Cote Brilliante Presbyterian Church recognized the 400 hundred years of Africans in North America (1619-2019), acknowledging the beginning of slavery and African-American resilience, in solidarity with other churches and organizations across the country, on Sunday, August 25.
The recognition program began during the church’s 10 a.m. worship service with a historic review presented by former 18th Ward alderman and historian Terry Kennedy, who currently serves as clerk of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen. Kennedy presented a comprehensive review of world history and American history, beginning prior to the 1st century world, the Roman Empire and the Moors, who were Africans who shared physics and other sciences with the world.
He presented a historical interpretation of the slave trade, slavery in North America, into this present day of psychological enslavement with black-on-black crime and gun violence. Kennedy concluded with a message of hope and the importance of telling and interpreting African-American history.
Rev. Clyde R. Crumpton, pastor of Cote Brilliante Presbyterian Church, supported the importance, stating that knowing your history builds pride, self-esteem and value.
The afternoon segment of the 400 Year recognition began with a recitation of Langston Hughes’ “Negro Mother” by Elder Rosalynde Scott, followed by a presentation from Lynn Jackson, the great-great-granddaughter of Dred and Harriett Scott and president and founder of the Dred Scott Heritage Foundation. The foundation’s goal is to promote the commemoration, education and reconciliation of our histories and to share the impact of slavery and Dred Scott’s quest for freedom on the nation. There were five court trials in the case for Dred Scott, the outcome of which motivated Abraham Lincoln to run for president, fueled the Civil War and resulted in the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
Included in the recognition program was a traveling exhibit of African-American historical artifacts and historical interpretations, presented by Mack Williams and Charles Williams. Their exhibit “History To You” (www.historytoyou.org) is an extensive collection that speaks to the 1619-2019 African-American historical narrative. Their motto, “Learning from the past, to progress into the future.” They can also be found at the Julia Davis Library, 4415 Natural Bridge Ave., every fourth Saturday of each month from 2-4 p.m.
The afternoon’s programing concluded with a handbell ringing by the Cote Brilliante Presbyterian Church Hand Bell Choir, Directed by Ann Rice. There was a sequential series of bell rings for each 100 years of the 400. This coincided with a national effort for all African-American churches to ring bells on the afternoon of August 25.
In preparation for the day’s activities, Cote Brilliante Presbyterian Church, 4673 Labadie Ave., studied the biblical narrative in Genesis 15, which the 1619-2019 historical narrative parallels. For more details on the biblical narrative go to www.cbpcstl.org (1619-2019 What Does It Mean?).