Archive for the Race

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

Hope and the dream

When I posted the video of Noah’s story yesterday, I didn’t realize that today would be the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream.”

If you haven’t listened to Dr.King’s speech yet today–or even if you have–I hope you’ll take a minute to hear it from the mouths of hundreds of young people who are living and learning that a person’s character is not measured by the color of his or her skin. The video is especially moving to me because our Talitha attended Hope Academy for several years and  here we see young men and women who were children with her then.

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Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

Black History: Talitha’s DVD recommendations

(Originally posted 2 years ago, and worth mentioning again.)

These DVDs are recommended by our daughter Talitha off the top of her head. She wants to make clear that there are other really good movies too.

I agree with her in recommending these.

As with all movies, it would be wise for parents to preview before watching with their children, especially  considering the tension, language, and frightening experiences that are part of stories from this swath of our history.

__________

Glory Road — Story of “the groundbreaking achievement of Don Haskins, who coached the 1965-66 team from Texas Western University to the NCAA championship, using the first-ever all-black lineup in the championship game and forever changing the rules of college basketball. Texas Western’s underdog season is followed from anxious start to glorious finish. . . . This typically wholesome Disney film doesn’t flinch from the harsh realities of racial tension (including player beatings and vandalized motel rooms) that Texas Western’s black players had to struggle against as their victories began to draw national attention” (Amazon.com review).

Selma, Lord, Selma — It’s 1965, segregation is still the order of the day in the South, Martin Luther King Jr. is leading voter-registration drives, and an Alabama schoolgirl gets caught up in the civil rights movement. . .  .Being forced to guess the number of jellybeans in a jar in order to vote and being gassed and beaten for marching are just some of the indignities Sheyann and her friends endure. Parents should know that two prominent characters are murdered. . . . Appropriate for kids 7 and up with adult guidance” (Amazon.com review). Based on the memoir of the same title by Sheyann Webb.

And the Children Shall Lead — “In 1964 segregation is a reality in Catesville, Mississippi, but 12-year-old Rachel doesn’t notice it because she has many white friends. When a group of civil rights activists comes to town, the tension between black and white citizens grows. It’s now up to Rachel and her friends to persuade the adults to overcome the racial barriers that divide them” (Amazon.com review)

The Great Debaters — “Inspired by real events, The Great Debaters reveals one of the seeds of the Civil Rights Movement in its story of Melvin B. Tolson and his champion 1935 debate club from the all-African-American Wiley College in Texas. . . . The film is also about the state of race relations in America at the height of the Great Depression. With lynchings of black men and women a common form of entertainment and black subjugation for many rural whites, the idea of talented and highly intelligent African-American young people learning to think on their feet during debates would seem almost a hopeless endeavor” (Amazon.com review).

The Rosa Parks Story

 

 

 

 

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Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

Black History: Children’s books

For Martin Luther King Day last month, Jill Swanson made the following list of relevant books she’s reviewed at Orange Marmalade, her blog that’s devoted to children’s literature–what a great resource! You can use the search box there at her website to find her posts about any of these you’re interested in.

FICTION:

In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson  – Betty Bao Lord
Jackie & Me  — Dan Gutman
The Lions of Little Rock — Kristin Levine
One Crazy Summer — Rita Williams-Garcia

NON-FICTION:

Belle, The Last Mule at Gee’s Bend: A Civil Rights Story — Calvin Alexander Ramsey and Bettye Stroud, illus. by John Holyfield
Child of the Civil Rights Movement — Paula Young Shelton, illus. by Raul Colón
Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave — Laban Carrick Hill, illus. by Bryan Collier
Delivering Justice: W.W. Law and the Fight for Civil Rights — James Haskins, illus. by Benny Andrews
Frederick Douglass (Picture Book Biography) — David A. Adler
I Have a Dream (Book & CD) — Martin Luther King, Jr., illus. by Kadir Nelson
Ida B. Wells: Let the Truth Be Told— Walter Dean Myers, illus. by Bonnie Christensen
I’ve Seen the Promised Land: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. — Walter Dean Myers, illus. by Leonard Jenkins
Marching For Freedom: Walk Together Children and Don’t You Grow Weary— Elizabeth Partridge
Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom (Caldecott Honor Book) — Carole Boston Weatherford, illus. by Kadir NelsonA Nat
A Nation’s Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis — Matt de le Peña, illus. by Kadir Nelson
Our Children Can Soar: A Celebration of Rosa, Barack, and the Pioneers of Change — Michelle Cook, illus. by various artists
Rosa — Nikki Giovanni, illus. by Bryan Collier
Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down (Jane Addams Honor Book (Awards)) — Andrea Davis Pinkney, illus. by Brian Pinkney
Through My Eyes — Ruby Bridges
Unspoken: A Story From the Underground Railroad— written and illustrated by Henry Cole
The Voice That Challenged a Nation: Marian Anderson and the Struggle for Equal Rights — Russell Freedman
When Marian Sang:The True Recital of Marian Anderson — Pam Munoz Ryan, illus. by Brian Selznick

POETRY:

The Negro Speaks of Rivers — Langston Hughes, illus. by E.B. Lewis

Thank you, Jill!

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If you decide to purchase an item here, I do appreciate it if you link through from this site or from the sidebar at my travel blog. That way, I receive a small commission, which costs you nothing extra. I recommend only items that I think will be of interest to my readers and that I probably have used personally or wish I did. 

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Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

Black History: Nightingale wasn’t the only pioneer out there

Quick! If I say, “Crimea . . . Bosporus . . . lantern . . . nurse,” who do you think of? Most of the western world would answer, “Florence Nightingale,” the pioneer nursing reformer.

Several years ago, Talitha and I turned our backs on Westminster Abbey and the Tower of Big Ben and hiked across the Westminster Bridge toward St. Thomas’ Hospital, looking for the Florence Nightingale Museum, which we finally found hidden away on a side street. St. Thomas’ was where Miss Nightingale worked for change when she returned to London from Turkey at the end of the Crimean War. (I’ve reviewed the museum at my travel blog, Tell Me When to Pack.)

As always, the last stop and climax for Talitha was the gift shop. As always, she persuaded me to buy something for her–”Just one thing? Please?”

mary seacole

Mary Seacole, by Albert Charles Challen
National Portrait Gallery, London

The one thing was a book on whose cover was the picture of a black woman: Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands, her autobiography (available in several paperback editions and free for Kindle).

I’d never heard of Mary Seacole, who traveled from her Jamaica home to London to volunteer as a nurse for the Crimea. She was rejected, and so went to the Crimea at her own expense to labor for the war wounded and ill.

It seems common to think of Seacole and Nightingale as rivals, but as one writer says:

The manner of their service was drastically different. Even before she went to the Crimea, Nightingale knew that surmounting the bureaucratic problems of the army’s medical services and establishing a female nursing group which authorities and medical men
alike could respect was going to be more
important than any individual patient care she might do. Nightingale gained her reputation by the organization of nursing services during the Crimean War. . . .

Mrs. Seacole’s strength seemed to be more in hands-on activities such as direct patient care. She was an entrepreneur who was able to use her skills as a merchant to finance her medical and nursing practice. It is probably true that Mrs. Seacole had more practical experience, especially with tropical diseases. However, both administrative and hands-on care are necessary for the effective delivery of health care. Both women made a great contribution to the history of nursing in their own way and, hopefully, there is room for both of them. . . .

Mary Grant Seacole rose about the barriers of racial prejudice and demonstrated determinism, compassion, and caring and is a fitting role model for both blacks and non-blacks. There is much to admire in both of these women who had different roles in nursing but the same goal. Although forgotten for many years, Mrs. Seacole has been rediscovered.

Today, Florence Nightingale is a widely viewed as a heroine, as she should be. Mary Seacole was forgotten for a long time, but that is changing. One example: The design is complete for a monument to be erected on the St. Thomas’ Hospital grounds.

