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A Happy Blow to Segregation in Georgia

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I was delighted to read this story, but amazed that such a thing as segregated school activities still exist in United States society. What an abysmal mark on our world is that of racial prejudice and inequity.

By Kristi Keck
CNN

ASHBURN, Georgia (CNN) — Students of Turner County High School started what they hope will become a new tradition: Black and white students attended the prom together for the first time on Saturday.

In previous years, parents had organized private, segregated dances for students of the school in rural Ashburn, Georgia, 160 miles south of Atlanta.

More here.

It is my understanding that it was senior James Hall and his classmates themselves who put an end to the segregation formerly found in these celebrations. I heartily congratulate them.

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By Shirley Buxton

Still full of life and ready to be on the move, Shirley at 81 years old feels blessed to have lots of energy and to be full of optimism. She was married to Jerry for 64 years, and grieves yet at his death in August of 2019. They have 4 children, 13 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren...all beautiful and highly intelligent--of course. :)

24 replies on “A Happy Blow to Segregation in Georgia”

RE: “I can’t see how it can be said blacks in your church “prefer to remain in black churches” and not call that a preference for segregation.”

I’d say they prefer segregation to giving up leadership in the one place that they had had autonomy even from times of slavery.

Finis.

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Helen-

Respectfully, I think it hinders the healing of racial wounds to be unable to observe that racial prejudice indeed exists in all groups–in all directions. By definition I can’t see how it can be said blacks in your church “prefer to remain in black churches” and not call that a preference for segregation.

I believe this mind-set is what Esther observes in Mississippi. We see much of that in the West and it is frustrating.

You and I agree on much concerning racial prejudice, but disagree at this point, I believe. I’ll give you the last word…maybe…no hard promises. 🙂

Of course, other people may want to add thoughts here…and those are certainly welcome.

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Of course, I know why the church remains segregated. Black churches do not “go after” white members for a number of reasons. 1) They are busy enough in black communities with outreach programs. 2) The black church has always been a haven of rest for blacks – the place where they can do things their way, a place where they don’t have to be concerned with racism 3) They believe God will send whom He will. (as far a “white folks” are concerned. They accept all who come but don’t go after others. (Does that make sense?) This does not mean they don’t evangelize the black community.

It is the rare black pastor who participates in ecumenical and multi-cultural events. The black pastors I know do. They open their doors to multi-cultural meetings and “recognize” white people who make the effort at integration.

Bottom line: not enough “white people” want to go to black churches. Too many people want integration but only if blacks do the moving.

By Orthodox, I mean Eastern Orthodox Christians, such as Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, etc. Many have yearly festivals that allow visiting without attending a Sunday service. The Greek Festival here offers sanctuary tours in which all the icons, etc. are explained. It’s a wonderful way to learn church history. We were once all a part of the Church. So this is our history, too.

Both Catholic and Orthodox weddings are as colorful as their churches. More later, Shirley. I have to run.

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Helen, we must have been posting at the same time, so I didn’t answer your question.

None of my close relatives are Catholic. By Orthodox, do you mean Jewish Orthodox? Anyway, no, my relatives do not belong to either of those churches. I have never been to a Jewish synagogue, but I want to do that some time. I know I would quite enjoy it.

I have been to a few Catholic funerals. Most of them were very different from other funerals I have attended, but one was much more informal–even had guitar playing and casual singing. The priest was friendly and mingled with the congregation, although in the other Catholic funerals that did not happen.

Edit: I have also been to a Catholic wedding.

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Oh, Shirley, BTW, I fully understand; I go with relatives or friends, also. I can worship wherever I am. Just out of curiosity – nothing to do with this post – does this ever put you in a Catholic or Orthodox church?

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I go to a black church. There are a handful of white members. Most churches are either black or white with a token few “other.” Pentecostal churches are more integrated for reasons I stated before. They do not participate in civil rights activities and have a more “other worldly” outlook.

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Good morning, ESTHER.

You don’t sound prejudiced, and I understand exactly what you’re saying. Prejudice absolutely works in both directions. As you probably know, we see a lot of that in the West, both with blacks and with Hispanics. Wish we could rid ourselves of the whole mess, but it seems to be hard.

HELEN, when I visit my relatives in the Midwest and the South, I’m not picking a home church. Jerry and I choose to worship with our relatives in their chosen churches.

How do the churches seem as far as integration where you live, Helen? Is your own church predominantly black or white–or a rich mixture?

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If “white people” want a “culturally diverse church,” all they have to do is join a black church already in progress. No need to evangelize (which really means proselyte) black people. Blacks are already more churched than whites. No need to offer doctrines that are not as relevant to their lives as the ones they already have.

If you want “color” in a southern church, go where the “color” is. Blacks have had to integrate lunch counters, theaters, buses, schools. . . . Why don’t white people integrate churches? Join a black church, that is, a church with black pastors, elders, deacons, Sunday School teachers, etc. That’s the way to see “color.” Nothing to do with “black evangelism” and pretending whites have something black churches don’t. Don’t cry, “They’re prejudiced too,” move: Maybe black people are tired of doing all the integrating.

