Posts

Highlights: Black History Month Presentation

For West Angeles’ culminating Black History Month presentation for 2017, Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake and the West Angeles Music and Worship and Arts team and the took the congregation to school with a  lesson in African American that transcended the ages. 

On February 26 for the conclusion of Black History Month 2017, West Angeles Church of God In Christ delivered an exciting and inspiring Black History Month Presentation which included dance, hip-hop, oral history, and spoken word. Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake began his Black History Month sermon in Africa, thousands of years before the birth of Christ, with the story of Moses; journeying through the reign of the Queen of Sheba, the Atlantic slave trade, and to the roots of Pentecostalism to reveal the connection between people of African descent and the roots of Christianity. Bishop Blake was also inspired by the story of Joseph in Genesis, siting parallels between Joseph’s journey and the historic journey of African Americans.

Dr. Judith McAllister, Marvin Wright-Bey, and the West Angeles Worship and Arts team staged a glorious multi-media presentation, resplendent with interpretations of the African American journey, in dance, spoken word, and song.  Musical performances by the West Angeles Angelic and Mass Choirs were accompanied by featured artists including SuNWhoa Love, Angie Fisher, and West Angeles’ own David Daughtery.

Highlights from “A Sermon for Black History Month” follow (please click the images to enlarge the slideshow).  See the complete service HERE, on West Angeles’ Legacy Broadcast:

“2000 years before the birth of Jesus Christ, Moses traveled to Midian, in the southern part of the fertile crescent.  There, Moses married a dark-skinned Midianite woman and worked for his dark-skinned father-in-law, by the name of Jethro. Numbers 12:1 indicate that Jethro and his daughter were Ethiopian.”

“Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the woman he had married…God got upset and smote Miriam with leprosy. Sometimes, Black women are mighty powerful.”

“400 years later, Joseph would marry a dark-skinned Egyptian woman.”

“Almost 1000 years before the birth of Jesus Christ, the Queen of Sheba – also known as “Cush” or Ethiopia – visited King Solomon. She came from Africa with many camels, spices, gold, and precious stones. Her nation and her culture had obviously existed long before that time.”

“The Ethiopian, Piankhi, established the 24th Egyptian Dynasty. And at least four Black Kings ruled over Egypt from 730 BC until 66 BC…Great nations, great civilizations, great cultures existed in Africa centuries before Jesus Christ was born.”

“Centuries before Jesus Christ was born, one of the greatest generals of all time was a man by the name of Hannibal – a black man – from the city of Carthage in Northern Africa. Hannibal defied and defeated Rome between 219 and 203 BC.”

BLACK HISTORY WESTA 2017 2

Black History Month: The Angelic Choir sings! West Angeles Church of God In Christ, 2-26-2017.

“In 1498 AD, Portuguese explorers wrote that they found along the east African coast, tall stone cities of comfort and of wealth. They found people who were highly civilized and skilled in the use of the compass, and in reading charts.”

“God has a purpose for your life: and we know that all things work together for good for those who love the Lord; for them who were called according to His purpose.” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr.

“The city of Timbuktu in West Sudan (was) a magnificent city where merchants made greater profit from the sale of books than from the sale of any other commodity that they sold.”

“In the areas of science, art, medicine, government, law, and culture, and so on, certainly many of the nations of Africa were competitive with, and in many cases more advanced than, the other nations of the world in during that period.”

“All of the things that I’ve described so far have been devastated by the slave trade, by slavery, by Colonialism.”

“William Banks in his book, ‘The Black Church in the US’ gives us the following report:

Nearly 20 million Negroes were made captive over the span of some 300 years, from 1517 until 1840. A more conservative estimate is around 14.6 million. They were jammed and crammed into ships like sardines in a can, and brought across the Atlantic from the Gulf of Guinea to the New World, in a trip called “The Middle Passage.’ It’s estimated that perhaps 12 million Blacks landed in Latin America, and about 2 million of them were brought into the US.”

“What happened to the millions? Some died resisting capture. Some died in captivity, while being held in Africa waiting to be shipped out. Some committed suicide, eating quantities of clay. Others, beaten and too weak to continue the trek in the convoy to the harbor, were abandoned to die.”

