Coming To Terms With History
During Reconstruction, laws that discriminated against Black people were repealed in an effort to remake the south after the Civil War.tridosa.hu/wp-content/305/1214.php
A tangled legacy: coming to terms with history in Uzhhorod
By , the grand experiment ended as Democrats regained power and discriminatory laws were reinstated. Even the Supreme Court, in , walked back on the Civil Rights Act of , which had forbidden discrimination in public spaces. The saturation of these legislative acts in cities and towns across the country helped make segregation and separation seem normal, natural and, most of all, necessary.
Segregation was supported by the legal system, enforced by police and held firmly in place by violence or threat of violence from law enforcement or even ordinary citizens emboldened by discriminatory laws of segregation. These codes, and the customs they engendered, were not limited to the South.
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Indiana codified the movement and behavior of African-Americans. While the constitution prohibited slavery some early white settlers of the Indiana territory brought enslaved people with them , the civil rights and freedom of movement were restricted for Black people: They could not vote, go to public schools or testify against a white person in a court case.
The Indiana constitution prohibited Black people from moving into the state registered African-Americans could remain. The article in question was repealed in , but that did not end the animosity and suspicion directed toward Black bodies; one of the most famous photographs of a lynching happened in Marion, Ind. Three Black men had been accused of raping a white woman, who later recanted.
Recent calls for civility in conversations about race and racialized violence are troubling because they posit these instances of violence and potential violence as simple disagreements—two different sides of the same coin. This call to civility even seems to have some relationship to the Black codes and their purpose. For these codes did not only govern placement—where in space and place your Black body could be—but behaviors as well. As an African-American Mennonite Christian in who has witnessed the rise and fall of the myriad ways Christians have talked about the race problem prejudice reduction, diversity, racial reconciliation , I remain convinced of at least a couple of things:.
We must teach, learn and talk about our racial history in the context of our faith without glossing over or spiritualizing it. Absent historical context, the recent spate of people having law enforcement called on them continues the mistake of localizing blame upon hapless employees or clueless bystanders who have been socialized to believe Black bodies are dangerous and up to no good without any other information. We must include such teaching and learning as part of our congregational and denominational life together, including worship.
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Liturgy makes our faith concrete and visible and sustains us for the journey ahead as the people of God. Regina Shands Stoltzfus is associate professor of peace and justice studies at Goshen Indiana College. The Mennonite, Inc. Comments on older articles can continue to be submitted for review. Comments that were previously approved will still appear on older articles.
Read our full Comments Policy before submitting a comment for approval. Black in America: On coming to terms with our racial history. Comments are closed.
June Issue. They know that there is a work that God does in the heart by taking on this challenge. I think we have to do what is in front of us and trust that each step we take in the right direction ultimately makes a difference. Many others are just quietly ruminating on this idea. It got me to come to Israel in a different way, and for a different purpose.
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Black in America: On coming to terms with our racial history
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