Apartheid and Racism


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    Thank God I am black. White people will have a lot to answer for at the last judgement.
    Desmond Tutu (1931- ), Archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa


    The idea that racial or ethnic groups should be persecuted is popular in the Bible. God himself was keen on exterminating whole peoples, such as the Amalekites (1 Samuel 15:3). Believing that they had replaced the Jews as God's chosen people, Christians deduced that they were free to persecute and extirpate non-Christian peoples, and even that they were under a moral obligation to do so.

    For traditional Christians, black skin was associated with evil. The devil, his demons and sub-Saharan Africans all owed their black skin to having been cursed by God.

    When the Jews and Moors were expelled from Spain towards the end of the fifteenth century, racial legislation was passed to "purify" the blood of the upper classes. Anyone with Jewish or Moorish blood was suspect and penalised. Under statutes of limpieza de sangre, the descendants of Jews and Moors, even though they were Christians, were debarred from universities, religious orders, military orders and public office. In theory anyone who had any Jewish or Moorish ancestor, however remote, was of "impure blood" and suffered accordingly. Such people were second class citizens. Moreover they were second class citizens for racial, not religious, reasons. There was no question about it: according to the rules even the most devout Christian should be punished for having even a single distant ancestor of the wrong race.

    The earliest known case judging Limpieza de Sangre comes from the Church of Cordoba. It explained the procedure to judge the purity of blood of a candidate as follows:

    Kneeling, with his right hand placed over the image of a crucifix on a Bible, the candidate confirmed not being of either Jewish or Moorish extraction. Then the candidate provided the names of the parents and grandparents, as well as places of birth. Two delegates of the council, church or other public place would then research the information to make sure it was truthful. If the investigation had to be carried out of Cordoba, a person, not necessarily a member of the council, would be appointed to examine the witnesses appointed by the candidate. This researcher would receive a sum per diem according to the rank of the person, the distance traveled and the time spent. Having collected all the reports, the secretary or the notary must read them all to the council and a vote would decide whether the candidate was approved. A simple majority was sufficient, after which the candidate had to promise to obey all the laws and customs of the Church.
    Sicroff, Albert A.. Los estatutos de Limpieza de Sangre. p. 121.

    This idea was endorsed and promoted by the Roman Catholic Church. Limpieza de sangre rules were set out and enforced by priests and bishops, monks and abbots. In 1496, Pope Alexander VI approved a purity statute for the Hieronymite Order, an enclosed religious Order. Other statutes regulated other religious Orders, the priesthood, Christian guilds, schools, and military and government offices.

    Tests of limpieza de sangre began to lose their utility by the 19th century, but in certain religious contexts they continued. An edict of 8 March 1804 by King Ferdinand VII resolved that no knight of the Military Orders could wed without having a council vouch for the limpieza de sangre of his prospective spouse. In some places second class citizens were obliged to intermarry well into the nineteenth century because ecclesiastical authorities refused licences for "mixed marriages". Candidate for the priesthood still had to show purity of blood going back four generations.

    Limpieza de sangre entry requirements for the Spanish Army and Navy were abolished in 1865, In November the same year, a decree allowed children for whom ancestry could not be verified, to enter religious establishments of higher education. In 1870 a decree suppressed all use of blood purity standards in determining eligibility for any government position or licensed profession. Less formalised discrimination was still present well into the 20th century. In Majorca for example, xuetas, people descended from conversos and who would have failed the blood purity tests were still considered second class. No xueta priest was allowed to say Mass in a cathedral until the 1960s.


    The Cagots

    The Cagots provide an insight into Christian discrimination, apartheid, and persecution because they were ordinary Catholics persecuted by Catholics*. Cagots were perfectly orthodox. No hint of heresy attached to them. They lived ordinary lives as far as they were allowed to and spoke the local language of where they lived. Their origins are unknown and as far as we know they were persecuted for no better reason that it was traditional to persecute them.

    The Cagots of France were one of the groups persecuted by Christians for centuries, but now almost forgotten. Evidence of the Cagots exists back as far as AD 1000, though their origins are lost to history. In western France and northern Spain they were regarded as an inferior caste of humans, even sub-humans. In medieval times Cagots are recorded by different names such as Gahets, and Gafets in Gascony; Agotes, Agotac, and Gafos in the Basque country; Capots in Anjou and Languedoc; and Cacons, Cahets, Caqueux, and Caquins in Brittany.

    These Cagots were a race of pariahs, 'pestiferous people', repressed for a thousand years as untouchables. Their history is obscure. Today hardly anyone will talk about it. Surviving Cagots are ashamed of their untouchable past. The French are ashamed of what they and their Church did.

    The Cagots were not a religious group, nor apparently an ethnic group. They spoke the same language as the people in their area and generally kept the same religion as well, generally Roman Catholicism, but in some places after the Reformation, Protestantism. Their only distinguishing feature was their descent from families identified as Cagot.

    Cagots were supposed to have strange heads, webbed feet and misshapen ears. ‘Cagot ear’ is a medical term used today for ears without earlobes.

    The Roman Catholic Church was foremost in the persecution of Cagots, even though the Cagots themselves were Roman Catholics. In churches they were obliged to use their own water fonts, not the normal font reserved for “clean” Catholics. In the 18th century a wealthy Cagot in the Landes region was caught using the font reserved for "clean" Catholics. His hand was chopped off and nailed to the church door*.

    Cagots sat in their own segregated pews. When the priest gave communion he would throw the blessed host to them as though they were dogs. Some kinder priests used a long wooden spoon, still avoiding the touch of the outcasts. It was a crime for Cagots to drink from the same communion cup as non-Cagots during the periods when wine was permitted to the laity. They also had their own church doors. These doors were usually built so low that Cagots were forced to stoop as they entered, giving a visible sign of their subservient status. At least 60 Pyrenean churches still have Cagot entrances.

    Attempts to stop the discrimination and cruelty had no effect, and were ignored by local authorities and church authorities alike*. Cagots were excluded from all political and social rights. They were forced to be, as the bible put it, “drawers of water and hewers of wood”. (The same biblical verse was used elsewhere in the world by Christians to justify slavery). They were restricted to certain trades: carpentry, butchery, and rope-making – curiously reminiscent of the restricted trades of Indian Untouchables. They made coffins for the dead. They also became roofers and expert woodworkers who built many of the Pyrenean churches from which they were themselves partly excluded. Their geographical spread is probably linked to the St James of Compostella pilgrim routes where their building services would be most needed.

    They seem to have been allowed certain restricted land, but penalties were severe if they ever presumed to farm land outside of their limits. A Cagot who dared to farm the fields outside of these limits had his feet pierced with hot iron spikes. Other limitations were also strictly enforced. Some offenders were burned at the stake for failing to obey the apartheid laws. At Lourdes, any Cagot who broke the rules had two strips of flesh, each weighing two ounces, torn from sides of his spine.

    Apartheid continued even after death. Cagots were buried in their own distinct cemeteries on the northern side of the church (there is still one in Bentayou-Sérée a village north of Pau near the Spanish border).

    Cagots were charged with the usual range of accusations levelled by the Church against those it did not like. Cagots were mentally defective, they were physically deformed, they were diseased, they were sexually rapacious, they were criminals and they were cannibals. Some said they were bisexual. Some that they had magical powers. They were said to emit enough body heat to shrivel an apple merely by holding it. Some claimed said that Cagot veins ran with green blood and that this blood which oozed from their navels on Good Friday. (We know from a few genuine medical investigations that Cagots were in fact perfectly normal).

    They were obliged to live in poor unhealthy areas segregated from everyone else, just as elsewhere the Church forced Jews to live in ghettos. Cagot ghettoes were known as Cagoteries. Traces of them can still be found in Pyrenean villages (good examples are Campan and Hagetmau).

    Like Jews, Cathars and heretics they were forced to wear identifying yellow badges Gagots were obliged to wear a yellow or red goose's or duck’s foot conspicuously pinned to their clothes - symbolising their own supposedly webbed toes. They were sometimes called canards from their duck’s-foot badges. This ancient practice of forcing minorities to wear identifying coloured badges was, like many other Christian practices, later consciously copied by the Nazis. By copying Church practices they successfully claimed to be following a respectable Christian tradition.

    Cagots were permitted to marry only other Cagots. Marriage between Cagots and clean Catholics was unthinkable, and there are songs surviving from the 16th and 17th centuries lamenting tragic misalliances.

    When Cagots came into a town they had to warn of their presence by shaking a rattle, just as lepers warned of their arrival by ringing a bell. So pestilential was their touch that it was a crime for them to walk barefoot, which gave credence to the fable that they had webbed toes. They were not allowed to touch the parapets of bridges. They were allowed to enter markets on certain days, usually Mondays, so that others would know when to stay indoors to avoid being polluted. If they risked the wrong day to go to market they could be brutally punished, beaten and flogged back to their ghettoes.

    They were not allowed to walk in the middle of the street. If they encountered a normal clean person, they had to shrink to the side of the road, and stand quiet and silent in the gutters. They were forbidden to carrying knives or other weapons and were obliged to wear hoods to hide their faces. Eating or bathing with normal “clean” Christians was forbidden. They could not even use the same baths as other people.

    During the French Revolution, the laws against Cagots were formally abandoned by the new secular government. After 1789 many emigrated to escape the hatred and abuse which persisted in the countryside. Those that remained slowly assimilated into the general populace. Francisque Michel's Histoire des races maudites (History of the Accursed Races), published in 1847 was one of the first studies of the Cagots. Michel found at least 10,000 Cagots still scattered across Gascony and Navarre, and still suffering repression nearly 70 years after apartheid and persecution had been officially banned. It seems finally to have disappeared just as the Church is loosing its last vestiges of influence in the French countryside.



    The prevailing Christian view by the end of the Middle Ages was that non-Europeans were inferior creatures. The Roman Catholic Church debated for a long time whether newly discovered peoples around the world were even human. The problem was that there was no way of establishing whether or not they possessed souls. Indigenous peoples of the Americas were a particular problem because they clearly had a high culture of their own, and the Roman Catholic Church debated with itself for a long time over their exact nature.

    When a debate held in 1550 at Valladolid in Spain led to the conclusion that they might indeed be fully human, it became difficult to justify keeping them in slavery. The short-term solution was a system that was not called slavery but still amounted to slavery. The long-term solution was to import slaves bought in Africa. No one in Christendom seems to have worried about the morality of enslaving Africans.



