LOOKING UNTO JESUS CHRIST
the auther and finisher of our faith
During Black History Month, the accomplishments of African Americans are highlighted to remind each generation of every ethnicity of our history and our struggle in America; Black history is American History. The truth of our history begins with His-story, Jesus Christ, the true standard of excellence. Jesus teaches us how to endure hardship. Excellence will never be achieved without sacrifice and hard work.
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” (Hebrews 12:2-3)
As we leave our mark on history, let us be intentional in walking in excellence by looking unto Jesus and following His example. Let us build on the foundation that has been laid through maximizing and strengthening what we have through Excellence of Ministry®.
We are blessed with what we have. Let’s make the most of it as we glorify God, edify the body and minister reconciliation to the lost.
SUPREME COURT DECISIONS
IN BLACK HISTORY
- Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857): Dred Scott, a slave in Missouri, sued for his freedom on the grounds that he had lived for a time in a “free” territory. The Court ruled against him. Decreed a slave was his master’s property and African Americans were not citizens.
Plessy v. Ferguson (1896): Court upheld a Louisiana law requiring restaurants, hotels, hospitals, and other public places to serve African Americans in separate, but supposedly equal, accommodations – the famous “separate but equal” segregation policy.
Brown v. Board of Education (1954): Court ruled unanimously that “…in the field of public education the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.”
1956: The Supreme Court, confirmed segregation of the Montgomery bus system illegal, giving a major victory to Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., and the thousands of anonymous African Americans who had sustained the bus boycott in the face of violence and intimidation.
Heart of Atlanta Motel, Inc. v. United States (1964): This case challenged the constitutionality of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The court ruled that the motel had no right “to select its guests as it sees fit, free from governmental regulation.”
Loving v. Virginia (1967): This decision ruled that the prohibition on interracial marriage was unconstitutional. Sixteen states that still banned interracial marriage at the time were forced to revise their laws.
Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action (2014): The Court upheld Michigan’s state constitutional amendment prohibiting state universities from considering race as part of its admissions process.
HISTORY OF JUNTEENTH
Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation – which had become official January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.
Later attempts to explain this two and a half year delay in the receipt of this important news have yielded the following versions handed down through the years: news was deliberately withheld from slaves to maintain the labor force on the plantations; federal troops actually waited for the slave owners to reap the benefits of one last cotton harvest before going to Texas to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation. Neither of these version could be true. Certainly, for some, President Lincoln’s authority over the rebellious states was in question. For whatever the reasons, conditions in Texas remained status quo well beyond what was statutory.
General Order Number 3
One of General Granger’s first orders of business was to read to the people of Texas, General Order Number 3 which began most significantly with:
“The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves,
and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and free laborer.”
The reactions to this profound news ranged from pure shock to immediate jubilation. Even with nowhere to go, many felt that leaving the plantation would be their first grasp of freedom. North was a logical destination and for many it represented true freedom, while the desire to reach family members in neighboring states drove some into Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Out of these memories, the celebration of June 19th was coined “Juneteenth” and grew with more participation from descendants. The Juneteenth celebration was a time for reassuring each other, for praying and for gathering remaining family members. Juneteenth continued to be highly revered in Texas decades later, with many former slaves and descendants making an annual pilgrimage back to Galveston on this date.
Classroom text books proclaimed Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863 as the date signaling the ending of slavery – and stated little or nothing on the impact of General Granger’s arrival on June 19th.
On January 1, 1980, Juneteenth became an official state holiday through the efforts of Al Edwards, an African American state legislator. The successful passage of this bill marked Juneteenth as the first emancipation celebration granted official state recognition. Edwards has since actively sought to spread the observance of Juneteenth all across America.
Today, Juneteenth is enjoying a phenomenal growth rate within communities and organizations throughout the country. Institutions such as the Smithsonian, the Henry Ford Museum and others have begun sponsoring Juneteenth-centered activities. Juneteenth’s mission is to promote and cultivate knowledge and appreciation of African American history and culture.
Dr. Charles R. Drew
Father of Blood Bank
Dr. Charles Richard Drew was a physician, researcher, and surgeon. He developed a method for storing blood in plasma form; the technique, which is still in use today, has saved untold numbers of lives. He organized the first large scale blood bank in the U.S. In 1939, Dr. Drew met Minnie Lenore Robbins a home econo mics professor at Spelman College. They would marry later in 1939 and would go on to have three daughters and one son.
After attending Amherst College in Massachusetts, where he was an All-American football player, he taught biology for a time at Morgan College in Baltimore, Maryland. With the money he saved, he entered McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and earned his medical degree. In 1935, he joined the faculty of Howard University in Washington, DC where he taught pathology. He left Howard for Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, New York. His dissertation for his Ph.D. at Columbia focused on a method of storing blood as plasma-that is, without red and white blood cells. He supervised the blood-plasma division of New York’s Blood Transfusion Association, and was named director of the blood bank for the National Research Council in 1941. In that position, he was responsible for the armed forces’ blood supply during World War II. Dismayed by the government policy of segregating the blood supply based on a donor’s race, Drew chose to resign and returned to Howard University to serve as chief surgeon at Freedman’s Hospital. In 1944, he was promoted to chief of staff and medical director. He died in an automobile accident on the way to a medical conference in 1950. He was honored on a 35-cent United States postage stamp by the United States Postal Service in their 1980 to 1985 “Great Americans” series.
Dr. James E. West
Electret Microphone Inventor
Dr. James E. West was born in Born in Farmville, Virginia. As a child, he was intrigued by how things worked and enjoyed taking apart appliances. “If I had a screwdriver and a pair of pliers, anything that could be opened was in danger,” West would later recollect. “I had this need to know what was inside.” After an accident with a radio he had tinkered with, West became enthralled with the concept of electricity. West’s interest in electricity resulted from his work with his cousin to put electrical wiring into homes in rural Virginia when he was twelve years old.
In 1953, West attended Temple University in Philadelphia and worked during the summers as an intern for the Acoustics Research Department at Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey. He received a bachelor’s degree in physics in 1957, and was hired for a full-time position as an acoustical scientist by Bell.
During the second year of his doctorate program, West and a colleague, Gerhard Sessler, constructed a small microphone that did not require the use of a battery. This electret microphone replaced the carbon microphone and revolutionized communications technology. West’s invention was used in such devices as hearing aids and space technology. Even in 2011, 90% of microphone technology had its foundation in West’s development of the electret microphone. In addition to his research, West co-founded the Association of Black Laboratories Employees (ABLE) at Bell Labs in 1970. West retired from Lucent Technologies as a Bell Laboratories Fellow in 2001. He has continued to do research, joining the Whiting School of Engineering at Johns Hopkins University in 2002.