“Shackled in irons, they hung beneath the decks of the ships for 16 hours at a time, in unbearable heat filth and stench, barely surviving on the stale spoiled food and stagnant water. They were only given a few minutes a day on deck for fresh air and exercise. If the weather was bad, they received neither fresh air nor exercise. Many died at sea from dysentery, small pox, and other diseases. Some starved themselves to death, refusing to eat. Others committed suicide, jumping into the ocean. Lastly, those who were warriors taken in battle were often beaten and shot to death. Some died soon after reaching American soil.”

“In Christ, there’s no Black, no White, but one race, one blood in Christ Jesus” – Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr.

“A meaningful study would be, ‘What was the impact of the loss of 20 million of its inhabitants on the culture and the nations of Africa? How many died trying to defend their families in the violence associated with the slave trade?’”

Dancers reenact the Middle Passage, and freedom from slavery.

Black History Month: Dancers reenact the Middle Passage, and freedom from slavery. West Angeles Church of God In Christ, 2-26-2017.

“After the slave trade came the horrible period of Colonialism, in which horrible invaders did to Africa’s resources what those before them did to Africa’s people. What was the value of 20 million people taken out of their homeland?

“After slavery, black people experienced one humiliation after another, but still, we produced Benjamin Banneker, inventor and maker of the first American clock, Sojourner Truth, George Washington Carver, Charles Drew, a pioneer in blood plasma research…Benjamin  O Davis, Thurgood Marshall, Ralph Bunche, Booker T. Washington, Marion Anderson, and a host of others that rose above their oppression toward a level of excellence.”

Let’s examine now the interaction between Christ and his church and Black people. Because of their concern for the babe Jesus, Mary and Joseph followed an angel to find refuge. It was in Egypt, in North Africa that they sought safety.”

“During the dark day of the Crucifixion, the Jews were condemning Jesus to death. Europe, represented by the Roman Centurions, drove nails into the hands of feet of Jesus, and pierced Him in the side. But Africa, represented by Simon of Cyrene, from Northwest Africa, stepped in when everybody else was stepping back…Simon of Cyrene shared history’s most significant moment with the Christ, as a Black man bore the Cross of Christ up Calvary’s Hill.”

“Listen, if Jesus needed help with His cross, I’m sure He understands when you and I need help with our crosses.  He will help you in the midst of your trials, and in the midst of your struggles.” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr.

“One would think that if Jesus needed help with His cross, the privilege would be reserved for Simon Peter, or for John, and for another apostle. But God chose Black hands and wooly hair to perform an act and level of service that all the truly wise men of all the ages would be supremely honored to perform.”

“The Ethiopian Secretary of the Treasury was to pass in his chariot…This Ethiopian nobleman heard and received the gospel, and after being baptized, this nobleman went back to Ethiopia to form the Abyssinian (Coptic) Church that exists until this day. He was the first Gentile of record to be saved. A Black Ethiopian was the first Gentile to be saved, after the Jews.”

“Historian Dean Henry Hart Milman has said: ‘It was Africa, not Rome, which gave birth to Latin Christianity. Africa gave three of the greatest leaders and scholars of the church to the church. Augustine, Tertullian, Cyprian.’”

“Historian and author Dr. H. Vinson Synan says that Charles F. Parham, a white man, and William J. Seymour, a Black man, share roughly equal positions as founders of modern Pentecostalism…Seymour was the outstanding personality in bringing about that crucial Pentecostal revival that we call the Azuza Street revival here in the city of Los Angeles.”

“One key man in that contagious spread (of Pentecostalism) was a man by the name of Charles Harrison Mason, a Black man and the father of founder of the Church Of God in Christ…in 1897.

In 1907, Elder Mason traveled  to Los Angeles and participated in the Azuza Revival and received the Baptism of the Holy Ghost.”

“The Church of God In Christ became the first legally incorporated Pentecostal body in the United States.” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr.

“Synan also points out that most of the white Pentecostal churches from 1907 to 1914 had no recognizable Ecclesiastical body to represent them, and to ordain their ministers. Therefore they were not authorized to perform marriages or other ministerial duties…Scores of white ministers joined the Church of God In Christ and obtained ministerial credentials from Elder Mason from the Church of God In Christ.”

