Athens Review, Athens, Texas

Opinion

March 15, 2013

Civil Rights Movement’s 50th anniversary remembered

Athens — I recently had an opportunity to visit several Southern states where slavery was prominent and racial injustice existed. The states visited were Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee.

When God created man, his purpose was to have dominion over the creations God spoke into existence. He did not create man for the purpose of having superiority over another, or to make one feel inferior because of the color of one's skin.

Allow me to turn the pages of American History as it relates to the Civil Rights Movement. I will need to write briefly of the time concerning the Civil War and the Reconstruction Period. The South was known for its agriculture industry, specifically cotton.

To produce and harvest cotton, white southerners sought the resource of the slave market to meet those needs of production and harvesting.

Two things I must point out at  this point are that what white southerners exhibited was a presence of superiority and hatred toward people of non-white decent.

To put it into text, it was forced labor with no monetary reward.

When I look back at this chapter in American History I am puzzled why a man would hate another man, because of the color of his skin. God, after speaking creation into existence, spoke and said, “Let us make man in our own image (the Trinity includes God The Father, God The Son and The Holy Spirit. 1: John 4; 20),  states that “How can man say he loves God, and hate his brother.?”

The point John is making is no man has ever seen God, and yet states that he loves God. In the case of his brother whom he sees, he develops a hate toward him.

In order to truly love God, John writes that you have to love your brother.

The Civil War was fought to do away with slavery, and as a result, it pitted the South against the North. In an effort to fight for freedom, many African Americans fled to the North to fight in the war.

When President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing slaves from their owners, it was believed it would resolve the matter of slavery once and for all. The Reconstruction Period was a time of implementation of the laws that had been signed by the President. However, white southerners were not willing to comply with those changes.

At the height of the Civil Rights movement, blacks were denied equal rights here in America. Signs were placed on public facilities that read “whites only.” Public parks had water-fountain signage that read “colored only” and “white only.” The fountains were supplied by one source, so the water could not have tasted any different coming  from either of the assigned fountains.

Often blacks had to enter public facilities in the rear of the building, or if one was walking in public areas that were wooden or concrete walkways blacks had to step away from the area to allow whites to advance. 

It's a dark part of American History, but the story needs to be told, so we can see how far we have come as a nation.

Romans 8; 28 states “All things work together for the good of the Lord for those that are called for his purpose.”

When I look at the community I now live in, and reflect back on the movement 50 years later, I realize the struggle still continues for people to have equal rights.  Employment of African Americans in the City and County government is extremely low or non-existent.

I have always advocated that these public offices should reflect the makeup of the community.

Let me conclude with this message. God is a patient God, and is giving mankind the time to get this matter resolved.

As children of God we need to posses the kind of Love God has for his children, and that is the Agape Love.

God Bless,

Minister Larry West

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