Celebrate black history with Christian Hope

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 8, 2009

Christian Hope Baptist Church, 301 LaSalle St., will have a special presentation of “Our Quest for Freedom, Justice and Change We Can Believe In” at 11 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 15.

The program, in celebration of Black History Month, will profile the black’s journey from the slave house to the White House.

Black History Month is typically observed during the month of February. It is an opportunity for blacks to pay homage to their forebears for their invaluable contributions to the American way of life. It creates a format in which we can express appreciation for a generation of people that traveled roads filled with bitter hate and racial prejudice. In spite of the atrocities blacks suffered, we proved ourselves a resilient people

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We endured in the darkest days of America’s history, where one man became another man’s property. We fostered an ingrained hope for freedom and justice. It sustained us through the nightmare of slavery and human brutality.

In these dark days, when our backs were badly beaten and spirits hampered, our abiding faith anchored us.

In the darkness of these long nights we lifted our voice in song. We sang of a bright tomorrow in spite of a dark past. We sang of overcoming, amazing grace and having a little talk with Jesus.

The songs nurtured our hearts and strengthened our steps as we marched to a land of victory and justice for all men.

While we celebrate these ones of the past, we are cognizant of the accomplishments of the present day local warriors that helped paved the road for this historical journey. The imprint of their footsteps are forever captured on the pages of history.

It was during the most turbulent times of racial unrest, they fought racism and discrimination and fought for basic civil rights denied blacks, because of the color of their skin. They held rallies urging blacks to register and then exercise their right to vote in local and national elections. They campaigned for and won public offices, ascending to the rank of Natchez first black mayor. In part, it is because of these battles fought and victories won, a black man, named Barack Obama, was able to be elected President of the United States of America.

During this occasion, we ascribe honor to these ones who made the road from the slave house to the White House a little smoother.

Their efforts of these should never go unnoticed: former Mayor Phillip West, Mrs. Mamie Mazique, former Judge Mary Lee Toles, Mr. George Metcalfe, the Rev. Leon Howard, the Rev. Henry Russell, the Rev. Shed Baldwin, the Rep Barney Schoby, Mr. Charles Evers, the Rev. W. C. Mazique, the Rev. Walter Logan, Mr. Sandy Nealy, the Rev. W.S. Scott and many others.

Because of the recent presidential election, the celebration of black history has taken on a greater significance.

We can lay claim to a land where our fathers fought and died. With pride, we can salute a flag billowing majestically across the landscape as it honors the free and the brave. We can turn our ears to hear the bells of freedom ringing from every mountainside, hill and valley. We can feel the breezes of liberty flowing gently across this great nation. And when we look beyond the dawn’s early light, we can see freedom and justice glistening on the horizon. We feel that now we are a part of a land that was created by God for all of His creations. Our eyes have seen a new history and “a change we can believe in.”

This black journey from the slave house to the White House is one of historical significance. When we look back, we see the blood that was shed and lives lost and marvel at the strength of their conviction to make this journey.

On behalf on Pastor John W. Scott Jr., officers and members of Christian Hope Baptist Church, please join us for this very special presentation. Guest speakers include Mr. Clifton Boxley, Mrs. Mary Lee Toles and former Mayor Honorable Phillip West.

For further information, please call 601-445-5995.

Diane Smith is a member of Christian Hope Baptist Church.