the founding of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. Today finds people of color virtually every Christian denomination, Judaism and Islam.

That social mirror reflects blatant visions of racism and discrimination – then and now. Countless pastors have given the same response to the question, “Why are Black Americans so obsessed with church?”

The answer is almost always, “Because the church is all they (Anglo majority in America) let us have.”  Not too far from the truth, even today.

No. I didn’t run that by Florida State Representative Sharon Pritchett (Dem., Dist. 102) as we enjoyed the Miami Gardens Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday at the Betty T. Ferguson Complex.

While talking to Harry Upshaw, the subject of high schools came up. Pritchett graduated from Miami Jackson. Upshaw and I are Miami Northwestern alumnae.  So, the rivalry began.

No.  I didn’t attack the church, or which school has produced the most ministers. I simply went another way, telling her the ’West has more elected officials than the Generals.

“Who else, other than Miami Dade Circuit Judge Teretha Lundy Thomas and you, hold elected office?” Needless to say Pritchett couldn’t think of any and conceded after I rattled off the names of a few Bulls in elected office.

Most notable are Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, State Representative Cynthia Stafford, Miami Dade Circuit Judge Rodney Smith, Miami Dade School Board Members Dorothy Bendross Mindingall, Wilbert “Tee” Holloway and Tallahassee Mayor John Marks.

Well, Pritchett and the Generals lost that battle, but she, as is Stafford, while struggling as Democrats in the State legislature, where Republicans hold an overwhelming majority, is winning another battle.

In partnering with Feeding South Florida (under the auspices of Feeding America) is doing a pretty good community service giving food to the senior citizens, among others, in her district.

It is a golden opportunity for the church to mirror society. Jump in and feed the hungry to the point that the wealthy will curtail their greed and consider the less fortunate.

And, maybe, just maybe, a new page in history can be written to detail an all out assault on domestic terrorism among people of color during Black History Month.


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