    Anti-Semitism was also characteristically Christian. Hatred of the Jews had been fostered by the Church for centuries, and was opposed by freethinkers. Traditional Christian teachings have been anti-Semitic. Jews were persecuted for centuries by the mainstream Churches using exactly the same arguments, and drawing exactly the same conclusions, as the Nazis did later. Many anti-Semitic racist groups still flourish on a diet of Christianity*, and affirming Christian belief is a membership requirement in most of them throughout the western world.

    Click on the following link for more on Christian anti-semitism


    Racism and Colonisation

    The Anglican Church was concerned about mental capacity, and wary of trying to bring Christianity to people who might not be able to understand it. The most common view amongst Christians had been made explicit by the Barbados Assembly in 1681, when it stated of black slaves that "Savage Brutishness renders them wholly uncapable" of being converted*. Most Christian slave owners had no doubt that the Assembly was right. There was however a lively debate, mainly among senior Anglicans, about the theological justification for converting slaves. It was commonly held that any drive towards conversion should be tailored towards their greatly inferior mental capacities. Fed an appropriate diet of quiescent theology, blacks could, it was claimed, become perfect slaves: compliant, accommodating and socially calm. But this view was not universal amongst the slave masters, and few slaves were converted*. One problem with converting slaves was the danger that some of them might win a place among the elect. As one slave owner asked "Is it possible that any of my slaves could go to Heaven, and must I see them there?"*.

    A popular African complaint, attributed variously to
    Jomo Kenyatta, President of Kenya, and to Archbishop Desmond Tutu;


    “When the Missionaries arrived, the Africans had the land and the Missionaries had the Bible. They taught how to pray with our eyes closed. When we opened them, they had the land and we had the Bible.”

    One reason why Christianity found it so difficult to make voluntary converts around the world was that it was so difficult for locals to become priests. They were usually denied the right to learn Latin or read the Bible, and therefore could not hope for a career in the Church. The few who did could not hope to become bishops, largely because European priests were not prepared to serve under them. Such racism limited the spread of Christianity in many places, but most notably in India.

    In Africa the Churches changed their approaches in the twentieth century. East Africa saw its first black Roman Catholic bishop in 1939, and its first black Anglican bishop in 1947.

    The belief of European Christians that other races were inferior led to colonisation and large-scale abuse. The extirpation of native peoples in the Americas, Australasia, and elsewhere was of little consequence since these peoples were only pagans and might not even possess souls. They were slaves by nature. God had made them like that. Christian scholars and pseudo-scientists concurred. Sample non-Christians were kept in Western zoos in the nineteenth century. There was an Australian aborigine in London Zoo. A Congolese pygmy named Ota Benga shared a cage with an orang-utan in the Bronx Zoo as late as 1906*.

    Ota Benga photographed while still an exhibit in Bronx Zoo

    Colonisation by European powers was seen as a God-given opportunity for spreading the gospel to the heathen. It was a Christian duty, even when it led to the deaths of millions. God encouraged colonisation. He showed the way. He spoke to churchmen. He cleared the path for colonialists. His Churches were keen to convert or replace native heathen populations. Both Roman Catholic and Protestant Churches encouraged colonialism. Typically, in Africa, missionaries would advance into new territories. Sooner or later they would sow discord, encouraging rebellion against unsympathetic local rulers. When bloodshed followed, the Churches would appeal to European governments to intervene, and another territory would be annexed. This process seems to have accounted for more than half of the European colonies in Africa. As one historian puts it:

    ... by the middle of the twentieth century, an era marked by civil rights movements, anti-colonialism, and growing secularization, missionaries were viewed quite differently. Instead of godly martyrs, historians now described missionaries as arrogant and rapacious imperialists. Christianity became not a saving grace but a monolithic and aggressive force that missionaries imposed upon defiant natives. Indeed, missionaries were now understood as important agents in the ever-expanding nation-state, or “ideological shock troops for colonial invasion whose zealotry blinded them."*

    Churches were often guilty of complicity in massacres and atrocities resulting from colonial policy. For example King Leopold was granted control of the Congo in 1885 explicitly to bring Christianity to the benighted heathen. The atrocities perpetrated by his government in the Belgian Congo — the extensive use of slave labour and assorted murderous practices — were first concealed then minimised by the Roman Church. (The family of Ota Benga mentioned above had been massacred by Leopold's Christian forces)

    Christian era Belgian Congo
    Chidren had their hands cut off if they failed to work hard enough for their Catholic masters
    Yoka (standing) had his right hand cut off. Mola (seated) lost both hands to gangrene after they were bound so tightly as to cut off the blood supply.
    Equateur, Congo Free State, circa 1905.




    The truth about the Congo was published and international opinion mobilised by nineteenth century freethinkers. Indeed, almost the only criticism of colonisation and its evils came from freethinkers. The most notable critics were Thomas Paine in the eighteenth century and George Holyoake in the nineteenth, but their views were generally regarded as wicked, sinful and contrary to God's will. Colonisation was regarded by almost all Christians as wholly good, divinely sanctioned and necessary, well into the twentieth century. European children were removed from their mothers and sent out to the colonies to help stock these new lands. The children of single mothers in Britain, for example, were often entrusted to Church charities that informed the children they were orphans and sent them to Canada, Australia, New Zealand and other colonies. As the Archbishop of Perth pointed out in 1938 "If we do not supply from our own stock, we are leaving ourselves all the more exposed to the menace of the teeming millions of our neighbouring Asian races"*.

    The penitential garb associated with the Christian persecution of
    Jews, Moslems, heretics and atheists in Spain, is still in popular use.

    Long after public opinion had forced Christians to abandon the practice of slavery, the prevailing orthodoxy was that non-whites were inferior spiritually, morally, and mentally. Once again the Bible was cited as proof. A favourite prooftext was "Let them live; but let them be hewers of wood and drawers of water.... " (Joshua 9:21). All Churches maintained systems of racial discrimination and sustained them well into the twentieth century, including segregated churches and church schools. Racial segregation was opposed largely by atheist intellectuals and other freethinkers. It was not bishops or clergymen but unbelievers like Bertrand Russell who spread the idea that all should be treated equally.


    The Philippine-American War (1899-1902) was inspired by God, who mentioned His idea to President Wilson. This is a cartoon on the front page of the New York Evening Journal on 5 May 1902, reporting the order of General Jacob H. Smith to kill Filipinos over ten years old - an cartoon that resulted in an investigation and the General's court martial.


    Black Africans.

    Buying and selling existing slaves was always perfectly acceptable to Christians, since the Bible specifically permitted it, and set out a number of rules to regulate it. Christians had a few theoretical rules about slavery, for example Christians should not in theory have enslaved other Christians unless they were prisoners taken in battle. In practice these rules were highly flexible, and the Church itself frequently condemned people to slavery. There was no question about the bible's support for slavery, but when widespread slavery became rare during the Enlightenment, it now became necessary to justify specifically Black Slavery. Fortunately there were some convenient ancient Christian traditions.

    The first justification came from a biblical character called Phinehas. The biblical Phineas executed an Israelite man and a Midianite woman while they were together in the man's tent, running a spear or lance through the man and the belly of the woman. This double killing ended a plague sent by God to punish the Israelites for sexually intermingling with the Midianites, engaging in idolatrous practices brought in by Midianite women, and stopping the desecration of God's sanctuary. For his actions Phineas is commemorated as a saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church on September 2. Phinehas, was cited by the promoters of laws banning interracial marriages, and his name was used by Christian Identity groups, such as the Phineas Priesthood.

    A second justification came from another biblical character, Ham, one of the sons of Noah. Ham committed some unspeakable sexual crime against his father Noah (Gen. 9:20-27). For this crime Noah cursed Ham's son Canaan. The narrative was interpreted by Jews, Christians and Muslims as an explanation for Canaan and his descendants being inferior beings, having black skin, and being suited to lives of slavery. The Curse of Ham was frequently cited as the biblical justification for imposing eternal slavery upon black people, and black people alone.

    Christians argued the theological point whether negros were descended from Ham,
    but even if they weren't, a negro was still a beast
    "created witharticulate speach and hands, that he may be of service to his master - the White man"

    The biblical explanation that black Africans, as the "sons of Ham", were cursed, possibly "blackened" by their sins, was cited during the Middle Ages. It became increasingly common during the Christian slave trade of the 18th and 19th centuries. It was still a popular idea after the end of slavery in the west, and some denominations retained the idea well into secular times. Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints taught that Black Africans were under the Curse of Ham. For this reason, Brigham Young held that Black people were banned from the Priesthood. In 1978 then president of the Church, Spencer W. Kimball, said he received a revelation that extended the Priesthood to all worthy male members of the Church.

    A third justification came from the biblical story of Cain and Abel, where Cain is marked in some way for his crime. Early Christianity associated the Mark of Cain with black skin, explicit references surviving in many early texts, including Syriac and Armenian Christianity. The idea persisted through the Middle Ages and was used by Christian supporters of slavery..


    Africans in North America and the Caribbean.

    The premise behind chattel slavery in North America had been the traditional biblical one that slaves, like women and children, were property. As such they had few, if any, legal rights.

    Slave Advertisement, Charleston, South Carolina, 1780s
    Slaves were regarded like livestock - healthy specimens commanded higher prices.

    Slave codes were effective tools against slave discontent, particularly uprisings and runaways. Enforcement of slave codes varied, but corporal punishment was widely and harshly employed. The original U.S. constitution discriminated against blacks. In 1776, seven out of the Thirteen Colonies that declared their independence enforced laws against interracial marriage. Both Northern and Southern states had passed further discriminatory legislation from the early 19th century.

    As the abolitionist movement gained force, concern about blacks heightened among some whites in the North. The 1848 Constitution of Illinois led to one of the harshest Black Code systems in the nation until the Civil War. Indiana's 1851 Constitution stated "No Negro or Mulatto shall come into, or settle in, the State, after the adoption of this Constitution." The Illinois Black Code of 1853 extended a complete prohibition against black immigration into the state.

    Some American states had passed anti-miscegenation laws, banning the marriage of whites to blacks ("negros"), in the 18th Century these laws were justified by reference to the Bible, particularly of the stories of Phinehas and of the "Curse of Ham". In the nineteenth century all slave states passed anti-miscegenation laws laws, as did new free states, including Indiana, Illinois and Michigan, using the same biblical justifications. Some states continued to pass such laws well into the 20th century,

    Christian era America - Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967) was a landmark civil rights decision of the United States Supreme Court which invalidated laws prohibiting interracial marriage. The case was brought by Mildred Loving, a black woman, and Richard Loving, a white man, who had been sentenced to a year in prison in Virginia for marrying each other. Their marriage violated the state's anti-miscegenation statute, the Racial Integrity Act of 1924, which prohibited marriage between people classified as "white" and people classified as "colored". The Supreme Court's unanimous decision held this prohibition was unconstitutional, reversing Pace v. Alabama (1883) and ending all race-based legal restrictions on marriage in the United States.

