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3 Reasons Why Black History Month Still Matters

February 16, 2012

Rev. Dr. William Turner

I attended Mt Level Missionary Baptist Church in Durham last Sunday.  Between the Isaiah 18:7 sermon from pastor William Turner (who teaches preaching at Duke Divinity School) and a chapel service later in the week, three reasons why an annual Black History Month still matters:

Reason #1:  Black History Month reminds us to never forget certain truths, such as:  From America’s beginning, vast wealth was made in a very short period of time due directly to free slave labor.  The deep and deformed historical relationship between skin tone and intelligence and worth which poisoned society, theology, and Christian life.

Reason #2:  Black History Month is not about elevating one race over another.  It is a sign of everyone knowing they have a present to bring to God that is valuable, and exchanging those gifts with one another as well.  In the ears of those used to being on top in society, a call to equality can sound like a claim of superiority.  Yet declaring equality is not the same as declaring superiority.

Reason #3:  From Duke professor J. Kameron Carter in chapel, the additional truth that God speaks from unexpected places at the margins – from a slave girl before powerful Naaman (II Kings 5) to slaves like Harriett Tubman speaking to the “rulers of this age” (1 Cor 2:6) in America. In our own contexts, are we recognizing and receiving the truth from unexpected places?

See also:  “The New Black Theology:  Retrieving Ancient Sources to Challenge Racism”, Christian Century, January 26, 2012

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