Lament and Hope: A Pan African Quad-Centennial Devotional Guide - Page 25

The Impact of the ‘Separate but Equal’ Policy
Weekly Scriptures Lessons:
First Sunday: “Restore What the Locusts Have Eaten” (Joel: 2:25-32)
Second Sunday: “Act Justly and Love Mercy” (Micah 6:8)
Third Sunday: “With All Thy Getting, Get Understanding” (Proverbs 4:7)
Fourth Sunday: “Unified and Equitable” (Corinthians 12:12-27)
Fifth Sunday: “Love One Another” (John 13:35)
Biblical Reflection:
Our spirits cry out as we lament both the past and residual impacts of slavery and the locust known as racism that has deprived
Africans and their descendants basic freedoms, such as the right to read and write. This disenfranchisement was done through
a discriminatory legal system. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Jim Crow laws of the south mandated racial segregation
thereby laying the foundation for institutionalizing separate and drastically unequal public school facilities and other resources
for Black Americans. This was true even after the 1896 U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Plessy vs. Ferguson that public facilities and
services may remain separate but equal. The advocacy of our ancestors finally ended racial segregation in public schools in the
1954 U.S. Supreme Court case, Brown v. Board of Education. A decade later, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 banned racial segregation
in all public spaces, as well as employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
As we lament our past and the residual impacts of slavery and segregation, we also acknowledge our nation’s progress in
treating the infestation of racism in our public institutions. We embrace the hope of policies that will help ensure equal
educational opportunities for all. Fair districting laws and equitable investments in public education are essential to addressing
the racial imbalances that persist in our school systems. We advocate for this not merely for education’s sake, but also to
increase the knowledge and earning potential of students of color and reduce their risk of experiencing hunger and poverty in
their adult lives. Such affirms the talents and value of all God’s children.
Almighty God, our Liberator and Redeemer, we call upon your wisdom, love, and power to fulfill the words of your prophet
Joel to heal, restore, and unify our land. Give us boldness and discernment to eliminate racial disparities in our public
institutions and provide equal educational opportunities for all students to help ensure the success and prosperity of all
generations. We recall our past of separate but equal, while endeavoring to create a world in which Your people and the
opportunities set before us are unified and equitable. In the name of Christ Jesus. Amen.
Reflection Questions:
Week 1: What vision is God delivering to us as the sons and daughters of enslaved Africans who are called to fulfill God’s
promises in the modern day? How can you participate in this vision?
Week 2: What does it mean to show God’s love and mercy in an unjust world?
Week 3: What lessons from our past will enable us to create and implement policies that will transform our future?
Week 4: What steps—large and small—must we take to promote unity within the body of Christ and equity in our
public institutions?
Week 5: How might we grieve (lament) our past in such a way that uproots and releases all forms of bitterness and produces
perfect love that casts out fear?
Heather L. Taylor, Esq., director of strategic communications and campaigns at Bread for the World, is co-chair of the Criminal Justice
Reform and Racial Justice and Reconciliation Committees at the historic Alfred Street Baptist Church Social Justice Ministry in
Alexandria, Virginia, and seminarian at Wesley Theological Seminary.
Bread for the World


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