    The idea of the Mark of Cain being black skin was particularly popular in Baptist congregations in the North American colonies, especially in the South where segregation was almost universal. When a split between the Northern and Southern Baptist organizations arose over slavery and the education of slaves, the Southern Baptist used the curse of Cain as a justification for slavery. In the 19th and 20th centuries, Baptist ministers in the southern United States taught that there were two separate heavens; one for blacks, and one for whites. Baptists taught and practiced various forms of racial segregation well into the late twentieth century, based on this idea.

    African girl in a "human zoo", Belgium 1958,
    when a Congolese village was displayed at Brussels' World Fair.

    Human zoos have a long history in Christendom. The exceptionally devout Christopher Columbus brought indigenous Americans from his voyages in the New World to exhibit at the Spanish court in 1493. In the 16th century, Cardinal Hippolytus Medici possessed a collection of people of different races including a troup of so-called Barbarians, speaking over twenty languages, along with Moors, Tartars, Indians, Turks and Africans. In the 1870s, exhibitions of exotic populations became popular in various countries. Human zoos could be found in Paris, Hamburg, Antwerp, Barcelona, London, Milan, New York, and Warsaw and only gradually faded away as modern secular ideas of equality came to prevail in Protestant, then Catholic and then Orthodox countries, and the whole theory of the "Mark of Cain" became ever less acceptable.

    The term "Black Codes" is used to refer to legislation passed by Southern states at the end of the Civil War to control the labor, migration and other activities of newly-freed slaves. During 1865 all Southern states passed Black Codes preventing emancipated slaves from becoming full citizens, allowing them second-class civil rights and no voting rights. Black Codes denied blacks the rights to testify against whites, to serve on juries or in state militias, to vote, or to express legal concern publicly. Black Codes also declared that those who failed to sign yearly labour contracts could be arrested and hired out to white landowners - attempting to re-implement a diluted version of slavery. Some states limited occupations open to African Americans and barred them from acquiring land. Others provided for judges the authority to assign African American children to work for their former owners without the consent of their parents. In Texas, Black Codes were enacted in 1866. The legislature, in amending the 1856 penal code, emphasised the line between whites and blacks by defining all individuals with one-eighth or more black ancestry as persons of color, subject to special provisions in the law.

    Black Codes ceased after 1866, and were soon replaced by so-called Jim Crow laws. These were state and local laws enacted up to 1965. They mandated racial segregation in all public facilities in Southern states of the former Confederacy, with, starting in 1890, a "separate but equal" status for African Americans. The separation in practice led to conditions for African Americans that were inferior to those provided for white Americans, instituting a number of economic, educational and social disadvantages. Northern segregation was generally less formal, with segregation in housing enforced by covenants, bank lending practices, job discrimination, and segregation. Jim Crow laws required the segregation of public schools, public places, public transportation, public lavatories, restaurants, and even required separate public drinking fountains for whites and blacks. The US military was also segregated.




    In the USA where Christian values were strongest, millions of whites belonged to the Ku Klux Klan, an organisation extolled by all manner of Protestant churchmen. The Klan was then, and still is now, a powerful advocate for Christianity. The Christian cross features heavily in its activities and it has consistently campaigned for the compulsory teaching of Christianity in public schools. The Klan was so well accepted as a desirable part of Christian American life that it commonly featured in the media — both factual and fictional.

    The Rev. Thomas Dixon's novel The Clansman, for example was made into an influential film in 1915: Also known as The Birth of a Nation it is W. Griffith's famous work, which explicitly glorifies the Klan. (The film is now rarely shown, and then only with heavy cuts). In the early 1920s the Klan boasted over 4,000,000 members, every one of them a practicing Christian. Woodrow Wilson, in his History of the American People referred to the film as "great" and described it as"terribly true".

    The constitutionality of anti-miscegenation laws was upheld by the US Supreme Court in the 1883 case Pace v. Alabama (106 US 583). The Supreme Court ruled that the Alabama anti-miscegenation statute did not violate the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. According to the court, both races were treated equally, because whites and blacks were punished in equal measure for breaking the law against interracial marriage and interracial sex. Between 1913 and 1948, 30 out of the then 48 states enforced anti-miscegenation laws.

    Ku Klux Klan Wedding in Sedro Wooley Washington, 16 June,1926


    News in Philadelphia, 1867


    When Martin Luther King wrote his famous "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" in 1963 he was politely rebuking his fellow clergymen from Alabama for their failure to support even nonviolent protest against the racist enormities that were then everyday realities. The letter refers to "the Negro church" and "the white church" - a distinction that was taken for granted by all. Here are a few of his comments directed, remember, to clergymen who were his nominal allies:

    Birmingham is probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States. Its ugly record of brutality is widely known. Negroes have experienced grossly unjust treatment in the courts. There have been more unsolved bombings of Negro homes and churches in Birmingham than in any other city in the nation. These are the hard, brutal facts of the case. On the basis of these conditions, Negro leaders sought to negotiate with the city fathers. But the latter consistently refused to engage in good faith negotiation. ... At first I was rather disappointed that fellow clergymen would see my nonviolent efforts as those of an extremist.
    I have been so greatly disappointed with the white church and its leadership.
    When I was suddenly catapulted into the leadership of the bus protest in Montgomery, Alabama, a few years ago, I felt we would be supported by the white church. I felt that the white ministers, priests and rabbis of the South would be among our strongest allies. Instead, some have been outright opponents, refusing to understand the freedom movement and misrepresenting its leaders; all too many others have been more cautious than courageous and have remained silent behind the anesthetizing security of stained glass windows.
    In the midst of blatant injustices inflicted upon the Negro, I have watched white churchmen stand on the sideline and mouth pious irrelevancies and sanctimonious trivialities. In the midst of a mighty struggle to rid our nation of racial and economic injustice, I have heard many ministers say: "Those are social issues, with which the gospel has no real concern."
    In deep disappointment I have wept over the laxity of the church.
    So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church's silent - and often even vocal - sanction of things as they are.
    But again I am thankful to God that some noble souls from the ranks of organized religion have broken loose from the paralyzing chains of conformity and joined us as active partners in the struggle for freedom. They have left their secure congregations and walked the streets of Albany, Georgia, with us. They have gone down the highways of the South on tortuous rides for freedom. Yes, they have gone to jail with us. Some have been dismissed from their churches, have lost the support of their bishops and fellow ministers.

    (Click on this link to read the full text)

    Martin Luther King removing a burnt Christian cross from his garden. In the 1960's Christian white supremicists like the Ku Klux Klan often issued nocturnal warnings in the form of burning Christian crosses.


    The white Churches were slow to see that times were changing. State-sponsored school segregation had been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1954 in Brown v. Board of Education. Remaining Jim Crow laws would soon be overruled by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The ruling in Pace v. Alabama was overturned in 1967 in the case of Loving v. Virginia, where the Supreme Court declared anti-miscegenation laws a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment and therefore unconstitutional.

    Christian era America

    Segregation remained longest in the USA where Christian belief was strongest. Black people were denied education, the vote and civil rights. Segregation was the norm in health care, in church, on public transport, in places of entertainment, housing — almost every aspect of life. Various black rights groups and white liberals brought the iniquity to public attention. In the course of a few years public opinion shifted to such an extent that discrimination was made illegal. Once again the most strongly Christian states, like Alabama, fought a rearguard action in the name of God, and interracial marriage remained illegal in 19 heavily Christian states until 1967*.

    In the case that finally overturned mix-race marriage laws the supreme Court cited the trial judge, Judge Leon M. Bazilein, from the original case heard on 6 January, 1959, as follows:

    Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, Malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.*

    This was entirely in line with traditional Christian teaching — it had been upheld for decades by Christian judges without a second thought - but contrary to the minority secular humanist position.

    Governor Ross Barnett was one who believed that "God was the original segregationalist. He made the white man white and the black man black and did not intend them to mix." Dr W M Caskey, a faculty member at Mississippi College (a Baptist Christian institution) supported Barnet confirming that the Bible teaches that God was the original segregationalist. (Joseph Crespino, In Search of Another Country: Mississippi and the Conservative Counterrevolution, p 69).

    Theodore Bilbo was one of Mississippi's great Christian demagogues. Bilbo won a U.S. Senate seat campaigning against various ill doers, including skunks who steal Gideon Bibles from hotel rooms. Bilbo was also a virulent racist. "I call on every red-blooded white man to use any means to keep the niggers away from the polls," Bilbo proclaimed during his successful reelection campaign in 1946. He was a proud member of the Ku Klux Klan, telling Meet the Press that year that no man can leave the Klan. "He takes an oath not to do that. Once a Ku Klux, always a Ku Klux." During a filibuster of an anti-lynching bill, Bilbo claimed that the bill would

    ... open the floodgates of hell in the South. Raping, mobbing, lynching, race riots, and crime will be increased a thousandfold; and upon your garments and the garments of those who are responsible for the passage of the measure will be the blood of the raped and outraged daughters of Dixie, as well as the blood of the perpetrators of these crimes that the red-blooded Anglo-Saxon White Southern men will not tolerate.

    For Senator Bilbo racism was a sincerely held religious belief. In a book Take Your Choice: Separation or Mongrelization, Bilbo wrote that "[p]urity of race is a gift of God . . . . And God, in his infinite wisdom, has so ordained it that when man destroys his racial purity, it can never be redeemed." Allowing "the blood of the races [to] mix," was a direct attack on the "Divine plan of God." There "is every reason to believe that miscengenation and amalgamation are sins of man in direct defiance to the will of God." Bilbo was one of the South's most colorful racists, but hardly alone in his Christian racism. As early as 1867, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court had upheld segregated railway cars on the grounds that the natural law which forbids racial intermarriage, and that social amalgamation which leads to a corruption of races, is as clearly divine as that which imparted to the races different natures. The same rationale was later adopted by state supreme courts in Alabama, Indiana and Virginia to justify bans on interracial marriage, and by justices in Kentucky to support residential segregation and segregated colleges.

    In 1901, Georgia Governor Allen Candler defended unequal public schooling for African Americans on the grounds that "God made them negroes and we cannot by education make them white folks." After the Supreme Court ordered public schools to be integrated in the case of Brown v. Board of Education, many segregationists cited their faith as justification for official racism. Ross Barnett won Mississippi's governorship in a landslide in 1960 after affirming that "the good Lord was the original segregationist." Senator Harry Byrd of Virginia relied on passages from Genesis, Leviticus and Matthew when he spoke out against the civil rights law banning employment discrimination and whites-only lunch counters on the Senate floor.

