Inspire U: The Podcast
BHM: Reclaiming Our History

Today, we rightfully honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. His powerful voice summoned the non-violent protest of the infringement of civil rights of the African-American community.

When President Ronald Reagan signed the national remembrance holiday into law in 1983, I was a grade school student attending Catholic School. I recall vividly that that sisters wanted to explain the concept of dignity being a God-given  right.

Learning about King’s speech and our American Civil War history, I remember thinking, “These people must have been not only dumb but selfish.” Whenever we were taught about the Civil War, I always gravitated to the issue of slavery. Many argue, with historic confirmations, that slavery was not the issue of that war. However, slavery still remains a horrid mark on the legacy of young America (Though slavery was prominent in the South when it was abolished, it was not limited to the southern states. In fact, New York has its own troubling slave history.)

As a TV-watching kid, I saw quite a few shows dealing with race growing up. It was pro black Michael on Good Times and smart  mouth Dee on what’s happening.The fact of the matter is that I have always had  a multitude of friends with different backgrounds. I never thought about their history. I recall in my teens one sitcom in particular tackled the issue in such a way that its clear message has stayed with me ever since.

Saved by the Bell, an early ’90s popular teen show, aired an episode in its second season called “Running Zack”. Zack Morris and his Bayside High School friends realize their roots as they complete a family tree project for class. During the episode, Jessie realizes her family owned slaves. Upon discovering her friend, Lisa, had ancestors who were slaves, Jessie does everything humanly possible to make up for the guilt she feels. Lisa reassures Jessie that the faults of her ancestors aren’t hers to bear. Have we moved beyond looking at each other in color?

Their conversation hit home. God can bless generations despite the sins of their fathers. All we can be eternally responsible for is what we believe, say, and do. From a young age, my parents taught me to show love and kindness to all people. Times when I’ve heard people use ‘racial’ slurs have made me cringe. God does not approve of hatefulness. Though King’s dream is more a reality today than ever before, we still have a way to go. In agreement with his dream, I share part of his visionary speech.

What right have we to judge a man by the color of his skin? What right do we have to laugh at “humor” that belittles a man? What rights have we to look down on anyone?

God does not prefer one over the other. In fact, the Bible contains at least four references that show our Lord does not play favorites (Deuteronomy 10:17, Acts 10:34, Romans 2:11, Ephesians 6:9). Beyond knowing this, we are commanded by Jesus himself to love others.

We are created by One and are made in His image (Genesis 1:26-27). Each of us is connected through Creation and our Redemption, according to God’s Word.

{For more from Oretha Winston follow her on Twitter}

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