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If you decide to purchase an item here, I do appreciate it if you link through from this site or from the sidebar at my travel blog. That way, I receive a small commission, which costs you nothing extra. I recommend only items that I think will be of interest to my readers and that I probably have used personally or wish I did. 

__________

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Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

Black History Month: It’s March: now what?

The final guest post of Black History Month is by my friend Caryn Turner, mother of 3, blogger, and a fellow pastor’s wife with me at Bethlehem Baptist.

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As a child, I remember cringing in my seat every time February rolled around and my teachers would announce, “It’s Black History Month!” All eyes would land on me, one of the few black children in my class. I felt weird, out of sorts, and the center of attention for an entire month.

I did enjoy all the wonderful facts of Black Americans that have gone before me. The history was fascinating. The inventions, the accomplishments, and the victories were all very inspiring to me. I did feel a sense of pride in my race.

But, that was short lived. As soon as the calendars flipped and March arrived,  I watched all the posters come off the walls and the books go back on the bottom, back part of the shelves. It was like everyone was saying, “We’ll appease them and give them their 28 days of fame!”

As a teacher, I taught in a predominately black elementary school. All the months looked like Black History Month. The entire year, the children saw faces similar to theirs on the hallway posters and in their library books. Weekly, we talked and read about people of color.

Differently than I did as a child, my students felt appreciated and celebrated for being a Black American throughout the whole school year and not just for one month.

As a mother, I teach my children to embrace gladly their God-given heritage as Black Americans. However, there is a heritage that is infinitely more important than their black heritage; it’s their spiritual heritage which traces back to the cross of Christ.

I pray that they will soon receive their parents’ legacy of faith in Jesus Christ through the Gospel. My husband and I want to tell our children of the great achievements of Black Americans, but even more to tell them of the glorious deeds of the Lord “so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments” (Psalm 78:7). That is our ultimate mission.

Our children knowing all there is to know about Black History is not our main concern. But one day to say, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” (3 John 1:4), is this black mother’s heart’s desire.

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Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

Black History goes on: “You’re so brown!”

Today’s guest post is by Kristen Howerton, wife, mother of 4 (2 adopted), blogger, and psych professor at Vanguard University.

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“Mommy, look at the brown boy!”

As a transracial family in a mostly vanilla town, we hear these kind of comments every now and then, especially from other preschool-aged kids. This week, we heard on two different occasions.

No biggie: it is perfectly normal for a child of that age to notice color. I mean, they are just learning colors and pointing it out is just an observation. I am NEVER offended by children making such comments. In fact, it can open up great learning opportunities for kids to understand adoption, difference, etc.

However, one of the circumstances this week was a bit awkward. A little girl pointed to my African-American son Jafta, and this was how the dialogue went:

CURIOUS GIRL: Mommy, do you see him!?! He’s brown!

MORTIFIED MOM: (clearly embarrassed) Honey, be quiet.

CURIOUS GIRL: Mommy, do you see? Do you see that boy?

MORTIFIED MOM: Sweetie, be quiet. Be quiet right now.

CURIOUS GIRL: But mommy, look! He’s brown.

MORTIFIED MOM: (now angrily) If you don’t stop saying that right now, I will give you a

spanking.

I totally get where this mom is coming from. I can imagine doing this myself, in another setting. But think for a minute what this interchange communicated to this little girl about color difference. What message did this well-meaning mom unintentionally send to her daughter, and to my son, who was watching the whole thing?

Avoiding the topic of race can be one of the biggest mistakes parents make in raising healthy, race-conscious children. Shaming, ignoring, or avoiding a child’s observations on race can send a strong message: racial difference (and/or brown skin) is so bad and so embarrasing that we can’t even talk about it. (Kinda reminds ya of how some families deal with sex, huh?)

So how should someone react? I don’t know the perfect answer, but encouraging a conversation (instead of stifling it) is a good start. As parents we have to manage our own racial baggage to help our kids avoid their own.

So let me tell you about the other interchange that happened this week.

A little girl pointed to Jafta and said, “You’re so brown.” And my husband said, “Did you hear that, Jafta? Say thank you.”