    Some Christian sects held out for longer. Bob Jones University is a private non-denominational Protestant university in Greenville, South Carolina, known for its conservative cultural and religious positions. It excluded African Americans completely until the early 1970s. Then it began permitting black students to attend but only if they were married. In 1975, it amended this policy to permit unmarried African American students, but continued to prohibit interracial dating, interracial marriage, or even being "affiliated with any group or organization which holds as one of its goals or advocates interracial marriage." Because of this, the Internal Revenue Service revoked Bob Jones' tax-exempt status. That the IRS would no longer give tax subsidies to racist schools, even though they claimed that their racism was rooted in their religious belief, now became a rallying point for the Christian Right. According to Paul Weyrich, the conservative activist " the IRS' move against schools like Bob Jones was the single most important issue driving the birth of modern day religious conservatism. Weyrich described it as the "federal government's move against the Christian schools." When a legal case reached the Supreme Court in 1983, the Christian University argued that IRS' regulations denying tax exemptions to racist institutions "cannot constitutionally be applied to schools that engage in racial discrimination on the basis of sincerely held religious beliefs." The justices did not agree.


    Christian era America

    The Curse of Cain was used to support a ban on ordaining blacks to most Protestant clergies until the 1960s in both the US and Europe. Catholic dioceses in the Southern United States adopted a policy of not ordaining blacks to oversee, administer the Sacraments to, or accept confessions from white parishioners. This policy was justified by the perceived threat of having slaves rule over their masters.

    In 1995, the Southern Baptist Convention officially denounced racism and apologized for its earlier defense of slavery. Other Churches have made no apology for racism to anyone, though an Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr williams, raised great controvery by suggesting that missionaries in Africa had "sinned".


    This cafe, like many others in the USA, was strictly segregated - notice the signs over the two doors


    Christian racism in the USA extended to anyone of the wrong religion or of non-European appearance


    Shop owner, Kent, Washington,USA. March 2, 1944. United Press International (UPI)



    Lynching is the practice of murder by extrajudicial action. Lynchings of black men, women and children by Christians occured in the United States into the 1960s and beyond. Lynchings most frequently targeted victims in the South, with mob actions attended by an audience of hundreds or thousands. Lynchings in the latter part of the 20th century began to be secretly conducted by smaller groups.

    Henry Smith was lynched at Paris, Texas, in 1893. A large crowd followed the lynching, as was common then in the style of public executions. Henry Smith was fastened to a wooden platform, tortured for 50 minutes by red-hot iron brands, and burned alive as more than 10,000 Christian spectators cheered.

    Other victims of lynching included other racial minorities including Chinese and East Indian immigrants, Native Americans, and Mexicans. In the South before the Civil War, members of the abolitionist movement and others opposing slavery were also sometimes targets of lynching and mob violence.

    Christian era America
    Frank Embree, having been stripped and whipped, about to be lynched in Fayette, Missouri, USA, 1899.


    Lynchings often involved torture, blinding, castration and mutilation before the actual murder. Like official public executions, Lynchings provided wholesome entertainment for all the family - men, women and children. Newspapers not only advertised upcoming lynchings, but also reported on them in the same way as sporting events.

    A double lynching in the Bible Belt
    evidently occasioning a pleasant evening out for the white locals

    Participants were almost never brought to trial, and even fewer were convicted by local courts., By the late 19th century, trial juries in most of the southern United States were all white because African Americans had been disenfranchised. Even where the culprits were identified, no prosecutions were brought. In 1892, a police officer in Port Jervis, New York, tried to stop the lynching of a black man. Although at the inquest the officer identified eight people who had participated in the lynching, including the former chief of police, the jury determined that the murder had been carried out "by person or persons unknown.". A lynching in Fort Lauderdale, Florida changed the political climate in Washington. On July 19, 1935, Rubin Stacy,was taken into custody for vagrancy. While in custody, a lynch mob took Stacy from the deputies and murdered him. The faces of his murderers could be seen in a photograph taken at the lynching site, yet the state still did not prosecute them.

    The first Ku Klux Klan, a 100% Christian organisation, was founded in 1866 and became associated with insurgent violence against freedmen and their allies that included lynchings.

    A South Carolina Christian governor and senator, speaking on the floor of the U.S. Senate in 1900 said:

    We of the South have never recognized the right of the negro to govern white men, and we never will. We have never believed him to be the equal of the white man, and we will not submit to his gratifying his lust on our wives and daughters without lynching him.


    Young girl at the lynching of Rubin Stacey in Fort. Lauderdale on July 19, 1935
    As for well over a thousand years during the period of Christian dominance, public executions provided entertainment for all the family. Apart from publicly torturing the the Mentally Ill, it was pretty much the only permisable activity that provided innocent family fun as well as delivering a moral lesson.


    At the start of the 20th century in the United States, lynching was a popular subject for picture postcards. People sent postcards of lynchings they had witnessed. A writer for Time magazine noted in 2000,

    Even the Nazis did not stoop to selling souvenirs of Auschwitz, but lynching scenes became a burgeoning subdepartment of the postcard industry. By 1908, the trade had grown so large, and the practice of sending postcards featuring the victims of mob murderers had become so repugnant, that the U.S. Postmaster General banned the cards from the mails.

    Christian era America - Lynching


    Lynching photographs were printed for postcards, newspapers and event mementos. Typically these images depicted the black lynching victim and all or part of the white Christian crowd in attendance. Spectators often included women and children. Care seems to have been taken not to identify perpetrators of lynchings. Often lynchings were advertised in newspapers prior to the event in order to give photographers time to arrive early and prepare their camera equipment. After the lynching, photographers would sell their pictures as postcards, sometimes costing as much as fifty cents a piece. Church services were sometimes shortened to allow the congregation to get to the lynching in time.

    A cartoon from a Ku Klux Klan-related newsletter, The Fiery Cross,
    used as evidence in the civil trial that followed the murder of Michael Donald

    The box on the top-left reads "One God, One Country, One Flag. For Christianity and Freedom"


    In Without Sanctuary (2000), a book of lynching postcards collected by James Allen, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Leon F. Litwack wrote about the good churchgoing folk responsible for the culture of lynching.:

    "The photographs stretch our credulity, even numb our minds and senses to the full extent of the horror, but they must be examined if we are to understand how normal men and women could live with, participate in, and defend such atrocities, even reinterpret them so they would not see themselves or be perceived as less than civilized. The men and women who tortured, dismembered, and murdered in this fashion understood perfectly well what they were doing and thought of themselves as perfectly normal human beings. Few had any ethical qualms about their actions. This was not the outburst of crazed men or uncontrolled barbarians but the triumph of a belief system that defined one people as less human than another. For the men and women who composed these mobs, as for those who remained silent and indifferent or who provided scholarly or scientific explanations, this was the highest idealism in the service of their race. One has only to view the self-satisfied expressions on their faces as they posed beneath black people hanging from a rope or next to the charred remains of a Negro who had been burned to death. What is most disturbing about these scenes is the discovery that the perpetrators of the crimes were ordinary people, not so different from ourselves – merchants, farmers, laborers, machine operators, teachers, doctors, lawyers, policemen, students; they were family men and women, good churchgoing folk who came to believe that keeping black people in their place was nothing less than pest control, a way of combating an epidemic or virus that if not checked would be detrimental to the health and security of the community."

    From 1882 to 1968, "...nearly 200 anti-lynching bills were introduced in Congress, and three passed the House. Seven presidents between 1890 and 1952 petitioned Congress to pass a federal law."] No bill was approved by the Senate because of the opposition of the Southern Democratic voting bloc. Christian Southern Senators held a hammerlock on Congress. Because of the Southern Democrats' disfranchisement of African Americans in Southern states at the start of the 20th century, Southern whites for decades had nearly double the representation in Congress beyond their own population. Southern states had Congressional representation based on total population, but essentially only whites could vote and only their issues were supported. Due to seniority achieved through one-party Democratic rule in their region, Southern Democrats controlled many important committees in both houses. Southern Democrats consistently opposed any legislation related to putting lynching under Federal oversight.

    In the 1930s, virtually all Southern senators (all Christian), blocked the proposed Wagner-Costigan bill. The political climate of Christian America became even more surreal when later the FBI branded Albert Einstein a communist sympathizer, for joining Paul Robeson's American Crusade Against Lynching.

    The lynching of Laura Nelson in Okemah, Oklahoma, on 25 May, 1911

    On June 13, 2005, the U.S. Senate formally apologized for its failure to enact a federal anti-lynching law in the early 20th century, "when it was most needed." Before the vote, Louisianan senator Mary Landrieu noted, "There may be no other injustice in American history for which the Senate so uniquely bears responsibility." The resolution expressed "the deepest sympathies and most solemn regrets of the Senate to the descendants of victims of lynching, the ancestors of whom were deprived of life, human dignity and the constitutional protections accorded all citizens of the United States".

    Lynching - everyone ever convicted of lynching in the USA has been a devout Christian
    Some of them have been Christian ministers and pastors

    The records of Tuskegee Institute remain the single most complete source of statistics and records on this crime since 1882 for all states, although modern research has illuminated new incidents in studies focused on specific states in isolation. As of 1959, which was the last time that Tuskegee Institute's annual report was published, a total of 4,733 persons had died by lynching since 1882. To quote the report, A five-year study published in 2015 by the Equal Justice Initiative found that nearly 3,959 black men, women, and children were lynched in the twelve Southern states between 1877 and 1950. More than 85 percent of the estimated 5,000 lynchings in the post-Civil War period occurred in the heavily and avowedly Christian Southern states.

    Conclusions of numerous studies since the mid-20th century have found five variables affecting the rate of lynchings in the South, one of them keen competition between churches.

    "lynchings were more numerous where the African American population was relatively large, the agricultural economy was based predominantly on cotton, the white population was economically stressed, the Democratic Party was stronger, and multiple religious organizations competed for congregants."

    "religious organisations" is of course a euphemism for "Churches".


    Christian Racism in Modern Times

    It had become clear by the mid-1960s that world opinion was moving away from the traditional Christian acceptance of discrimination. In the future racist views were going to be politically and socially unacceptable. If the Churches continued to hold to traditional views they were likely to be left out on a limb. Suddenly most world Churches became aware of a new duty in the field of race relations.

    Now that the tide of battle had turned, they declared their opposition to all kinds of racism. To prove how deeply they held their new beliefs they appointed black priests and bishops, and joined in the badgering of those who stayed constant to the beliefs that they themselves had just abandoned. Ten years earlier, many had shared with Mormons the view that black people were descended from Cain. He and his descendants had been cursed by the Lord with a black skin and prohibited from the priesthood*.

