Great migration and the church

Written by admin   // July 12, 2012   // Comments Off

I have recently finished reading “Everything Must Change; When the World’s Biggest Problems and Jesus’ Good News Collide” by Brian D. McLaren. I recommend the book to you. I would like to gather a group of us to discuss the book and its implications for our daily living.

Interested? I think we could complete our study in 6 sessions. I think Saturday mornings may work best. Let me know. My email address is [email protected]. We could start in August.

I also just read “The Warmth of Other Suns, The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration” by Isabel Wilkerson. The great migration from the south occurred between 1915 and 1970. Many members of All Saints were either part of that migration or are the children of those who migrated north. Wilkerson follows three people from the time of their migration until their deaths. Ida Mae Brandon Gladney migrated from Mississippi and came to Milwaukee briefly before settling in Chicago. George Swanson Starling came from Florida and migrated to New York. Robert Joseph Pershing Foster came from Georgia and found his way to California.

There were many reasons for migrating. One of the most important was to stay alive. The constant fear of death was often the prime motivator for getting out of the south. And many never made it out alive. Probably one of the best examples of the murderous times African Americans lived in in the South was the murder of Emmett Till. Wilkerson spends a few pages on what led up to what happened to young Emmett, now a Chicagoan who returned south for the summer. He was bludgeoned and shot to death in Mississippi a month after his fourteenth birthday. What makes this death, among so many, memorable is that Mamie Till, Emmett’s mother decided to hold the funeral at Roberts Temple Church of God in Chicago and leave the casket open so all could see what Mississippi had done to her precious child.

Ida Mae Gladney was a member of Roberts Temple Church of God and viewed the mangled body of Emmett Till that day. George Starling lived his life in New York City and when he visited the south he was never fully at peace. And Robert Foster seldom returned to Georgia.

I highly recommend Wilkerson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning epic story. I would be glad to loan my copy to anyone who wants to read it.

It might be over forty years since the Great Migration ended but we still have many of the same prejudices that caused so much death and destruction of a people. And people still are migrating from one place to another because of fear and intimidation.

Martin Luther King said “The arc of the universe bends towards justice.” Our life and effort must be to make it happen, with God’s grace.


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