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Mary Lee Brady, Ph.D.

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Not all or even most people who view themselves as Christians now nor ever have shared the same ideology though all profess to believe in JESUS; and, we believe that most do. But, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. observed about 11:00 A.M. on Sunday mornings, ... attitudes and behaviors about HIM are vastly different.  We hold these truths to be self-evident that Thomas Jefferson was a gifted child who would write "all men are created equal" and in his latter years of life that: "Jesus was the greatest philosopher in human history."

So, was Jefferson (wrote his own bible) ever inspired in the historic cause of goodness?  Maybe our ancestral perceived "Living Christ" inspired him, a slave owner, to write such revolutionary thoughts embraced by tens of millions of enlightened and educated men and women in America and abroad.  We hasten to add our differences are not simply on the basis of race but also ideological and gender lines that preceded the Civil War.  As it was in the beginning with HIM what surely mattered most in the establishment, sustainment and ending of slavery were the beliefs and behaviors existing in the hearts and minds of young mothers and their sons and daughters. 

Indeed, the functional Black Church that emerged during and after slavery was never of a common ideology opposing slavery though commonalties existed in wanting liberties to be "happy."  The pursuit of happiness thus existed as a contradiction to ideologies held by people like Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman who viewed liberty as an end in itself, with or without "happiness."  Not all Blacks who claimed to love JESUS looked to him as their source of worldly happiness available via kindly owners, ... with many clinging to old testament teachings by Pauline Christian preachers that God approved of slavery and blessed masters who allowed their slaves to "get happy" in Sunday worship.

But, in all of human history since the birth, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, there have been a few or even perhaps many occasions when driving philosophy of Messianic Christianity could be distinguished from that of Old Testament based Islam and Judaism. Neither faith preached to end the godless institution in Africa, Asia or America albeit a few voices were raised to make it less horrible. Many American-European Jews profited in slave trading as did African-Arab Moslems. 

We are generally inclined to believe that Presbyterian and Methodist ideology came closer to Messianic ideals and pragmatism of Mark and Mathew, ... than did Christian ideologies rooted in the rationales of Paul (reflected in Books of Luke and John) such as favored among Catholics and Episcopalians.  Indeed, many who professed to dislike slavery were nevertheless opposed to Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation and enforcement of it, ... calling themselves not racists but conservatives and viewing abolitionism as "radicalism"  for taking away "personal liberties" to own or free slaves.  They were Christians in a sense, referring to their so-called Judeo-Christian heritage.

Generally speaking early Baptist preachers were not very well educated to distinguish differences and thus decided the entire bible of many books and contradictions (including King James who began the British slave trade) with teachings of Christ was nevertheless, "the Word of God."  Indeed, all the claims and passions of faith and fancy during the 18th and 19th century realities of slavery must be examined to understand how and why slavery was destined to end with the blood and spirit of Christ.  The first half of the 19th century was such a time and the cause and challenge of dying for earthly/worldly salvation of others was clearly such an occasion. 

Indeed, it was not the first or second coming of Christ for pious souls to await, but battles that raged in Africa, the Americas, Europe within halls of government, on slave plantations, aboard ships, in private homes, ... and every place JESUS the rebel was found alive and well intervening to end chattel slavery. 

Is it possible that any or many names given in the first half of the 19th century were inspired by divine intervention in response to cries and prayers of suffering millions of God's children in bondage, .... acted to raise up an army of righteousness to end chattel slavery?  Did African-Americans join HIM

And, if so, is it also possible in our faith that such sons of God should not be forgotten by beneficiaries.  Whatever you may think about those who answered the call of Lincoln, please remember that in the cause served they heard music such as:      

                            ONWARD CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS

African-Americans clearly owe their liberty to Black, White and Mulatto young men in the 17 to 25 years of age group who served and often died in the Civil War for what we are convinced was a divine purpose that generated their births.  The African-American young men who joined the Union forces did so for both money and ideals to help free others, especially relatives still enslaved behind the cotton curtain of chattel slavery.

Indeed, had they not been born of Salvation Fathers & Mothers in pain and toils of bondage and racism, it is very unlikely emancipated generations could have occurred in the 19th century nor perhaps much of the 20th century. The fact is that slavery would not have been abandoned so long as it was profitable although a few slave owners may have done so for moral principles.

Even Clarence Thomas type mentalities of opportunist Catholicism should be compelled to admit in the presence of revisionists like David Horowitz that freedom has never been free for any cultural group, ... although it is doubtful any ancestors known or cared about by either one served in the emancipating Union forces of Abraham Lincoln.  But, be as it may be, ... there were some men named "Thomas" who violated the law and escaped slavery to be free and even join in the great cause against constitutionally authorized enslavement of "the least of us." 

Most descendents of African heritage and the past institution of chattel slavery have little or no knowledge of their ancestral kin that served in the Civil War, ... as compared to most White northerners and southerners who routinely are able to cite who, when, where and why about their ancestors in the same conflict.  Most preachers know more about Joshua than they know of General Grant.

We believe the reasons are that most African-Americans are very much rooted in matrilineal and matriarchal heritage information links that tend to dismiss or be less interested in matters such as wars, ... and especially so with the non-biblical war that absorbed a lot of young men who did not sire any offspring.  Out of sight and out of mind in most cases wherein a runaway slave was soon forgotten by all but his mother and perhaps siblings whose reasoning about a departed brother, ... often proved to be wrong.

Fortunately, there were some brave thousands of Black and Mulatto women who saw the lightening and heard the thunder of lives being destroyed and moans of death and dying.  Their stories ought to be better known. 

The Civil War was a very bloody War of Movement in the classical traditions (both Messianic and Military) with thousands of campaigns, battles, raids, sieges and skirmishes fought involving over 600,000 rebels and nearly a million Union soldiers and sailors that included approximately 200,000 African-Americans,

... and thousands more such as the sons of Madison Hemings who were able to pass for White in their enlistments and entitlements.  Upwards of half these young men, Black and White, rebel and Union, were killed or seriously wounded in the great cause.  And, when the war was done, most plantation preachers among the huddled Black masses of four million helpless old men, women and children in slavery, ... had no functional knowledge of young men and women who had left their midst of misery to live free or die. Many of their graves are in veterans cemeteries scattered across the nation, and rarely, if ever, visited by African-Americans who ought to find their relatives and care!

            Listen little children and you will hear,

            Not about the midnight ride of Paul Reverre,

            But, more about young men who overcame fear,

            Free or dead it was often said and came to be read,

            By enlightened and educated souls up from slavery,

            And slave owners no longer able to deny,

            Slavery would be ended by blood running red and deep,

            And, ancestors alive in our memory to hold and keep.

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