    This sort of belief had been commonplace among white Christians — Roman Catholics, Protestants, Baptists and other nonconformists alike. Now it was no longer acceptable to say such things openly.

    Mormons were pressed to fall into line with the new orthodoxy. They held out for as long as they could. Then God stepped in (as he had previously done over polygamy) to announce a politically astute change of policy.

    In June 1978 the President of the Mormon Church announced a divine revelation that reversed the Church's position. Black people could now become full members of the Church.


    The Dutch Reformed Church provided theological (and biblical) justification for apartheid in Southy Africa.


    Attention next turned to the last bastion of Christian racism, South Africa. Through the 1960s the Dutch Reformed Church claimed biblical authority for the practice of apartheid, and no other Church had seriously opposed it. As Dr Verwoerd, the Prime Minister of South Africa had said "We did what God wanted us to do"*. The position had long been held by white Christians in South Africa, who also supported the Curse of Ham theory*. In the 1970s this line was no longer tenable. All other world Churches had performed a volte-face and were now aligned against their erstwhile ally. For a while the Dutch Reformed Church held out on its own against its fellow Christian denominations, still advocating the traditional Christian line. But the pressure became stronger as the chorus against it became louder. Eventually the Church gave way. By the 1980s it was assuring us that God did not approve of apartheid after all: in fact he disapproved of it. Within a generation the Church went from supporting apartheid to condemning it as "the antichrist", just as other Churches had done a few years earlier. Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches even withdrew their full-time chaplains from the South African armed forces*.

    Christian era America - Ruby Nell Bridges Hall (born September 8, 1954) in 1960 was the first black child to attend an all-white elementary school in the Southern states of the USA. She needed protection by US marshals from White Christians (including parents and teachers) who threatened to kill her.
    William Frantz Elementary School, New Orleans, Louisiana (Nov. 14th, 1960)


    Since the end of the 1960's the only remaining avowed white supremacists in the world were Christians. The hard-core of white supremacists in South Africa are still strong Christians, as are those in other countries. In the UK the only political party that required members to be Christian was the British National Party. In America, Christians with traditional views kept alive the Ku Klux Klan. The well-known cowls and robes worn by members are the traditional garb of Christian penitents and pilgrims. The Christian cross still plays an important rôle in their activities. They proudly wear the emblem on their robes, and use burning crosses to encourage a fear of God. They raise money for churches. They donate bibles to schools. They are, they say, conducting a Christian Crusade. This crusade has involved lynchings and bombings, and arson attacks on black churches. The Macedonia Baptist Church of South Carolina sued the Christian Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in 1996 after members had been arrested in connection with such arson attacks*. As the Ku Klux Klan website still says in its homepage they are “bringing a message of hope and deliverance for white Christian America!”*. In the twenty first century, Christian Klan members are still engaging in activities such as arson attacks on non-white homes, and participating in anti-immigration marches.

    Christian era America - Ku Klux Klan campaigns are not always negative;
    They have supported Christian causes since their foundation.


    In many places throughout the world whites still go to one church, and blacks to a different one on the other side of town. Christians of one colour who try to attend Christian churches of another are sent on their way, sometimes with a discreet word, sometimes with a less discreet word. This practice is largely responsible for the growth of separate white and black Churches. So it is that almost all of the 16 million members of the Southern Baptist Convention in the USA happen to be white, although there are roughly as many black Baptists in the country*. Black churchgoers usually belong to all-black denominations*, such as the National Baptist Convention in the USA. Black Roman Catholics in the USA want a distinctive black American rite and have periodically threatened to set one up, with or without backing from the Vatican*. As Martin Luther King observed, the USA is most segregated at 11am on Sunday morning [when all good Christians are in their own racially segregated churches].

    White Supremacist Christians are still active in the USA

    Effects of traditional Christian attitudes to racial matters still continue today: they cannot be obliterated in a single generation. When Ugandan born Dr John Sentanu was enthroned as Archbishop of York in 2005 he received a hail of insulting racist letters some of them smeared with excrement*. They presumably came from Anglicans, and possibly from other Christians, as non-Christians would not have reason to care. Sociological studies in Britain and the USA have demonstrated that Christians still tend to be more racially prejudiced than non-Christians. In a book comparing the results of studies concerning prejudice, the authors state that "The basic finding that church members are more prejudiced than non-members has been widely confirmed in American studies"*. According to these studies Roman Catholics were the most prejudiced major denomination in the US. Similar studies showed that Anglicans were the most prejudiced in Britain*. In another study, religious orthodoxy was found to be positively correlated with belief in racial segregation*.

    Ideas like this can easily be found on traditionalist white-supremicist Christian websites.
    According to their ideas Adam and Eve were white, and created after other races which all
    consist of soulless hominids - so they are not truly human





    More Examples

    . A Merrie Melodies animated cartoon directed by Bob Clampett, produced by Leon Schlesinger Productions, and released to theatres on January 16, 1943 by Warner Bros. Pictures and The Vitaphone Corporation. Lobby card 1942. the cartoon is one of the "Censored Eleven", a group of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons that were withheld from syndication by United Artists in 1968.


    White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WASPs) in the USA were equally horrified by their predominently Protestant country being overrun by Irish Catholics from the West on the one hand, and Chinese heathens from the East.on the other.


    From the The Dake Annotated Reference Bible - an annotated version of the Kings James'Bible.
    Notes on Acts 17:26 expand upon God's insistence that different races should be segregated. Such notes were typical in many bibles. The Dake Annotated Reference Bible (1963) was the first widely published study bible produced within the Pentecostalist community.


    Caracatures of Chinese Americans


    Jim Crow. The name "Jim Crow" has been attributed to "Jump Jim Crow", a song-and-dance caricature of blacks performed by a white actor, Thomas D. Rice, in blackface. It was used in 1832 to satirize Andrew Jackson's populist policies. "Jim Crow" soon become a pejorative expression meaning "Negro" by 1838. When southern legislatures passed laws of racial segregation directed against blacks during the 19th century, they came to be referred to as Jim Crow laws.


    Noddy Makes a Mistake


    Christian era America - Coon Chicken Inn was an American chain of restaurants founded by Maxon Lester Graham and Adelaide Burt in 1925. It featured a characature, shown below, and prospered until the late 1950s.


    Christian era America


    Christian era America


    Christian era America


    St Nicolaasfeest


    Christian era America - Circa 1920. The Texas Restaurant Association posted these signs at the entrances and exits to all restaurants in the state.


    Christian era America - Old B & O Railroad Sign For Sale


    Christian era America


    Durban, South Africa, 1960's


    Christian era America - Grand Theatre, Birmingham, Alabama, USA, 1931


    The Cape, South Africa, 1960's


    Christian era America


    Durban, South Africa, 1960's


    Christian era America - Dimmit, Texas, 1949


    "We don't want any Japs back here - EVER", ca. March 2, 1944


    Christian era America


    Christian era America - A sign in Jackson, Mississippi, photographed in 1961


    Christian era America - A redesigned museum at Ferris State University in Michigan collects old and new racist objects


    Christian era America


    Christian era America - Early Nineteenth Century Advertisements


    Christian era America - Hendlers Ice Cream Advertisement


    Christian era America - Mid Nineteenth Century American Advertisements


    Christian era America - Mid Nineteenth Century American Advertisements


    The Fall Creek Massacre was a slaughter of nine Indians of uncertain tribal origin in 1824 by white settlers in Madison County, Indiana. Seven white men participated in the crimes. Four were captured and charged with murder. All four were convicted and sentenced to death by hanging.
    It was the first documented case in which white Americans were convicted, sentenced to capital punishment, and executed for the murder of Native Americans under the law in the United States of America


    Christian era America - The Ku Klux Klan


    Christian era America - The Ku Klux Klan Enjoying Themselves. Bless!


    Christian era America - Dorothy Counts, one of the first black students to enter the newly desegregated Harry Harding High School is mocked by whites on her first day of school. (Douglas Martin)


    Christian era - Pears Soap Ad


    Christian era America - Texaco Advertisement


    Christian era Canada - My Heart Is White


    Christian era America - A caracatured Chinaman eats rats


    Christian era - Fairy Soap Advert


    Christian era America - A Japanese family returning home ( Seattle, Washington ) from a relocation center camp in Hunt, Idaho on May 10, 1945


    Christian era America - Ten Little Niggers


    Christian era America - Simple Addition by a Little Nigger was originally published circa 1874 by McLoughlin Brothers of New York.
    You can still buy it from Barnes & Noble for $11.65.


    This marker is in the Fairhaven neighborhood of Bellingham, Washington, USA. Bellingham Mayor Dan Pike issued a formal apology to the Chinese community for the expulsion of their people,125 years ago.

    Pike says the apology is meant to make it clear: authorities now see the racist actions by regional governments and their supporters more than a century ago were wrong.. In 1885 and 1886, thousands of Chinese immigrants were driven out of Puget Sound towns during an economic downturn. The Christian community argued that the new residents were taking jobs away from (Christian) white people.



    Christian era America - Ex-slaves attend reunion. Washington D.C. – October, 1916



    Reconstruction of mid-1820s LaLaurie household in New Orleans

    Marie Delphine LaLaurie (née Macarty or Maccarthy, c. 1775 – c. 1842), more commonly known as Madame LaLaurie, was a Louisiana-born socialite and serial killer known for her involvement in the torture and murder of slaves.
    Born in New Orleans, LaLaurie married three times over the course of her life. She maintained a prominent position in the social circles of New Orleans until April 10, 1834, when rescuers responding to a fire at her Royal Street mansion discovered bound slaves within the house who showed evidence of torture over a long period. LaLaurie's house was sacked by an outraged mob of New Orleans citizens, and it is thought that she fled to Paris.
    As of 2013, the Royal Street mansion was still a prominent New Orleans landmark.


    Christian era - Tintin in the Congo (French: Tintin au Congo) is the second volume of The Adventures of Tintin, the comics series by Belgian cartoonist Hergé. Commissioned by the conservative Catholic Belgian newspaper Le Vingtième Siècle for its children's supplement Le Petit Vingtième, it was serialised weekly from May 1930 to June 1931.


    Christian era - Tintin fights natives


    Christian era advertising - Nigger Milk


    Christian era advertising - Nigger Head Tees


    Christian era America


    Christian era America - dispossessing the "First Nations"


    Christian era America




    Christian era advertising - The Jolly Chinee


    Christian era advertising - Peachtree


    Christian era advertising - advertising chicken?