“One group in Alabama and Texas received permission from COGIC to use the name of the church in 1912, and this continued until 1914, when they organized and called their predominantly white organization the Assemblies of God Church.”

“When Bishop Mason passed in 1961, he left behind him one of the largest Pentecostal bodies in the world.”

“I get the impression that God wanted all of us to be together as one in Him, worshiping Him and praising Him together.”

“Christianity is not a white man’s religion it’s not a black man’s religion: it’s simply man’s religion! It’s the only hope for salvation in this world.”

“In Christ, there’s no Black, no white, but one race, one blood in Christ Jesus. Let’s give praise to the Lord!”

Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake teaches the rich history of Black people in the Bible, for Black History Month at West Angeles COGIC. 2-26-2017.

Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake teaches the rich history of Black people in the Bible, for Black History Month at West Angeles COGIC. 2-26-2017.

“I mentioned a little while ago about Joseph…There are many parallels between Black people and the experience of Joseph, who spoke the words of our text. Joseph had visions…Those visions sustained him in the midst of adversity.”

“I say to you as a people, I say to you as individuals: whatever you’re going through, whatever you’re dealing with, keep on seeing the vision. God said, ‘I know the thoughts I have toward you…future and a hope.’ So God has a future in store for you, and if you see the vision it shall come to pass.”

“In jail, Joseph held on to the dream. Black people held on to the dream in slavery. We believed that God was going to deliver us, and praise God – God did deliver us. We held onto the dream!”

“Our presence here in the United States was not a mistake. It was painful…We were hanged we were lynched, we were abused. But God used what we went through for our good. God raised us up. God brought us out. God brought us through.”

“God’s purpose was fulfilled in us, but God is not through with us yet. You are a child of destiny. God has a purpose in blessing you.”

“Somebody in here is going through something evil, but I want you to know God meant it for good! God is going to turn it around!”

“You are a child of destiny. God has a purpose in blessing you.” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr.

“God has a purpose for your life, and we know that all things work together for good for those who love the Lord, for them who were called according to His purpose.”

“What you’ve been through, I’m going to use to bless you and to bless others.”

“Thank you, Lord, for those who have gone before us. Thank you dear Lord, for those who have paved the way for us.”

“God blessed and elevated Joseph, who was sold into slavery by his brothers, reached back to help those who hated him…and blessed them. And thus, he was able to bless literally all the world.”

“Look at your hands please…the hands that God wants to use to transform the world. If you’ll say ‘Yes,’ if you’ll say ‘Thy will be done,” God will use those hands and use your life to bring glory to His name.”

“You are a child of purpose. God has a purpose for your life.”

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES: Genesis 37-50, Numbers 10:29, Numbers 12:1-9, Isaiah 40:31, Romans 8:28; Romans 8:31-39, Jeremiah 29:11, Matthew 6:33.


BOOK Free To Dream by Bishop Charles E. BlakeDO YOUR DREAMS seem to be marked, “Never to be fulfilled”? Do you feel that it is impossible for your dreams to come true? Do you fear your dreams are too big to achieve? Let Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. teach you the biblical principles to follow from the life of Joseph and other dreamers. In Free to Dream: Discovering Your Divine Destiny, you’ll learn how faith, integrity and endurance will pull you out of the valley and up to the peak of success. Bishop Blake will encourage you to pick your dreams back up, dust them off, and persevere to the fulfillment of God’s plan for your life.

PURCHASE Free to Dream: Discovering Your Divine Destiny, by Charles E. Blake, Sr. at the WEST ANGELES CHRISTIAN EMPORIUM, 3021 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016.  Phone (323) 731-3012 for more info.

 

The Extraordinary the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“…‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the law and the prophets depend on these two commandments” -Matthew 22:39-40 (NET ) 

Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of the greatest leaders in world history. Dr. King led a nonviolent movement in the late 1950s-60s, which began in the African American communities of the segregated south. Its purpose was  to achieve legal equality and economic justice for all, the effects of which were felt not only in the United States, but also worldwide.

