Editorial: It’s time for a new fight against hate

Editorial: It’s time for a new fight against hate
June 26
00:00 2015

A white man enters a black church during prayer and Bible study, spends an hour with parishioners then executes nine of them. This horrific episode at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, on June 17 has aroused black church members and leaders, and people of all races nationwide, including in Winston-Salem. How could this happen in 2015?

The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, president of the N.C. NAACP, gives a brief history of the black church in which the nine people died – including its pastor and state lawmaker, Sen. Clementa Pinckney – and others were injured.

“Emanuel A.M.E. Church’s congregation was formed in 1791 by free and enslaved African-Americans. Denmark Vesey, one of the founders of the congregation, orchestrated a slave rebellion uncovered in 1822. Thirty-five slaves were executed and white mobs burned the church in retaliation for the revolt plot. The congregation rebuilt the church and met until 1834, when the state legislature of South Carolina banned black churches. They met secretly until Emancipation in 1865.”

16th Street Baptist Church was bombed on a Sunday morning in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963. Four little girls died and others were hurt. There was an atmosphere of hate in Birmingham, all the way to the government.

The Charleston, S.C., area has a history of hatemongering, too. Black people have been targeted for a long time there. Before the church members were killed, a North Charleston police officer fatally shot an unarmed African-American man in the back as he fled from the officer.
Black people have weathered all kinds of evil over 400 years in America. From lynchings, to bombings, to decapitations, to rapes and other forms of torture, to church burnings, African-Americans have been subjected to inhumane treatment because of race.

The Black Church is one of the stalwarts of African-American society. Of course it will be targeted by the hatemongers who want to destroy the black race. All kinds of people are appalled that something like this could happen today. But the elements that fueled the hatred over the centuries exist today, so the evil persists.

A 21-year-old white man has been arrested as the killer in the Charleston massacre. White supremacy material has been found in his possession. His manifesto has surfaced. He has embraced the Confederate flag. This means that this young man was taught hate or was introduced to hate at a young age. Evil is being passed on from generation to generation.

Elements such as the Internet and social media have made it easier to fuel the education of hate. Information is available at the click of a mouse. People feel freer to let their vile and hatred be known.

History is repeating itself. From voting rights to economic rights to civil rights, African-Americans are targets.

Just as African-American leaders of the past, Barber issues a plea.

“We must rededicate ourselves, black and white, to the battle against white supremacy.
In the aftermath of the Birmingham bombing in 1963, civil rights and justice communities took not a single step backward. People of all races stepped forward together. Let us do so again.”

This time, the movement forward will involve an African-American society that is different from the one in 1963. African-Americans have made many gains since then. The movement forward will need to unite a Black America that has resources yet might have forgotten about the past struggles. The Black America today has become comfortable in its new status.

However, as the recent killings of unarmed African-Americans show, racial hate still exists. Therefore, a new fight must gain momentum.

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