    Christian era advertising - soap advert


    Christian era advertising - "beaten and happy"


    Christian era advertising - white paint


    Christian era advertising - soap advert


    Christian era advertising - ginger


    Christian era advertising - Chlorinol


    Christian era advertising - Dixie Boy


    Caricature of Bismarck cutting up Africa between the European nations at the Conference of Berlin


    Christian era America - Washington Post, Oct. 27, 1895


    Christian era America -Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment (1933)

    The Tuskegee syphilis experiment was a clinical study conducted between 1932 and 1972 by the U.S. Public Health Service to study the natural progression of untreated syphilis in rural African-American men in Alabama. They were told that they were receiving free health care from the U.S. government. The Public Health Service started working on this study in 1932 in collaboration with the Tuskegee Institute, a historically black college in Alabama. Investigators enrolled in the study a total of 600 impoverished male sharecroppers from Macon County, Alabama. Of the 600, 399 had previously contracted syphilis before the study began, and 201 did not have the disease. The men were given free medical care, meals, and free burial insurance for participating in the study. None of the men infected was ever told he had the disease, nor was any treated for it with penicillin after this antibiotic became proven for treatment. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the men were told they were being treated for "bad blood", a local term for various illnesses that include syphilis, anemia, and fatigue. The 40-year study was controversial for reasons related to ethical standards, primarily because researchers knowingly failed to treat patients appropriately after the 1940s validation of penicillin as an effective cure for the disease they were studying. In 1964 the World Health Organization's Declaration of Helsinki specified that experiments involving human beings needed the “informed consent” of participants. But no one appeared to have reevaluated the protocols of the Tuskegee Study according to the new standards and in light of treatment available for the otherwise usually fatal disease.

    Medical ethics considerations were limited from the start and rapidly got worse. To ensure that the men would show up for the possibly dangerous, painful, diagnostic, and non-therapeutic spinal taps, the doctors sent the 400 patients a misleading letter titled "Last Chance for Special Free Treatment". The study also required all participants to undergo an autopsy after death in order to receive funeral benefits. After penicillin was discovered as a cure, researchers continued to deny known effective treatment to many study participants. Many were lied to and given placebo treatments so that researchers could observe the full, long-term progression of the fatal disease. The study continued, under numerous US Public Health Service supervisors, until 1972. In July 25, 1972 the Tuskegee Study was reported by Jean Heller of the Associated Press; the next day the New York Times carried it on its front page, and the story captured national attention. Peter Buxtun, a whistleblower who was a former PHS interviewer for venereal disease, had leaked information after failing to get a response to his protests about the study within the department.

    Victims of the study included numerous men who died of syphilis, 40 wives who contracted the disease, and 19 children born with congenital syphilis. Revelations of study failures by a whistleblower led to major changes in U.S. law and regulation on the protection of participants in clinical studies. Now studies require informed consent, communication of diagnosis, and accurate reporting of test results.


    Christian era advertising - Five Little Nigger Boys


    Christian era America - I Am A Man - refering to the campaign for the abolition of slavery


    Christian era advertising - Topsy Tobacco


    Christian era advertising - Darkey in a Watermelon


    Christian era America - Housing segregation in 1962


    Christian era advertising - Nigger Head Tar Soap


    Christian era advertising - Dark Tan


    Christian era advertising - Nigger Hair Tobacco


    Christian era America


    Christian era America - September 15 1963 16th Street Baptist Church bombing:
    White Christians murdering Black Children.
    The 16th Street Baptist Church bombing was an act of white Christian terrorism which occurred at the African-American 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama on Sunday, September 15, 1963. Four members of the strongly Christian Ku Klux Klan planted at least 15 sticks of dynamite attached to a timing device beneath the front steps of the church. The explosion at the church killed four girls and injured 22 others. The FBI concluded in 1965 that the bombing had been committed by four known Ku Klux Klansmen and Christian segregationists: Bobby Frank Cherry; Thomas Edwin Blanton, Jr.; Herman Frank Cash; and Robert Edward Chambliss. Despite this, no prosecution ensued until 1977, when Chambliss was tried and convicted of the first degree murder of one of the victims, 11-year-old Carol Denise McNair. Blanton and Cherry were each convicted of four counts of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment in 2001 and 2002 respectively. Cash died in 1994 never having been charged for is part in the bombing.


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    The Rwuandan Legacy - an echo of Belgian attrocities


    Christian era advertising - Rots of Ruck


    Christian era America - Routine and widespread racial discrimination


    Christian era America - Negro Records

    The Citizens' Councils (also referred to as White Citizens' Councils) were an associated network of white supremacist Christian organizations in the United States, concentrated in the South. The first was formed on July 11, 1954. With about 60,000 members, all over the United States, but mostly in the South, the groups were founded primarily to oppose racial integration of schools, but they also supported segregation of public facilities during the 1950s and 1960s. Members used intimidation tactics including economic boycotts, firing people from jobs, propaganda, and occasionally violence against civil-rights activists. The successor organization to the White Citizens' Councils is the Council of Conservative Citizens, founded in 1985. It considers itself a traditional conservative group opposing liberals and neo-conservatives. . Its specific interests include race relations, especially interracial marriage which it opposes, and conservative Christian values.


    Christian era advertising - Lord Have Mecy


    Christian era advertising - Pear's Soap


    Christian era advertising - Pear's Soap


    Christian era advertising - All Coons Look Alike


    Christian era advertising - Nigger Head Oysters


    Christian era advertising - Old Gold Cigarettes


    Christian era advertising - Nigger Hair Tobacco was a brand that sold from 1878 up to the 1950’s. During the 1950’s, the brand was renamed Bigger Hair Tobacco after being pressured by the NAACP


    Christian era advertising - Black-face Minstrels


    Christian era advertising - Nigger Make-up


    Christian era advertising - Real Mayonnaise


    Christian era advertising - Life Savers


    Christian era advertising - Licorice Drops


    Christian era advertising - Nigger Head Tobacco


    Christian era advertising - Dat Nigger's Eye


    Christian era advertising - Javel


    Christian era America - Housing Segregation - a key selling point


    Christian era advertising - The Coon's Honeymoon


    Christian era America - poster discouraging integrated housing


    Christian era America - 1967


    Christian era advertising - Coon song


    Christian era advertising - Stainilgo


    Christian era advertising - Nigger Joe's Tar Soap


    Christian era America


    Christian era advertising - Gollywog








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    §. For more on the Cagot's see Tom Knox, The Marks Of Cain, HarperCollins, 2010.. A web search for the word Cagot reveals numerous French Website, many containing good source material including Church records and photographs of Cagot doors, holy water stoops and graveyards.

    §. Graham Robb, The Discovery of France, W. W. Norton, 2007, ISBN 0393059731, p. 44.

    §. Secular and a few religious rulers made nominal attempts to prevent persecution. Following an appeal by the Cagots to Pope Leo X he published a bull insisting that the Cagots be treated "with kindness, in the same way as the other believers" but no one seems to have paid any attention.

    §. James Walvin, Black Ivory A History of British Slavery, p 184, citing R. S. Dunn, Sugar and Slaves ( London, 1977), p 249.

    §. James Walvin, Black Ivory A History of British Slavery, p 182.

    §. James Walvin, Black Ivory A History of British Slavery, p 184, citing Peter Wood, Black Majority, Negroes in Colonial South Carolina (New York, 1975), p 135.

    §. Arguably, Ota Benga was fortunate. During King Leopold's control of the Belgian Congo, supported by the Roman Church, the population was reduced by about half, from around 20,000,000 to about 10,000,000. See Adam Hochschild, King Leopold's Ghost, Macmillan (1999).

    §.Andrews, Edward (2010). "Christian Missions and Colonial Empires Reconsidered: A Black Evangelist in West Africa, 1766–1816". Journal of Church & State 51 (4): 663–691. doi:10.1093/jcs/csp090. "Historians have traditionally looked at Christian missionaries in one of two ways. The first church historians to catalogue missionary history provided hagiographic descriptions of their trials, successes, and sometimes even martyrdom. Missionaries were thus visible saints, exemplars of ideal piety in a sea of persistent savagery. However, by the middle of the twentieth century, an era marked by civil rights movements, anti-colonialism, and growing secularization, missionaries were viewed quite differently. Instead of godly martyrs, historians now described missionaries as arrogant and rapacious imperialists. Christianity became not a saving grace but a monolithic and aggressive force that missionaries imposed upon defiant natives. Indeed, missionaries were now understood as important agents in the ever-expanding nation-state, or “ideological shock troops for colonial invasion whose zealotry blinded them."

    §. Humphreys, Empty Cradles, p 11.

    §. State laws declaring inter-racial marriage to be illegal were declared unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court (Loving v Virginia, 1967)

    §. US Supreme Court, LOVING v. VIRGINIA, 388 US 1 (1967). 388 US 1 Appeal From The Supreme Court Of Appeals Of Virginia. No. 395. Argued April 10, 1967. Decided June 12, 1967. (206 Va. 924, 147 S. E. 2d 78, reversed, as being contrary to the Fourteenth Amendment Pp 4-12)

    §. Brigham Young, manuscript History of the Church. This and other sources including the Book of Mormon are discussed by Robert Basil et al (eds.), On the Barricades, p 139, footnote 15.

    §. Observer Sayings of the Week, 26 th March 1961.

    §. David Chidester, Religions of South Africa (Routledge Revivals), (Oxford: Routledge, 1992), pp 89-112.

    §. Clifford Longley, article in The Times, 28 th October 1985.

    §. “ Clinton promises to stop black church bombings”, The Times, 10 th June 1996.

    § “Welcome to the Ku Klux Klan! Bringing a Message of Hope and Deliverance to White Christian America!” http://www.kkk.com/ as at September 2007.

    §. The Economist, p 26, 16 th May 1987.

    §. Argyle and Beit-Hallahmi, The Social Psychology of Religion, p 169.

    §. The Economist, p 40, 12 th August 1989.

    §. The Economist, p 44, 2 nd November.

    §. The Times, 22 October 2005, p9. “First black archbishop receives racist hate mail”

    §. Argyle and Beit-Hallahmi, The Social Psychology of Religion, p 112. References to and summaries of a number of studies are also provided PP 112-118.

    §. Argyle and Beit-Hallahmi, The Social Psychology of Religion, p 113.

    §. Argyle and Beit-Hallahmi, The Social Psychology of Religion, p 118.






