Yes, racism is real in America.
The Klan is an American White supremacist hate group whose primary target is Black Americans. My great-grandfather was lynched by the Klan.
Before my mother died, she shared with my wife, Lori, and I that her grandfather, my great-grandfather, was lynched by the Klan. Momma shared how the Klan cut off her grandfather’s genitals, stuffed them in her grandmother’s mouth, gagged her with a rag, forced her to watch her husband hang on a tree as their children were being burned alive in their own home, then they raped her and left her for dead.
Every time Momma would share this piece of family history, I’d get angry on the inside.
To give you some historical perspective, when my great-grandfather was 10 years old, slavery was abolished by President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. On the plantation, my great-grandfather learned the skills of a carpenter, and by 1910, he was officially known as a farmer. He was married to my great-grandmother, and their first child, a daughter, was born in 1893. More children followed, and altogether they had 14 children.
My great-grandfather gained a reputation as fine builder. With the help of his community, he built a house just big enough to accommodate the family of 16. However, according to the Klan, this was too much house for a Black man.
Ultimately, the Klan, rode out to my great-grandfather’s home in their white sheets and wearing their hoods, carrying their torches, and murdered many in my family.
If not for the Grace of God, all of my family would have been mercilessly slaughtered, and I would never have been born.
Over time, Momma would tell me this story, this piece of family history, and every time I’d get angry on the inside. But she knew me, and she was making a point. Momma made it very clear that her mother, my grandmother, (who was one of six siblings rescued from the fire by their older sister) was only able to overcome this horrendous event in her life through the grace, mercy, and forgiveness found only in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Momma made me understand that when my grandmother accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior, her world got better. And nobody could take that away from her.
Momma’s point was based upon the biblical model. She made me understand that racism was not a new sin that originated in or was confined to America. Racism, in its ugliest form, was and is clearly documented in the Bible, in both the Old and the New Testaments. In every case, it didn’t matter what the other nations had done or were doing. God told Israel to trust Him, obey Him, and worship Him only.
Momma would tell me, “Son, you can’t change anybody but yourself, and only what God gives you will last.”
Momma was right. When I committed my life to Christ and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior on Sunday, October 22nd, 1967, sitting next to my sister on the second pew on the left, facing the front of the Lord’s Supper table at the Harford Avenue Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan, I stopped being angry. And my world got better.