Dr. King’s work has transformed the lives of African Americans, women, the poor, and people of other colors and faiths in America, opening the door to greater, unprecedented opportunities for advancement in all areas of life. The purpose of the Civil Rights Movement was to establish the Constitutional and Biblical principles of equality, liberty and freedom for all in America. Dr. King’s work with the movement ignited and inspired people of other cultures and faiths worldwide in their own struggle for freedom.

THE LIFE OF DR. KING: A TIMELINE

A timeline of key events in the extraordinary life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. follows:

1929: Born  on Jan. 15, 1929, in Atlanta, GA, Martin Luther King was the son, grandson, and great-grandson of Baptist ministers. Named Michael King at birth, King was renamed “Martin” when he was about 6 years old. His father, Martin Luther King Sr., pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, and his mother, Alberta (Williams) King, a former schoolteacher, shared the Auburn Avenue home where Dr. King spent his early years with his maternal grandparents, the Rev. Adam Daniel Williams and Jeannie Celeste Williams.

1944-48: King attends Morehouse College, majoring in sociology. Although initially reluctant to follow his calling, Dr. Benjamin Mays, President of Morehouse College, showed him that a religious career could be intellectually satisfying as well as the right foundation with which to pursue the ideals of social change. Dr. King he was ordained during his final semester at Morehouse.

President Eisenhower meets with civil rights leaders on June 23, 1958. From left to right: the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., E. Frederic Morrow, Eisenhower, and A. Philip Randolph, William Rogers, and Roy Wilkins. (The Associated Press)

President Eisenhower meets with civil rights leaders on June 23, 1958. (L-R): the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., E. Frederic Morrow, Eisenhower, A. Philip Randolph, William Rogers, and Roy Wilkins. (AP)during his final semester.

1951: King began doctoral studies in systematic theology at Boston University’s School of Theology. It was during his time in the Boston area where he met met and courted Coretta Scott, an Alabama-born Antioch College graduate who was then a student at the New England Conservatory of Music. They married two years later.

1955: Dr. King received his doctorate from Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, PA. He became pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, AL, making his first mark on the civil-rights movement by mobilizing the black community during a 382-day boycott of the city’s bus lines. The U.S. Supreme Court ultimately declared bus segregation unconstitutional.

1957: Dr. King laid the groundwork for the organization now known as the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). He was elected as its president, and he soon began helping other communities organize their own protests against discrimination.

1963: In Birmingham, AL, during a non-violent protest for fair hiring practices and the desegregation of department-store facilities, police brutality used against the marchers dramatized the plight of blacks to the nation at large. Dr. King was arrested during the protest. He wrote“Letter from a Birmingham Jail” during his imprisonment. He then became a principal speaker at the historic March on Washington, where he delivered one of the most passionate addresses of his career to a multi-racial, multi-cultural crowd, the largest which had ever assembled there on behalf of a common cause in US history. Time magazine designated him as its Person of the Year for 1963.

Alabama State Troopers swing clubs to break up a voter-demonstration march in Selma, Alabama. March 8, 1965. AP wirephoto (Associated Press / )

Troopers swing clubs to break up a voter-demonstration march in Selma, Alabama. March 8, 1965.  (AP)

1964: At 35 years old, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. became the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize  (see Dr. King’s original notes for his renowned Nobel Prize acceptance speech HERE). In Selma, Ala., he led a voter-registration campaign that ended in the Selma-to-Montgomery Freedom March. King next brought his crusade to Chicago, where he launched programs to rehabilitate the slums and provide housing.

Dr. King rallied behind a new cause: the war in Vietnam. Here, King began to also address poverty, which he saw as a fundamental connection to the cause of the war; students, professors, intellectuals, clergymen and reformers rushed into the movement as well. He called for a guaranteed family income, he threatened national boycotts, and he spoke of disrupting entire cities by non-violent “camp-ins.” With this in mind, he began to plan a massive March of the Poor on Washington, D.C., envisioning a demonstration of such intensity and size that Congress would have to recognize and deal with the huge number of desperate and downtrodden Americans.

1968: On April 4, 1968, at the age of 39, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. He was felled by an assassin’s bullet as he stood with Jesse Jackson and Ralph Abernathy on the balcony of the black-owned Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, TN. The hotel is now the site of the National Civil Rights Museum.

