The first African slaves arrived in the United States in 1619. For 250 years, they endured the cruelty of working cotton and tobacco fields in the hot sun. The Emancipation Proclamation ended chattel slavery in 1863, but they continued to suffer segregation and discrimination under brutal Jim Crow laws. 2019 marks 400 years of Africans living in America. Black and White abolitionists fought hard to end the curse of slavery. During the years of bitter suffering, slaves found comfort by relying on the distant hope of freedom. They created songs like “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, Coming to carry me home. I looked over Jordan and what did I see. Coming for to carry me home, A band of angels coming after me, Coming to carry me home.” Anticipating a better tomorrow also gave hope to ancient Hebrews who endured 400 years of slavery in Egypt. The author of Psalm 33 wrote this: “We put our hope in the LORD. He is our help and our shield. In Him, our hearts rejoice.” Today, African Americans are grateful for those Black and White abolitionists that fought to end chattel slavery. While we’re glad for the progress since, we long to see justice in employment, housing, healthcare and our judicial system.

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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