Freedom Riders Meet Living History

Freedom Riders Meet Living History

by Anne Clarke, Co-Leader, 2015 Freedom Ride; Lifelong Christian Faith Formation Coordinator, The Episcopal Diocese of Northern California

On July 14th, Freedom Ride pilgrims visited Greensboro and the International Civil Rights Center & Museum, with Presiding Bishop-Elect Michael Curry, Bishop Barry Beisner and Joseph McNeill (pictured here at center, between the bishops). McNeill is one of the four students that began the movement of lunch counter desegregation sit-ins on Feb 1, 1960. These students became known as the "Greensboro Four." 55 years later, McNeill is still an active part of the civil rights movement and an inspiration. Also pictured here (at far right) is Bishop Doug Fisher, of The Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts, whose diocese is also participating in the Lift Every Voice Freedom Ride.

Seeking Closure on Greensboro Massacre
On this second day of our pilgrimage, we heard some of the stories of racially-motivated violence, such as the Greensboro Massacre, and about the link between faith communities and work to heal the resulting wounds.
“Johnson, now a Baptist preacher, and Marty Nathan, the widow of one of the victims, seized on the parallel with South Africa's emergence from apartheid in initiating the project. They believe that race relations in Greensboro can never move beyond the shootings until the role of the police and the city is explored, and leaders of the Klan and the activists admit their mistakes,” says Darryl Fears, Washington Post Staff Writer, in his 2005 article "Seeking Closure on 'Greensboro Massacre.'"

Click here to read the full article.

Overcoming Racial Faith
Theologian the Rev. Dr. Willie James Jennings discusses how “Western Christianity has become entangled with racism, and overthrowing this racial faith requires understanding its core components” in his article "Overcoming Racial Faith," published in Duke Divinity School's Divinity Magazine.

Click here to read the full article.

Pictured at left are the four students that began the lunch counter desegregation sit-ins in Greensboro. In this photo, taken on that historic day, is Joseph McNeill (at the far right) with the Greensboro Four.

 Click here to read Bishop Beisner's Freedom Ride Prayer.

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