I grew up in a home where the scripture Micah 6:8 was recited and quoted. My late father Bishop Zedekiah L. Grady, every time he made remarks, would end by quoting Amos the prophet: “he has shown thee O man what is good, but what does the Lord require of thee, but to pursue Justice, love mercy and walk humbly before thy God. I will admit that has a child I interpreted those words strictly from personal behavior: walking closely with and serving God, loving mercy and being humble. It was not until I was an adult did, I try to make sense out of Micah call to do Justice. As a child I was enamored with the history of the 1969 Hospital Strike.
My parents always talked about the Charleston Hospital Strike of 1969. Members in the community after church programs would reminisce about how committed and together the community worked. They mentioned on numerous occasions Martin L and Coretta Scott King coming to organize in Charleston in 1967 and the preparation for the Hospital Strike. King was assassinated in 1968 and it seemed like the momentum for the Strike would be slowed down or halted. Some have postulated that had King lived to be in SC for the 1969 Hospital Strike, South Carolina’s recorded history in Civil Rights would be more prominent in National Civil Rights History.
- For More Information on the 1969 Hospital Strike-View
The irony that black people and woman were standing up to the behemoth political and economic oppressive machine in Charleston in the same city where enslaved slaves were sold into slavery and transported across what became the Americas and literally walking distance from where the Denmark Vessey slave revolt was planned and thwarted added to the mystic of the day.
African American Christianity has always been rooted and centered in Salvation and Liberation. For us Jesus Christ salvific work on the cross is not separated from oppressive realities of here and now life.
The Civil Rights Movement and the overall struggle for freedom in the Americas is rooted in faith and belief in God. What has happened in American culture is that since the 1970’s most Justice Organizations are separate from the Church and while we don’t want to admit, has been the reason progress has been halted. The sheer idea that liberation is the work of God must be understood. To stand up to authorities’ means one must submit to the power of God for wisdom, guidance, and direction.
When Justice became a secular pursuit, justice has become rotted in things outside of the Kingdom of God. This is one reason our evangelical brothers and sisters have a bad taste in their mouth when the phrase “Social Justice” is mentioned. They view Social Justice as rooted outside of God’s plan for humanity.
Justice in its simplest definition means fairness. There is a lot of unfairnesses in the world because people have broken the laws of God. Pursuing Justice is also rebuilding what has been broken: the laws of God.
On Wednesday, January 25, 2023, the AME Church in the state of South Carolina under the leadership of Bishop Samuel Lawrence Green will have it legislative Day at the State Capitol in Columbia, SC. We would like as many members as possible of Reid to participate. I will be there. Hope to see you there.
- To Register for the 2023 7th District Day at the Statehouse