    "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" 16 April 1963,

    Below is the text of a letter from Martin Luther King Jr to by eight fellow clergymen from Alabama (Bishop C. C. J. Carpenter, Bishop Joseph A. Durick, Rabbi Hilton L. Grafman, Bishop Paul Hardin, Bishop Holan B. Harmon, the Reverend George M. Murray. the Reverend Edward V. Ramage and the Reverend Earl Stallings). In publishing this version, King says "Although the text remains in substance unaltered, I have indulged in the author's prerogative of polishing it for publication."

    16 April 1963

    My Dear Fellow Clergymen:

    While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities "unwise and untimely." Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work. But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and that your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I want to try to answer your statement in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms.

    I think I should indicate why I am here in Birmingham, since you have been influenced by the view which argues against "outsiders coming in." I have the honor of serving as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization operating in every southern state, with headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. We have some eighty five affiliated organizations across the South, and one of them is the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights. Frequently we share staff, educational and financial resources with our affiliates. Several months ago the affiliate here in Birmingham asked us to be on call to engage in a nonviolent direct action program if such were deemed necessary. We readily consented, and when the hour came we lived up to our promise. So I, along with several members of my staff, am here because I was invited here. I am here because I have organizational ties here.

    But more basically, I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. Just as the prophets of the eighth century B.C. left their villages and carried their "thus saith the Lord" far beyond the boundaries of their home towns, and just as the Apostle Paul left his village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to the far corners of the Greco Roman world, so am I compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own home town. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid.

    Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial "outside agitator" idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.

    You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham. But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations. I am sure that none of you would want to rest content with the superficial kind of social analysis that deals merely with effects and does not grapple with underlying causes. It is unfortunate that demonstrations are taking place in Birmingham, but it is even more unfortunate that the city's white power structure left the Negro community with no alternative.

    In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self purification; and direct action. We have gone through all these steps in Birmingham. There can be no gainsaying the fact that racial injustice engulfs this community. Birmingham is probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States. Its ugly record of brutality is widely known. Negroes have experienced grossly unjust treatment in the courts. There have been more unsolved bombings of Negro homes and churches in Birmingham than in any other city in the nation. These are the hard, brutal facts of the case. On the basis of these conditions, Negro leaders sought to negotiate with the city fathers. But the latter consistently refused to engage in good faith negotiation.

    Then, last September, came the opportunity to talk with leaders of Birmingham's economic community. In the course of the negotiations, certain promises were made by the merchants--for example, to remove the stores' humiliating racial signs. On the basis of these promises, the Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth and the leaders of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights agreed to a moratorium on all demonstrations. As the weeks and months went by, we realized that we were the victims of a broken promise. A few signs, briefly removed, returned; the others remained. As in so many past experiences, our hopes had been blasted, and the shadow of deep disappointment settled upon us. We had no alternative except to prepare for direct action, whereby we would present our very bodies as a means of laying our case before the conscience of the local and the national community. Mindful of the difficulties involved, we decided to undertake a process of self purification. We began a series of workshops on nonviolence, and we repeatedly asked ourselves: "Are you able to accept blows without retaliating?" "Are you able to endure the ordeal of jail?" We decided to schedule our direct action program for the Easter season, realizing that except for Christmas, this is the main shopping period of the year. Knowing that a strong economic-withdrawal program would be the by product of direct action, we felt that this would be the best time to bring pressure to bear on the merchants for the needed change.

    Then it occurred to us that Birmingham's mayoral election was coming up in March, and we speedily decided to postpone action until after election day. When we discovered that the Commissioner of Public Safety, Eugene "Bull" Connor, had piled up enough votes to be in the run off, we decided again to postpone action until the day after the run off so that the demonstrations could not be used to cloud the issues. Like many others, we waited to see Mr. Connor defeated, and to this end we endured postponement after postponement. Having aided in this community need, we felt that our direct action program could be delayed no longer.

    You may well ask: "Why direct action? Why sit ins, marches and so forth? Isn't negotiation a better path?" You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word "tension." I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood. The purpose of our direct action program is to create a situation so crisis packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation. I therefore concur with you in your call for negotiation. Too long has our beloved Southland been bogged down in a tragic effort to live in monologue rather than dialogue.

    One of the basic points in your statement is that the action that I and my associates have taken in Birmingham is untimely. Some have asked: "Why didn't you give the new city administration time to act?" The only answer that I can give to this query is that the new Birmingham administration must be prodded about as much as the outgoing one, before it will act. We are sadly mistaken if we feel that the election of Albert Boutwell as mayor will bring the millennium to Birmingham. While Mr. Boutwell is a much more gentle person than Mr. Connor, they are both segregationists, dedicated to maintenance of the status quo. I have hope that Mr. Boutwell will be reasonable enough to see the futility of massive resistance to desegregation. But he will not see this without pressure from devotees of civil rights. My friends, I must say to you that we have not made a single gain in civil rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure. Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but, as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups tend to be more immoral than individuals.

    We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was "well timed" in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word "Wait!" It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This "Wait" has almost always meant "Never." We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that "justice too long delayed is justice denied."

    We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence, but we still creep at horse and buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, "Wait." But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she can't go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five year old son who is asking: "Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?"; when you take a cross county drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading "white" and "colored"; when your first name becomes "nigger," your middle name becomes "boy" (however old you are) and your last name becomes "John," and your wife and mother are never given the respected title "Mrs."; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of "nobodiness"--then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience. You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court's decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. One may well ask: "How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?" The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all."

    Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority. Segregation, to use the terminology of the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, substitutes an "I it" relationship for an "I thou" relationship and ends up relegating persons to the status of things. Hence segregation is not only politically, economically and sociologically unsound, it is morally wrong and sinful. Paul Tillich has said that sin is separation. Is not segregation an existential expression of man's tragic separation, his awful estrangement, his terrible sinfulness? Thus it is that I can urge men to obey the 1954 decision of the Supreme Court, for it is morally right; and I can urge them to disobey segregation ordinances, for they are morally wrong.

    Let us consider a more concrete example of just and unjust laws. An unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself. This is difference made legal. By the same token, a just law is a code that a majority compels a minority to follow and that it is willing to follow itself. This is sameness made legal. Let me give another explanation. A law is unjust if it is inflicted on a minority that, as a result of being denied the right to vote, had no part in enacting or devising the law. Who can say that the legislature of Alabama which set up that state's segregation laws was democratically elected? Throughout Alabama all sorts of devious methods are used to prevent Negroes from becoming registered voters, and there are some counties in which, even though Negroes constitute a majority of the population, not a single Negro is registered. Can any law enacted under such circumstances be considered democratically structured?

    Sometimes a law is just on its face and unjust in its application. For instance, I have been arrested on a charge of parading without a permit. Now, there is nothing wrong in having an ordinance which requires a permit for a parade. But such an ordinance becomes unjust when it is used to maintain segregation and to deny citizens the First-Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and protest.

    I hope you are able to see the distinction I am trying to point out. In no sense do I advocate evading or defying the law, as would the rabid segregationist. That would lead to anarchy. One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.

    Of course, there is nothing new about this kind of civil disobedience. It was evidenced sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar, on the ground that a higher moral law was at stake. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians, who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks rather than submit to certain unjust laws of the Roman Empire. To a degree, academic freedom is a reality today because Socrates practiced civil disobedience. In our own nation, the Boston Tea Party represented a massive act of civil disobedience.

    We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was "legal" and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was "illegal." It was "illegal" to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler's Germany. Even so, I am sure that, had I lived in Germany at the time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers. If today I lived in a Communist country where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I would openly advocate disobeying that country's antireligious laws.

    I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

    I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress. I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that the present tension in the South is a necessary phase of the transition from an obnoxious negative peace, in which the Negro passively accepted his unjust plight, to a substantive and positive peace, in which all men will respect the dignity and worth of human personality. Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.

    In your statement you assert that our actions, even though peaceful, must be condemned because they precipitate violence. But is this a logical assertion? Isn't this like condemning a robbed man because his possession of money precipitated the evil act of robbery? Isn't this like condemning Socrates because his unswerving commitment to truth and his philosophical inquiries precipitated the act by the misguided populace in which they made him drink hemlock? Isn't this like condemning Jesus because his unique God consciousness and never ceasing devotion to God's will precipitated the evil act of crucifixion? We must come to see that, as the federal courts have consistently affirmed, it is wrong to urge an individual to cease his efforts to gain his basic constitutional rights because the quest may precipitate violence. Society must protect the robbed and punish the robber. I had also hoped that the white moderate would reject the myth concerning time in relation to the struggle for freedom. I have just received a letter from a white brother in Texas. He writes: "All Christians know that the colored people will receive equal rights eventually, but it is possible that you are in too great a religious hurry. It has taken Christianity almost two thousand years to accomplish what it has. The teachings of Christ take time to come to earth." Such an attitude stems from a tragic misconception of time, from the strangely irrational notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills. Actually, time itself is neutral; it can be used either destructively or constructively. More and more I feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than have the people of good will. We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people. Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co workers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right. Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy and transform our pending national elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. Now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.

    You speak of our activity in Birmingham as extreme. At first I was rather disappointed that fellow clergymen would see my nonviolent efforts as those of an extremist. I began thinking about the fact that I stand in the middle of two opposing forces in the Negro community. One is a force of complacency, made up in part of Negroes who, as a result of long years of oppression, are so drained of self respect and a sense of "somebodiness" that they have adjusted to segregation; and in part of a few middle-class Negroes who, because of a degree of academic and economic security and because in some ways they profit by segregation, have become insensitive to the problems of the masses. The other force is one of bitterness and hatred, and it comes perilously close to advocating violence. It is expressed in the various black nationalist groups that are springing up across the nation, the largest and best known being Elijah Muhammad's Muslim movement. Nourished by the Negro's frustration over the continued existence of racial discrimination, this movement is made up of people who have lost faith in America, who have absolutely repudiated Christianity, and who have concluded that the white man is an incorrigible "devil."

    I have tried to stand between these two forces, saying that we need emulate neither the "do nothingism" of the complacent nor the hatred and despair of the black nationalist. For there is the more excellent way of love and nonviolent protest. I am grateful to God that, through the influence of the Negro church, the way of nonviolence became an integral part of our struggle. If this philosophy had not emerged, by now many streets of the South would, I am convinced, be flowing with blood. And I am further convinced that if our white brothers dismiss as "rabble rousers" and "outside agitators" those of us who employ nonviolent direct action, and if they refuse to support our nonviolent efforts, millions of Negroes will, out of frustration and despair, seek solace and security in black nationalist ideologies--a development that would inevitably lead to a frightening racial nightmare.

    Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself, and that is what has happened to the American Negro. Something within has reminded him of his birthright of freedom, and something without has reminded him that it can be gained. Consciously or unconsciously, he has been caught up by the Zeitgeist, and with his black brothers of Africa and his brown and yellow brothers of Asia, South America and the Caribbean, the United States Negro is moving with a sense of great urgency toward the promised land of racial justice. If one recognizes this vital urge that has engulfed the Negro community, one should readily understand why public demonstrations are taking place. The Negro has many pent up resentments and latent frustrations, and he must release them. So let him march; let him make prayer pilgrimages to the city hall; let him go on freedom rides -and try to understand why he must do so. If his repressed emotions are not released in nonviolent ways, they will seek expression through violence; this is not a threat but a fact of history. So I have not said to my people: "Get rid of your discontent." Rather, I have tried to say that this normal and healthy discontent can be channeled into the creative outlet of nonviolent direct action. And now this approach is being termed extremist. But though I was initially disappointed at being categorized as an extremist, as I continued to think about the matter I gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label. Was not Jesus an extremist for love: "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." Was not Amos an extremist for justice: "Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever flowing stream." Was not Paul an extremist for the Christian gospel: "I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." Was not Martin Luther an extremist: "Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise, so help me God." And John Bunyan: "I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience." And Abraham Lincoln: "This nation cannot survive half slave and half free." And Thomas Jefferson: "We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal . . ." So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice? In that dramatic scene on Calvary's hill three men were crucified. We must never forget that all three were crucified for the same crime--the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thus fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment. Perhaps the South, the nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.

    I had hoped that the white moderate would see this need. Perhaps I was too optimistic; perhaps I expected too much. I suppose I should have realized that few members of the oppressor race can understand the deep groans and passionate yearnings of the oppressed race, and still fewer have the vision to see that injustice must be rooted out by strong, persistent and determined action. I am thankful, however, that some of our white brothers in the South have grasped the meaning of this social revolution and committed themselves to it. They are still all too few in quantity, but they are big in quality. Some -such as Ralph McGill, Lillian Smith, Harry Golden, James McBride Dabbs, Ann Braden and Sarah Patton Boyle--have written about our struggle in eloquent and prophetic terms. Others have marched with us down nameless streets of the South. They have languished in filthy, roach infested jails, suffering the abuse and brutality of policemen who view them as "dirty nigger-lovers." Unlike so many of their moderate brothers and sisters, they have recognized the urgency of the moment and sensed the need for powerful "action" antidotes to combat the disease of segregation. Let me take note of my other major disappointment. I have been so greatly disappointed with the white church and its leadership. Of course, there are some notable exceptions. I am not unmindful of the fact that each of you has taken some significant stands on this issue. I commend you, Reverend Stallings, for your Christian stand on this past Sunday, in welcoming Negroes to your worship service on a nonsegregated basis. I commend the Catholic leaders of this state for integrating Spring Hill College several years ago.

    But despite these notable exceptions, I must honestly reiterate that I have been disappointed with the church. I do not say this as one of those negative critics who can always find something wrong with the church. I say this as a minister of the gospel, who loves the church; who was nurtured in its bosom; who has been sustained by its spiritual blessings and who will remain true to it as long as the cord of life shall lengthen.

    When I was suddenly catapulted into the leadership of the bus protest in Montgomery, Alabama, a few years ago, I felt we would be supported by the white church. I felt that the white ministers, priests and rabbis of the South would be among our strongest allies. Instead, some have been outright opponents, refusing to understand the freedom movement and misrepresenting its leaders; all too many others have been more cautious than courageous and have remained silent behind the anesthetizing security of stained glass windows.

    In spite of my shattered dreams, I came to Birmingham with the hope that the white religious leadership of this community would see the justice of our cause and, with deep moral concern, would serve as the channel through which our just grievances could reach the power structure. I had hoped that each of you would understand. But again I have been disappointed.

    I have heard numerous southern religious leaders admonish their worshipers to comply with a desegregation decision because it is the law, but I have longed to hear white ministers declare: "Follow this decree because integration is morally right and because the Negro is your brother." In the midst of blatant injustices inflicted upon the Negro, I have watched white churchmen stand on the sideline and mouth pious irrelevancies and sanctimonious trivialities. In the midst of a mighty struggle to rid our nation of racial and economic injustice, I have heard many ministers say: "Those are social issues, with which the gospel has no real concern." And I have watched many churches commit themselves to a completely other worldly religion which makes a strange, un-Biblical distinction between body and soul, between the sacred and the secular.

    I have traveled the length and breadth of Alabama, Mississippi and all the other southern states. On sweltering summer days and crisp autumn mornings I have looked at the South's beautiful churches with their lofty spires pointing heavenward. I have beheld the impressive outlines of her massive religious education buildings. Over and over I have found myself asking: "What kind of people worship here? Who is their God? Where were their voices when the lips of Governor Barnett dripped with words of interposition and nullification? Where were they when Governor Wallace gave a clarion call for defiance and hatred? Where were their voices of support when bruised and weary Negro men and women decided to rise from the dark dungeons of complacency to the bright hills of creative protest?"

    Yes, these questions are still in my mind. In deep disappointment I have wept over the laxity of the church. But be assured that my tears have been tears of love. There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love. Yes, I love the church. How could I do otherwise? I am in the rather unique position of being the son, the grandson and the great grandson of preachers. Yes, I see the church as the body of Christ. But, oh! How we have blemished and scarred that body through social neglect and through fear of being nonconformists.

    There was a time when the church was very powerful--in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being "disturbers of the peace" and "outside agitators."' But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction that they were "a colony of heaven," called to obey God rather than man. Small in number, they were big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be "astronomically intimidated." By their effort and example they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contests. Things are different now. So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church's silent--and often even vocal--sanction of things as they are.

    But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today's church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. Every day I meet young people whose disappointment with the church has turned into outright disgust.

    Perhaps I have once again been too optimistic. Is organized religion too inextricably bound to the status quo to save our nation and the world? Perhaps I must turn my faith to the inner spiritual church, the church within the church, as the true ekklesia and the hope of the world. But again I am thankful to God that some noble souls from the ranks of organized religion have broken loose from the paralyzing chains of conformity and joined us as active partners in the struggle for freedom. They have left their secure congregations and walked the streets of Albany, Georgia, with us. They have gone down the highways of the South on tortuous rides for freedom. Yes, they have gone to jail with us. Some have been dismissed from their churches, have lost the support of their bishops and fellow ministers. But they have acted in the faith that right defeated is stronger than evil triumphant. Their witness has been the spiritual salt that has preserved the true meaning of the gospel in these troubled times. They have carved a tunnel of hope through the dark mountain of disappointment. I hope the church as a whole will meet the challenge of this decisive hour. But even if the church does not come to the aid of justice, I have no despair about the future. I have no fear about the outcome of our struggle in Birmingham, even if our motives are at present misunderstood. We will reach the goal of freedom in Birmingham and all over the nation, because the goal of America is freedom. Abused and scorned though we may be, our destiny is tied up with America's destiny. Before the pilgrims landed at Plymouth, we were here. Before the pen of Jefferson etched the majestic words of the Declaration of Independence across the pages of history, we were here. For more than two centuries our forebears labored in this country without wages; they made cotton king; they built the homes of their masters while suffering gross injustice and shameful humiliation -and yet out of a bottomless vitality they continued to thrive and develop. If the inexpressible cruelties of slavery could not stop us, the opposition we now face will surely fail. We will win our freedom because the sacred heritage of our nation and the eternal will of God are embodied in our echoing demands. Before closing I feel impelled to mention one other point in your statement that has troubled me profoundly. You warmly commended the Birmingham police force for keeping "order" and "preventing violence." I doubt that you would have so warmly commended the police force if you had seen its dogs sinking their teeth into unarmed, nonviolent Negroes. I doubt that you would so quickly commend the policemen if you were to observe their ugly and inhumane treatment of Negroes here in the city jail; if you were to watch them push and curse old Negro women and young Negro girls; if you were to see them slap and kick old Negro men and young boys; if you were to observe them, as they did on two occasions, refuse to give us food because we wanted to sing our grace together. I cannot join you in your praise of the Birmingham police department.

    It is true that the police have exercised a degree of discipline in handling the demonstrators. In this sense they have conducted themselves rather "nonviolently" in public. But for what purpose? To preserve the evil system of segregation. Over the past few years I have consistently preached that nonviolence demands that the means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek. I have tried to make clear that it is wrong to use immoral means to attain moral ends. But now I must affirm that it is just as wrong, or perhaps even more so, to use moral means to preserve immoral ends. Perhaps Mr. Connor and his policemen have been rather nonviolent in public, as was Chief Pritchett in Albany, Georgia, but they have used the moral means of nonviolence to maintain the immoral end of racial injustice. As T. S. Eliot has said: "The last temptation is the greatest treason: To do the right deed for the wrong reason."

    I wish you had commended the Negro sit inners and demonstrators of Birmingham for their sublime courage, their willingness to suffer and their amazing discipline in the midst of great provocation. One day the South will recognize its real heroes. They will be the James Merediths, with the noble sense of purpose that enables them to face jeering and hostile mobs, and with the agonizing loneliness that characterizes the life of the pioneer. They will be old, oppressed, battered Negro women, symbolized in a seventy two year old woman in Montgomery, Alabama, who rose up with a sense of dignity and with her people decided not to ride segregated buses, and who responded with ungrammatical profundity to one who inquired about her weariness: "My feets is tired, but my soul is at rest." They will be the young high school and college students, the young ministers of the gospel and a host of their elders, courageously and nonviolently sitting in at lunch counters and willingly going to jail for conscience' sake. One day the South will know that when these disinherited children of God sat down at lunch counters, they were in reality standing up for what is best in the American dream and for the most sacred values in our Judaeo Christian heritage, thereby bringing our nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the founding fathers in their formulation of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

    Never before have I written so long a letter. I'm afraid it is much too long to take your precious time. I can assure you that it would have been much shorter if I had been writing from a comfortable desk, but what else can one do when he is alone in a narrow jail cell, other than write long letters, think long thoughts and pray long prayers?

    If I have said anything in this letter that overstates the truth and indicates an unreasonable impatience, I beg you to forgive me. If I have said anything that understates the truth and indicates my having a patience that allows me to settle for anything less than brotherhood, I beg God to forgive me.

    I hope this letter finds you strong in the faith. I also hope that circumstances will soon make it possible for me to meet each of you, not as an integrationist or a civil-rights leader but as a fellow clergyman and a Christian brother. Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear drenched communities, and in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.

    Yours for the cause of Peace and Brotherhood,

    King, Martin Luther Jr.



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