Memorials of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in African American History – Intercession For A Generation Blog

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I’m a firm believer that God leaves memorials throughout history in the form of people to point to him and his goodness. God did this within African American history. Although, God did not ordain the sinful acts against African Americans; he worked within the framework of things that happened to help African Americans experience freedom creating a memorial for generations to come reminding us that he loves us and is with us.

God spoke to Joshua sharing that he needed to take 12 men from the tribes of Israel. Each man would need to carry a stone to create a memorial forever (Joshua 12:2-7.) This memorial was to be reflective of a similar miracle God had done previously through Moses when he split the Red Sea. Well, at this point, Moses was dead.

God was revealing himself to Joshua in similar ways he’d revealed himself to Moses. God had caused the Jordan river to be dried up for the children of Israel to pass over it (Joshua 3:12-17.) This was to be a memorial to the next generations to come. This memorial was to remind each generation that God would be with them and for them as he’d been with Moses, Joshua, and so on.

Likewise, we have similar memorials of God being with us within African American history. Africans who tell stories to preserve our history and culture are called Griots in parts of Africa. This is reflective of what the Israelites had as they passed down the stories of deliverance out of Egypt to their children. These memorials reflect the gospel of Jesus Christ and they remind us that God isn’t a partial God that excludes us, but he is also for us.

I recall this when I read books from our ancestors who trusted in Christ to challenge racially biased systems that were set up to oppress us. It is through many who followed Christ that many of the biased laws in this country have been changed into a position of justice for all, not just some.

Ida B. Wells shared in the prayer below comparing her journey to that of the children of Israel. She’d experienced a ruling in her favor regarding a racial incident on a train that had been overturned by the Supreme Court of Tennessee:

“O God, is there no redress, no peace, no justice in this land for us? Thou has always fought the battles of the weak and oppressed. Come to my aid at this moment and teach me what to do, for I am sorely, bitterly disappointed. Show us the way, even as thou led the children of Israel out of bondage into the promised land.”

Ida’s prayer and her very life along with the lives of many within African American history serve as memorials to us. We are the future generations that are refreshed to see that as God stood with them, he will also stand with us. This is particularly important for many of us within the Black community. When a single woman like myself logs on to a dating app or meets Black men in person who shows interest in me. And he shares that he is spiritual, but not religious—meaning that he doesn’t acknowledge Christ as his savior—my heart is grieved.

Why? Because there is damage that is done when African-Americans do not know their history and culture for themselves. Or, when African-Americans misunderstand their history and culture to be limited by what they currently see. A lot of what we see today is the result of what happened years before we got here.

There have always been challenges, but things have gotten better and will continue to get better due to the work of those who have come before us. Ida B. Wells was very well known for her writings, campaigns, and speaking to bring mass attention to lynchings that took place against African-Americans mostly males.

She noted that there was no due process, but these things were carried out by angry mobs. Without her work, those in the southern states of America would still be afraid that they could be killed without the due process of law simply for being a successful Black business owner.

Ida noted that Lynching’s in the south were a form of domestic terrorism to discourage success among Black business owners. This ministry of fighting against lynching had begun after a friend of Ida’s, a Black store owner in the community of Tennessee, had been lynched for defending his store. There had been White agitators who were stealing out of his store and harassing him. The law would not protect the store saying it was out of the jurisdiction.

Thus, permission was given to the store owner to defend his store by local authorities. The store owner, Thomas Moss, was later killed by an angry mob and Ida shared this story and others among many crusading people of all backgrounds against the evil terror of lynching.

Her persistent spirit in the face of terror to champion the cause of loving her neighbor while fighting the evil of lynching is a testament to the strength she had from her faith in Christ. Because of her obedience to what God placed on her heart to do many were saved from the unfair death of lynching. We can walk the streets of Memphis today without the fear of an angry mob terrorizing our young men.

Booker T. Washington shared how many Afro-Americans just wanted to learn to read the Bible for themselves after slavery had ended. Ida’s parent’s focused on the same thing learning to read the Bible for themselves. There was a hunger to know what God said for one’s self instead of only taking the word of the former slave masters, who taught that slavery was Biblically appropriate.

This is one of the falsehoods that was proven wrong when our people became armed with the knowledge of how to read for themselves. We could rest in the fact that while slavery always existed in various societies; it was never something that God said should exist. Thus, the narrative that God ordained slavery or that Christianity is a White man’s religion is false. These things should not be passed down within African American history.

God never degraded a group of people above or below another. Those ideas came from greedy Americans, who wanted to build a business that would make them rich without having to pay for labor. That’s how slavery among Afro-Americans came into existence in America not because God ordained it.

This truth gave our ancestors a new sense of pride and acceptance by God and acceptance of themselves. One of my favorite ancestors to read about is Sojourner Truth who named herself changed her name to Sojourner Truth after becoming free from slavery. Like many, she sought to explore her new identity and to take advantage of her newfound freedom.

She clung tightly to her relationship with Christ passed down from her parents. Her mom would encourage her when her siblings were sold away from the family on the plantation by sharing, “your brothers and sisters may not be here with you, but they are under God’s same blue sky.”

Sojourner shares in her biography an interesting story of how God sent an angel to help her to get her 6-year-old son back after he was sold to another state that required Afro-Americans to be enslaved for life. Sojourner had been a slave in New York where slavery was eventually outlawed once a slave made a certain age.

Like our ancestors, we need to read the Bible for ourselves and seek to have a personal intimate relationship with God for ourselves. If we do not learn history or God’s word for ourselves we become left to the mercy of what others tell us rather right or wrong.

Our ancestors humbled themselves before the Lord in having their own intimate relationship with God through Jesus Christ. If we do not get an understanding for ourselves, we may believe some of the negative innuendos taught in media and culture that brand Afro-Americans in many aspects as lazy, unemployed, and immoral people.

When we look around in certain impoverished communities if we do not know our history of how things became the way they are we may be tempted to believe the media as true. There is an old doll study that has shown that African American children have psychologically picked up the idea that Black is bad and White is good.

The gospel is salvation for all men who believe not just Black men, White men, Jewish men, or whatever our background. The gospel of Jesus Christ and salvation is for all men. Studying and sharing the stories of those within African American history who came before us, who trusted in Christ, has become a memorial to me that reminds me I am on the right path and God is with me as he has been with my ancestors.

This content is published by Russelyn Williams of Intercession for A Generation on more encouraging content & books on “Life & Relationship Lessons from a Biblical & Practical Perspective” please visit

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