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Unity Before God: Black Contributions to History

The one true God is the God of unity. He makes peace between the nations, tears down barriers, and uplifts the oppressed.

We find a testament to this awesome power in Ephesians 2:14, when, describing the distinction between the Jews and Gentiles, the author says, “For [Jesus Himself] is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.”

One can only hope that one day the peace that Christ extended to gentiles could also be extended to all the world, not only in terms of violence but also in terms of social separation. A prime example of that is the advancement we have seen toward racial equality within the United States.

We have all heard about Black History Month, and in light of this celebration of the advancement of a historically marginalized group. As part of a push toward a more Christ-like world in which arbitrary distinctions on the basis of skin color will be abolished, it is a perfect time for Americans to acknowledge the contribution of Black Americans to the history of our great nation.

Though Black History is sometimes relegated to the African-American Studies part of the academic catalog, this fails to acknowledge the significance of Black Americans in shaping and re-shaping our nation.

For example, did you know that Harry Hoosier (variously recorded as “Hosier,” “Hosher,” and “Hossier”), an influential Black preacher who died in 1806, may be the person from whom Indiana gets its nickname “the Hoosier state?” A lawmaker in Indiana recently tried to emphasize this history with the introduction of legislation which, “along with amending the Indiana Code to designate the official nickname for the state, House Bill 1143 recognizes Harry Hoosier as the namesake.” [1]

Similarly, did you also know that as early as 1868, South Carolina had the first majority Black legislature? [2] The image that was distributed of this post-reconstruction legislature is described in the archives of Princeton University as the result of “the Reconstruction Act of 1867, which redesigned the governing bodies of the southern states after the American Civil War. Not only did African Americans have the right to vote, but they also serve within the government. When South Carolina rejoined the Union in 1868, they had the first state legislature with a black majority.” [3]

What these anecdotes teach us is that, instead of solely concentrating on the oppression of Black Americans as a problem to be solved, it is also important to acknowledge and highlight the triumphs and contributions of Black Americans in spite of incredible odds.

It serves as a reminder that Good will ultimately triumph over Evil. That, one day, God will make all things right with the world.

As we are reminded in Romans 8:38-39: “I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Foundations of Truth hereby waives all claim of copyright (economic and moral) in this work and immediately places it in the public domain; it may be used, published, edited, and distributed in any manner whatsoever without any attribution or notice to Foundations of Truth.


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