1983: Legislation for a Holiday honoring Dr. King was first introduced four days after Dr. King’s assassination. It was signed into law in 1983. He is the only non-president to have a national holiday dedicated in his honor, and is the only non-president memorialized on the Great Mall in Washington, DC, our nation’s capitol.

 

7 QUOTES FROM THE DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.

Today, we honor the legacy and memory of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with 7 of his quotes  on racism, social change, and nonviolence:

  • “Racism is a philosophy based on a contempt for life…It separates not only bodies, but minds and spirits. Inevitably, it descends to inflicting spiritual and physical homicide upon the out-group.”
  • “We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now…”

  • “Ultimately a great nation is a compassionate nation. No individual or nation can be great if it does not have a concern for ‘the least of these.’”

  • “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense [rather] than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”

  • “It is the arrogant assertion that one race is the center of value and object of devotion, before which other races must kneel in submission.” 
  • “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

  • “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”

See video excerpts from the historic March on Washington below, courtesy of The History Channel.


The King Library and Archives in Atlanta is the largest repository of primary source materials on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the American Civil Rights Movement in the world. Significant records which document the social, cultural, economic and political impact of the civil rights movement are housed at the King Library and Archives, and are available online. See more at: http://www.thekingcenter.org/

Images and quotes, courtesy of The King Center.org. and The Seattle Times (accessed January 15, 2016).  http://www.thekingcenter.org/about-dr-king.

A 2017 graphic honoring the national Martin Luther King Holiday reflects its world-wide, cross-cultural reach.

 

Elder Charles Blake II on the Importance of the Black Church

As a part of our Elder’s Corner series, Elder Charles Edward Blake II took time to reflect on the history and importance of the black church. 

“Over the course of centuries, black churches served as “hush harbors” where slaves could worship in safety, praise houses where their free descendants could gather and shout hallelujah. (They were) rest stops for the weary along the Underground Railroad, bunkers for the foot soldiers of the Civil Rights Movement. They have been, and continue to be, community centers where we organize for jobs and justice, places of scholarship and network, places where children are loved and fed and kept out of harm’s way, and told that they are beautiful and smart and taught that they matter. That’s what happens in church” – President Barack Obama, in the eulogy for Clementa C. Pinckney, Pastor of Emmanuel AME Church.

As I listened to our President deliver this historic, heartfelt [speech], I was especially drawn to his comments on the historical significance of the black church in American history. I have believed that the black church is as our president described: the beating heart of the black community. The first African American schools, hospitals, farming co-ops, workers unions, and many more aspects of our community, came out of the black church. After the Civil War and slavery had ended, the church was the only institution the black community had to protect our civil rights during Reconstruction.

Years later, however, after the Civil Rights Era, other secular African-American organizations did our civil rights work for us. Today, it would now seem that many of the rights that we gained during that time have either slowly eroded, or have not been realized at all by our community.

“The Black church is as our President described: the beating heart of the black community.” – Elder Charles E. Blake, Jr.

In light of what the church has been to our community in the past, we must continue to question: “Who are we as the church in the present?”

Impacting Our Future

As the church, we have the power to impact nations and transform cities. Yet many of us have not allowed ourselves to be transformed by the Gospel into something new that God can use to help someone else. We praise his name and the Spirit of the Lord is here…there’s no doubt about it! But while this Word, this truth, this gospel is widely believed and agreed upon and we praise the Lord for it, it is a truth we widely take for granted. We have to really ask ourselves: “Is the world a better place because we are in it? Is this a better church because I’m a part of it?”

We are called not only to worship Christ, but also to truly follow him. So, how do we do that? Mark 10:43-45 says:

43 “Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. 44 And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

We have to remember beloved, that as members of the body of Christ, we have all been called as missionaries, evangelists, and ministers (Ephesians 4:11). We are here to follow Jesus’ example, to serve even those who we may feel don’t deserve it, in order to be a light to others. The church must be a better church because we are a part of it. The world must be a better place because we are in it.

Like the apostles themselves, we don’t deserve what Christ did for us when He died on the cross. But when we serve others and live our lives with integrity, God can look at our lives as an investment and pour out His blessings. We then honor the price that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ paid for us, and we begin to do our part to become the church He created us to be.

