African Americans celebrate their history for at least three reasons. 1) To highlight gains we have made since slavery was officially abolished; 2) To highlight the African contribution to civilization long before slavery began; and 3) To remind all Americans that our continuing struggle for equality is justified. We have not yet reached the Promised Land. The idea of recalling and remembering is both a privilege and an obligation. Moses affirmed that as he spoke to ancient Israel on the plains of Moab before he died. We read this in Deuteronomy 11: “Keep in mind that I am not talking now to your children, who have never experienced the discipline of the Lord your God or seen his greatness and his strong hand and powerful arm. They didn’t see the miraculous signs and wonders he performed in Egypt against Pharaoh and all his land.” Later, Moses says, “But you have seen the Lord perform all these mighty deeds with your own eyes!” Whenever we experience God’s blessings or actions on our behalf, like African Americans and ancient Israel, we have the privilege and duty to remember, and based on our memory, to respond in gratitude and loyalty to God.
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