Scholars say children of African American slaves faced severe trauma. They had little or no family life, poor diets, often ate with pigs, and were denied education; they were poorly clothed, lacked medical care, and often died early. Growing up, they could only expect to be slaves. Slave masters usually sold children along with their mothers, but often took and sold them away from their parents. Long ago, ancient Israel went into exile as slaves. Even though bondage back then was not as horrific as African American child slavery, it was still bad. Jeremiah knew what lay ahead for children in captivity. He lamented this in chapter 31, “A cry is heard in Ramah–deep anguish and bitter weeping. Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted–for her children are gone.” Even then, God gave them hope, for in the same prophecy God said, “Do not weep any longer, for I will reward you. Your children will come back to you from the distant land of the enemy.” Today we must do all we can to guard all children from trauma and abuse. We must take our Lord’s concern seriously, “Suffer the little children to come unto me. Forbid them not.”

Dr. Melvin E. Banks, Sr.

Dr. Melvin E. Banks, Sr. is the founder and chairman of UMI (Urban Ministries, Inc.). Under his direction, UMI has grown to be a leading publisher of Christian education resources for churches in the African American community. Read More

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