 

Elder Charles Edward Blake II serves as Assistant Pastor and Director of Community Relations of West Angeles Church of God In Christ, under the leadership of Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr. He received his BS in Marketing from Oral Roberts University, and studied for his MD at the Interdenominational Theological Center. Elder Blake also serves as the General Manager of the Los Angeles Ecumenical Congress.  He and wife DeAndra are the proud parents of two sons. 

Pay your pledge online!  To donate to the West Angeles FAMILY LIFE CAMPAIGN, please click HERE.

5 Quotes to Honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of the greatest leaders in world history. Dr. King led a nonviolent movement in the late 1950’s-60’s to achieve legal equality and economic justice for African Americans in the United States.

A timeline of key events in the life of Dr. King follows:

1929 – Born  on Jan. 15, 1929, in Atlanta, GA, Dr. Martin Luther King was the son, grandson, and great-grandson of Baptist ministers.  Named Michael King at birth, King was renamed “Martin” when he was about 6 years old.  His father, Martin Luther King Sr., pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, and his mother, Alberta (Williams) King, a former schoolteacher, shared the Auburn Avenue home where Dr. King spent his early years with his maternal grandparents, the Rev. Adam Daniel Williams and Jeannie Celeste Williams.

1944-48 – King attends Morehouse College, majoring in sociology. Reluctant to follow his calling, he was ordained during his final semester.

1951 – King began doctoral studies in systematic theology at Boston University’s School of Theology.  It was during his time in the Boston area where he met met and courted Coretta Scott, an Alabama-born Antioch College graduate who was then a student at the New England Conservatory of Music.  They married 2 years later.

1955 – Dr. King received his doctorate from Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, PA.  He became pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, AL, making his first mark on the civil-rights movement by mobilizing the black community during a 382-day boycott of the city’s bus lines. The U.S. Supreme Court ultimately declared bus segregation unconstitutional.

1957 – Dr. King laid the groundwork for the organization now known as the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). He was elected as its president, and he soon began helping other communities organize their own protests against discrimination.

1963 – In Birmingham, AL, during a non-violent protest for fair hiring practices and the desegregation of department-store facilities, police brutality used against the marchers dramatized the plight of blacks to the nation at large.  Dr. King was arrested during the protest; he wrote“Letter from a Birmingham Jail” during his imprisonment.  He then became a principal speaker at the historic March on Washington, where he delivered one of the most passionate addresses of his career. Time magazine designated him as its Person of the Year for 1963.

1964 – At 35 years old, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. became the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize (see Dr. King’s original notes for his renowned Nobel Prize acceptance speech HERE). In Selma, Ala., he led a voter-registration campaign that ended in the Selma-to-Montgomery Freedom March. King next brought his crusade to Chicago, where he launched programs to rehabilitate the slums and provide housing.

Dr. King rallied behind a new cause: the war in Vietnam. Students, professors, intellectuals, clergymen and reformers then rushed into the movement. King also began to address poverty, in which he saw an integral connection to the cause of war. He called for a guaranteed family income, he threatened national boycotts, and he spoke of disrupting entire cities by non-violent “camp-ins.” With this in mind, he began to plan a massive march of the poor on Washington, D.C., envisioning a demonstration of such intensity and size that Congress would have to recognize and deal with the huge number of desperate and downtrodden Americans.

1968 – On April 4, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther king, Jr. was assassinated.  He was standing outside on the balcony of the black-owned Lorraine Hotel in Memphis,  with Jesse Jackson and Ralph Abernathy.  The hotel is now the National Civil Rights Museum.

Legislation for a Holiday honoring Dr. King was first introduced four days after Dr. King’s assassination, then signed into law in 1983.

Today, we honor the legacy and memory of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with 7 of his quotes  on racism, social change, and nonviolence:

  • “Racism is a philosophy based on a contempt for life…It separates not only bodies, but minds and spirits. Inevitably, it descends to inflicting spiritual and physical homicide upon the out-group.”
  • “We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now…”

  • “Ultimately a great nation is a compassionate nation. No individual or nation can be great if it does not have a concern for ‘the least of these.’” 
  • “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense [rather] than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” 
  • “It is the arrogant assertion that one race is the center of value and object of devotion, before which other races must kneel in submission.” 
  • “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

  • “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”

Image and quotes, courtesy of The King Center.org. (accessed January 17, 2016).  http://www.thekingcenter.org/about-dr-king.  See excerpts from the historic March on Washington below, courtesy of The History Channel.