And he did. With a big grin on his face.

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Sunday, February 27th, 2011

Black History Month: Bullet, baseball, & Bible

Today’s guest post is by Carl Rogan (aka Baby Bullet ), husband to Alice, father of 2 sons (Christopher and Anthony) and co-facilitator of the “Racial Harmony Roundtable” at Bethlehem Baptist Church.

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Growing up in Kansas City, I spent a lot of time with my grandparents, Big Bullet and Big Momma. Many of my values were shaped by them. The summers were spent in the Ozarks where they had a cabin. Concentrated quality time with them proved to have many future benefits for me.

Big Bullet lived and breathed baseball. He played professionally in the old Negro Leagues for the Kansas City Monarchs from 1920-1938. I listened to many stories from him and his friends of his exploits over the years on how good he was. He played every position, but was known primarily for his blazing fastball.

He also talked of the bad playing conditions, money, racism, and unjust treatment in many cities. But he never expressed any regrets or bitterness, because he played for the love of the game.

These stories were not just fables. In 1998 he was voted posthumously into the Baseball Hall of Fame as a pitcher. It was a weekend to remember in Cooperstown, surrounded by the greatest players in baseball. I was part of the exclusive set, standing elbow to elbow with heroes I had admired and worshipped as a teen and young adult. It is one of the highlights of my life.

Big Momma was an outdoors person. She loved fishing and reading the Bible. I spent months with her during the summer and was her sidekick and buddy. As a strong Christian woman she planted seeds early in my life about the love for the outdoors and Christ. Every night we read the Bible together and I could recite the 23rd Psalm before 2nd grade.

She was the purest woman I have ever known and she respected everyone. She set the example for practicing what you preach, and she believed everyone, without exception, had some good in them.

Parties were a way of life for many in the Ozarks, but not for her. She would say to me sometimes when libation was at full throttle “how can something that looks so good, taste so bad?” As I have reflected on that statement over the years, it has become very profound.

The world flaunts its riches and glamour and the professional athletes are immortalized. But by God’s grace, I learned from my grandparents the truth that none of the glory we seek for ourselves has any eternal value.

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You can read more about Wilber “Bullet” Rogan and the Kansas City Monarchs.

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Saturday, February 26th, 2011

Black History Month: Talitha recommends DVDs

These DVDs are recommended by our daughter Talitha off the top of her head. She wants to make clear that there are other really good movies.

I agree with her in recommending these.

As with all movies, it would be wise for parents to preview before watching with their children, especially  considering the tension, language, and frightening experiences that are part of stories in this swath of our history.

__________

Glory Road — Story of “the groundbreaking achievement of Don Haskins, who coached the 1965-66 team from Texas Western University to the NCAA championship, using the first-ever all-black lineup in the championship game and forever changing the rules of college basketball. Texas Western’s underdog season is followed from anxious start to glorious finish. . . . This typically wholesome Disney film doesn’t flinch from the harsh realities of racial tension (including player beatings and vandalized motel rooms) that Texas Western’s black players had to struggle against as their victories began to draw national attention” (Amazon.com review).

Selma, Lord, Selma — It’s 1965, segregation is still the order of the day in the South, Martin Luther King Jr. is leading voter-registration drives, and an Alabama schoolgirl gets caught up in the civil rights movement. . .  .Being forced to guess the number of jellybeans in a jar in order to vote and being gassed and beaten for marching are just some of the indignities Sheyann and her friends endure. Parents should know that two prominent characters are murdered. . . . Appropriate for kids 7 and up with adult guidance” (Amazon.com review). Based on the memoir of the same title by Sheyann Webb.