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Well, I wasn’t going to respond because I don’t want to seem prejudice. I am not. Some of my very best friends are black.
However, I do live in the south. Just as south as you can probably get – Mississippi.
We have a great church and we have blacks. But, only about 10%. We go out and invite people to church and it does not matter the color. But find very often, that African Americans make the remark that they don’t want to come to our church because “it is a white church”. So, who is being prejudice? Here in the south, it is a two way street.

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These kids in Georgia did a great thing. I also applaud them.

Odd that it took so long. I went to a high school that was one of the last to be integrated in that state. Nevertheless, there were was one prom for everybody.

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Here you go, Helen, an explanation of Black Evangelism from our Home Missions Department.

“The Black Evangelism Ministry’s purpose is to serve the constituency and their communities within North America. This ministry program helps train men and women to reach Black and African American people. Home Missions also assists at the national and district levels, providing instructional materials and programs on evangelism.

As a people on the cutting edge of evangelism, we must possess great insight on how to reach people of all races, cultures and backgrounds.

Black Evangelism Ministry endeavors to promote the concept of church diversity and multiculturalism by providing powerful and anointed motivation and practical instruction on topics including:

Creating Diverse Congregations
Discover how to effectively and strategically tear down the walls of your ministry to allow your church and congregation the opportunity to evangelize cultures outside of your everyday norm.

Evangelistic Challenges
What makes Evangelism such a challenge? We explore the challenges that most churches face in evangelizing this now “high speed” society and what we must do to get them and keep them.

Understanding the Culture
The urban culture as we once knew it no longer exists. Learn how our present day culture has changed and why it is important that churches today become familiar with the urban movement.

Empowering Young Leaders
Black Evangelism Ministry allows young ministers the opportunity to receive training and resources designed to help launch them into prosperous and fulfilling ministries.

The African American community has experienced significant progression in the areas of economics, cultural awareness and educational growth. However, there still remains a need for salvation and truth. It is our vision and hope that leaders will be empowered and impassioned to effectively evangelize, mentor, and plant churches in our urban communities.

Black Evangelism Ministry serves under the General Home Missions Division of the United Pentecostal Church International.”

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The subject of not having multi-cultures in a church is one that can make me really sore. I, for one, do not like the idea of “black evangelism.” If they want to have multi-cultural ministries, so be it. But don’t divide because of color. Churches should have all races and only segregate for the purpose of a language barrier. If they speak English, then they are welcome at out church. In fact, if they don’t speak English, we will do our best to find a translator. We do have a Spanish church and their entire service is conducted in Spanish. This serves them better because they don’t have to wait for translation. Like you, I have felt out-of-place when attending a church in the south that is all white. My comfort zone includes color.

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Helen-

I have mentioned to Christians who live in towns whose populations are predominantly black, but who have no–or extremely few–black people in their congregations, that I find this strange. On more than one occasion, they have seemed kind of surprised that I would expect to find black people in their churches.

After all, they have their own church across town, you know.

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Shirley, Pentecostal churches in the south are often integrated. But the reason this works is that they don’t take political (civil rights) stands. They are either apolitical or conservative (read, are okay with the status quo). Other churches are mostly segregated.

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Rochelle, I know I would have a difficult time living in the south just because of such attitudes. I have been astonished to go into towns where the majority of the inhabitants were black, and finding NONE in the church I visited. It’s awful.

It is my observation that there is much less prejudice in the West, although to some degree it exists everywhere.

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I wish it were not true, but I agree, racism is still strong in our country. It’s better, I know… but it doesn’t take much to hurt someone. When my daughter was about 4, we were at a children’s consignment store, and Keilani was playing in the little play area. Another little girl, about the same age, looked at my dark skinned Polynesian daughter and said, “You aren’t allowed in. Only white people can come in here.” I was furious, not at the child, but at the parents that taught the child. I wish this were the only incident I have dealt with, but I have many many more. However, I know that it is much better than it used be, and for that I am thankful.

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Good morning, Helen-

It’s preferable to have parents who train their children properly, but in the absence of that, it is extremely hopeful that our young people are able to see errors and shortcomings in our world and do their part to correct these.

“It’s been a dream of all of ours,” Senior Class President James Hall said.

As I did in a conference I attended last week, I often say to young people: “We’re depending on you–you who are following us–you who are the church (the world-the schools) that will be functioning after I am gone.”

Such fine young people have my admiration and full support.

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Shirley, I’ve been saying this all along: Racism is alive and well in the US. That said, I think this is an exception to the rule; i.e., I think most schools now have integrated proms. Just how many people attend them is a different matter. And while we should applaud these young people, why weren’t their parents doing the leading? Well, it’s because racism is alive and well in the US.

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