____________________

The King Library and Archives in Atlanta is the largest repository of primary source materials on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the American Civil Rights Movement in the world. Significant records which document the social, cultural, economic and political impact of the civil rights movement are housed at the King Library and Archives, and are available online. See more at: http://www.thekingcenter.org/

 

 

 

Bishop Blake: A Sermon For Black History Month

“We need to reach back to our homeland; reach back to Africa.” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake

For Black History Month, Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake took the congregation of West Angeles Church of God In Christ back to school with a Black History lesson that transcended the ages. He began his sermon in Africa, thousands of years before the birth of Christ, with the stories of Moses, the Queen of Sheba, the slave trade, and the roots of Pentecostalism, to reveal the connection between people of African descent and the roots of Christianity.

Bishop Blake was also inspired by the story of Joseph in Genesis, who married an Egyptian woman, and cited parallels between Joseph’s journey and the historic journey of African Americans.

See this entire Black History celebration on West Angeles’ Gospel On Demand here.

Highlights from the sermon follow:

“Two thousand years before the birth of Jesus Christ, Moses traveled to Midian, in the southern part of the fertile crescent. There, Moses married a dark-skinned Midianite woman. Moses married an Ethiopian, and Ethiopia people in her family became counselors and advisers to Moses.”

“Almost 1,000 years before the birth of Jesus Christ, the queen of Sheba –also known as Kush or Ethiopia – visited King Solomon. She came from Africa with many camels, spices, gold, and precious stones. Her nation and her culture had obviously existed long before that time.”

“The Ethiopian Piankhi established the 24th Egyptian Dynasty. And at least four Egyptian Kings ruled over Egypt from 730 BC until 66 BC…great nations, great civilizations, great cultures existed in Africa centuries before Jesus Christ was born.”

“One of the greatest generals of all time was a man by the name of Hannibal from the city of Carthage in Northern Africa. Hannibal frequently defied and defeated Rome between 219 and 203 BC.”

“In 1498 AD, Portuguese explorers wrote that they found along the east African coast tall stone towns of comfort and of wealth. They found people who were highly civilized and skilled in the use of the compass, and in reading charts.”

“Timbuktu was a magnificent city where merchants made greater profit from the sale of books than from the sale of any other commodity.”

“In the areas of science, art, medicine, government, law, and culture, many of the nations of Africa were competitive with, and in many cases more advanced than, the other nations of the world in Europe and Asia during that period. All of this was devastated by the slave trade; by slavery, and by Colonialism.”

“William Banks gives us the following report in his book, ‘The Black Church In The US’: nearly 20 million Negroes were made captive over the span of some 300 years, from 1517 until 1840. They were crammed …into ships like sardines in a can, and brought across the Atlantic from the Gulf of Guinea to the New World. The trip that they made was called ‘The Middle Passage’. It’s estimated that perhaps 12 million Blacks landed in South America and Latin America, and about 2 million of them were brought into the US.”

“What happened to the millions that were taken away from Africa? Some died resisting capture. Some died in captivity. While waiting in Africa to be shipped out, some committed suicide, not willing to be captured. Others, beaten and too weak to continue the trek, were abandoned to die.”

“Most of the loss of life came during the Middle Passage, that journey across the ocean from Africa to the New World. Perhaps not more than half of the slaves which were shipped out from Africa ever became effective workers in the New World.”

“What was the impact of the loss of 20 million of its inhabitants on the culture and the nations of Africa? How many died trying to defend their families in the violence associated with the slave trade?”

“After the slave trade came the horrible period of Colonialism, in which horrible invaders did to Africa’s resources what those before them did to Africa’s people. What was the value of the people and of the resources that were taken from the continent of Africa?”