And the Children Shall Lead — “In 1964 segregation is a reality in Catesville, Mississippi, but 12-year-old Rachel doesn’t notice it because she has many white friends. When a group of civil rights activists comes to town, the tension between black and white citizens grows. It’s now up to Rachel and her friends to persuade the adults to overcome the racial barriers that divide them” (Amazon.com review)

The Great Debaters — “Inspired by real events, the [film] fascinating The Great Debaters reveals one of the seeds of the Civil Rights Movement in its story of Melvin B. Tolson and his champion 1935 debate club from the all-African-American Wiley College in Texas. . . . The film is also about the state of race relations in America at the height of the Great Depression. With lynchings of black men and women a common form of entertainment and black subjugation for many rural whites, the idea of talented and highly intelligent African-American young people learning to think on their feet during debates would seem almost a hopeless endeavor” (Amazon.com review).

The Rosa Parks Story

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Saturday, February 26th, 2011

Black History Month: Part of my family is gone

Today’s guest post is by Lou Ann Brown, pastor’s wife, mother of 5, RN, friend to refugees, immigrants, and international students.

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This is in honor of Oraletta Williams, a woman born and raised in the coal mining areas of West Virginia. She became a follower of Christ, was a nurse at the Cleveland Clinic, and was part of our missions Bible Study. She became my friend and then part of our family.

Oraletta isn’t famous in this world’s eye. She never made headline news or even made it into public tributes during Black History Month, but she was worthy of all that and more.

Oraletta was our friend, our sister, who was used of the Lord to encourage us, exhort us, laugh with us. She trained as a Biblical counselor after her retirement, and she continued to minister until her homegoing.

My son wrote this tribute on his blog:

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

When I was growing up, I would come home from school for dinner, and every so often, I would find Oraletta and Roosevelt Williams there. I wasn’t sure how we knew them, but it always seemed like they were just part of the family. They loved life and let it show.

It was always a joyful event when they came for dinner. I laughed more with them than with anyone I can remember. Those dinners were few and far between, but we always seemed to pick up where we left off, as if no time had passed.

Now those dinners are a memory. Oraletta succumbed to her cancer on November 2. She blogged about her “adventure,” and wrote in May 2007:

I don’t know if any of you have experienced having a second chance at life after having survived cancer twice. I must say that everything–and I do mean everything–becomes precious. You start to notice the little things that you used to take for granted.

And, oh yes! Remember those things called birthday? Oh Dear Loved Ones, when the Almighty gives you another chance at life (not just one, but two: remember the breast cancer five years ago), whatever you do, seize every moment to give him all the glory, honor, and praise.

And just remember one thing. If you never get sick a day in your life, if you have all the money you could ever want, if you have all that this earthly life can offer, just remember one thing. The Lord Jesus is truly worthy to be praised. No matter where you are in life or what you have, it is all useless without Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Her last post was titled Oraletta is Home, speaking of her return from the hospital. Now she is home, and a part of my family is gone.

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Thursday, February 24th, 2011

Black History Month: Black history didn’t change me

Today’s guest post is by my friend, Phoebe Dawson. She and her adopted daughter live in Harris County, Georgia. She has worked professionally and personally with adoptive families for many years and is involved in a new Adoption/Foster Care ministry called JEEAH’s Hope.

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I must first thank Rachel Holbrook for leading the Believing God Bible Study and Beth Moore for writing it. Both helped me as an African-American to reframe my picture of Black history.

Rachel is the oldest of four children I placed in the same adoptive family. Her three siblings all have issues with their adoption. Rachel is resolved and fulfilling her God-given destiny.

When Rachel was asked what was the difference, she acknowledged that there was pain in her adoption history, but that she had made peace. She chose not to react in the same way as her siblings.

In the Believing God Bible Study, an important factor for victory over past hurts is discovering God in the circumstances. God is sovereign. Knowing this doesn’t change the past, but it changes the person.

As I look back at Black history in this country, my picture looks quite different in its new frame. No longer do I view slavery as the most awful thing that could happen to a people. My very existence as a free black woman in America was a result of  it. For this I am grateful.

I am not saying that slavery was good. Because God is who He is, He causes all things to work together for good for those who love Him. The greater good for the believer is to be conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:28-29). It is for this reason, I have no problem being in slavery to Him. For I have been bought with a price, the precious blood of Christ  (1 Corinthians 7:23).