“After all we went through, we still produced a Benjamin Banneker, maker of the first American clock; Sojourner Truth; George Washington Carver; Charles Drew… Benjamin O Davis; Ralph Bunche; Booker T. Washington; Marion Anderson; Martin Luther King, Jr.; Malcolm X; Colin Powell; Barack Obama!”

“After all we went through, God blessed us to be productive; to rise above our oppression and attain excellence.” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake

“During the dark day of the Crucifixion, the Jews were condemning [Jesus] and calling for His death. Europe, represented by the Roman Centurions, drove nails into the hands of feet of Jesus. But Africa, represented by Simon of Cyrene, a Black man from Northwest Africa, stepped in when everybody else was stepping back…Simon of Cyrene shared history’s most significant moment with the Christ: he bore the Cross of Christ up Calvary’s Hill.”

“Jesus will not allow you to bear your cross by yourself. If anybody out there needs help with your cross, give praise to the Lord, and He will help you to bear your cross!”

“God chose black hands and wooly hair to perform an act that all the truly wise and all the truly great…Godly men of the earth would have been overjoyed to perform: bearing the Cross of Jesus Christ.”

“The Ethiopian secretary of the treasury was to pass in his chariot…this Ethiopian nobleman heard and believed the gospel, and after being baptized, this nobleman went back to Ethiopia to form the Abyssinian Church that exists until this day. He was the first Gentile of record to be saved: a Black man.”

“Historian Dean (Henry Hart) Milman has said, “It was Africa, not Rome, which gave birth to Latin Christianity. Africa gave three of the greatest scholars of the church to the church. Augustine, Tertullian, Cyprian, were all born in Northern Africa.”

“Anyone who says that Christianity is a white man’s religion and not a black man’s religion really doesn’t know anything about Christianity.”

“Christianity is not a white man’s religion it’s not a black man’s religion: it’s just man’s religion! Halleluiah!”

“Black men have the privilege of being among the first leaders and participants in the Pentecostal and Charismatic revival that swept across the church in the early 1900’s.”

“(Historian and author Dr. H. Vinson Synan says that) Charles F. Parham, a white man, and William J. Seymour, a Black man, share roughly equal positions as founders of modern Pentecostalism.”

“A key man in that contagious spread (of Pentecostalism) was a man by the name of Charles Harrison Mason, a Black man and the father of founder of the Church Of God in Christ. In 1907, Elder Mason went to Los Angeles and participated in the Azuza Revival and received the Baptism of the Holy Ghost.”

“Scores of white ministers obtained ministerial credentials from Elder Mason from the Church of God In Christ. One group in Alabama and Texas received permission to use the name of the church in 1912, and this continued until 1914, when they organized and called their predominantly white organization the Assemblies of God.”

“When Bishop Mason passed in 1961, he left behind him one of the largest Pentecostal bodies in the world.”

“Christianity belongs to all of us! Aren’t you glad that you know Jesus Christ?” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake

“There are many parallels between [African Americans] and the experience of Joseph. In jail, Joseph held on to the dream. Black people held on to the dream in slavery. We believed that God was going to deliver us, and praise God: God did deliver us. We held onto the dream!”

“Somebody in here is going through something evil, but I want you to know God meant it for good! God is going to turn it around!”

“We need to reach back to our homeland; reach back to Africa.”

“If you pursue the purpose of God, God is going to work everything out for your good.”

“God worked it out for it us, and God is gonna work it out for you: but you’ve got to hold on to the dream!”

“Does anybody have a dream in here? Anybody have a vision? Do you have something you’re reaching for? Listen: God is going to bring it to pass!”

“If you hold on to God, if you trust God: ‘Seek ye first the Kingdom of god and His righteousness, and all of these things shall be added unto you.”

“Child of God, I just came by to tell you that God has great miracles in store for you!”

“If Joseph were here, and if he could testify, he would say to you, ‘Don’t ever give up on your dream: don’t ever give up on your vision.”

“God has Blessed us, but I don’t believe God is through with us yet”.

“The story of Joseph can be your story. The story of your people can be your story…Praise God for your future!”

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES: Genesis 37-50, Num10:29, Numbers 12:1-9, Isaiah 40:31, Romans 8:28; Romans 8:31-39, Matthew 6:33.