When I recall the freedom marches and the fight for civil rights, I am no longer puzzled by my lack of participation in these events. I am not saying that these activities should not have happened, but I understand now that God wanted me to direct my attention to One who gave up his right, and he would have me follow in his footsteps (Philippians 2:5-8), For this I am grateful.

By God’s grace, I can move forward in the call He has on my life (Philippians 3:12-14).

I look back at the racism, discrimination, prejudice, betrayals by those trusted, rejection, mental and emotional abuse during a time when America couldn’t decide whether to love me or kill me. I look up and I see Christ.

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Isaiah 53:3

And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him. Luke 23:33

I was a lost sinner during those turbulent years of America’s Black history. I could have died, lost forever to spend eternity in hell. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). For this, I am truly grateful.

Black history didn’t change me. God changed me.


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Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Black History Month: People who look like me shot people who look like you

Today’s guest post is by Miriam Boone, wife, blogger, and teacher at One Hope Academy. She and Nate are expecting, Lord willing, to become parents soon through adoption.

Following is a letter she wrote to her students.

__________

Dear Class,

We watched a documentary a few days ago about the 1921 Tulsa Race Riots. Just miles away, an area Booker T. Washington called “Black Wall Street” was destroyed overnight.

People who looked like me shot people who looked like you. People who looked like me burned the homes and stole the property of people who looked like you. People who look like me must look a lot like the enemy to you.

I’m so sorry.

I feel no connection to whites who looted and killed during the riot. I wish my skin were a different color so you wouldn’t see a connection either.

We’re learning together about the painful history of race relations in this country, and an ugly pattern has emerged: people whose skin looks like mine mistreating people whose skin looks like yours.

I try to show you the source of racial tension is not whites and blacks coexisting. I point out racism globally because I want you to see beyond the black-white struggle in America and recognize the problem of racism begins in the human heart.

We studied Rwanda’s genocide so you’d know it is possible for humans to slaughter humans whose skin is the same as their own. When we let hate take hold in our hearts, no one is safe. You need to understand that.

I point out to you the good and bad men and women on both sides. I show you civil rights champions of different races. Not every white accepted slavery. Not every black understood love of neighbor. I want the way you choose your heroes to go deeper than skin color.

Nate and I are adopting children from Africa, first generation African-Americans. I talk about them in class; you laugh at the thought of your white teacher braiding black hair. I look like the enemy to you. You look like my children.

I cried in the back of the class during the documentary. You stiffened, uncomfortable with our history. Rightly so. This is not comfortable. It will not be comfortable for my children.

What saddened me most was how familiar it felt. “It’s still like that where we live,” you said.

You know two responses: fight or flight. I want to teach you a third: faith. Faith in a God whose multi-racial family will one day live united, glorying in Jesus whose greatness swallows our distinctions in collective worship.

_____

Note from Noel:

The Tulsa Race Riots of 1921 are called the worst in the history of our country. And yet Miriam’s story  is the first time I remember hearing of them. If this is true for you too, here is a 2-part video that’s worth watching: part 1 and part 2 .

After watching, and maybe reading some more, I hope you have as hard a time controlling your emotions as I am having right now. And I pray that, with God’s help, we can redirect the energy of those emotions–whatever color we are–toward loving our brothers and sisters, whatever colors they are. It’s the mark of who we are.

“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).

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Sunday, February 20th, 2011

Black History Month: Books for 12 and under

I’ve known Jill Swanson for a long time. You’d have to look far and wide to find someone more devoted to education and good books. Her blog is amazing–brimming with suggestions and reviews of books for children 12 and younger.

During Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday week, she featured books pertinent to Black History Month.

On Monday, there were books about Dr. King, Marian Anderson, Rosa Parks Ruby Bridges, Ida B. Wells, and more.

On Tuesday, there’s a chapter book set in the 1960s Civil Rights years.

On Wednesday, she features the winner of the 2011 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award.

Thursday’s book follows the stories of some of the brave children of Selma, Alabama.

I’ve linked here to pages with other books on the same topics, including some written for older than 12 years old. But please don’t miss Jill’s excellent choices and thoughtful reviews.

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