Commemorating Black History month, we reflect on the institution of slavery and those who were enslaved for four hundred years! Slavery is a deep wound, a sore, a cancer in American history! It tells of the sons and daughters of Africa being subjugated to less than humane standards to that equated to cattle for a period of four hundred years. Like the sons and daughters of Israel, they had the fire “burning in their bellies” that God had a more meaning purpose for them. The story of a capture and subjugated people sometimes can parallel how nature can create a diamond. It takes a piece of coal and through the process of “pressure”; that coal becomes a Precious metal, a diamond. A capture and enslaved people, African Americans, have contributed immensely to countless inventions and discoveries. Among a few are Lloyd A. Hall (1894-1971) developed a method for combining sodium chloride with crystals of sodium nitrite and nitrite to keep nitrogen in the air from spoiling food—a method still used today to preserve meats—and other food preservation techniques. Frederick McKinley Jones (1893-1961) developed the first reliable refrigerated truck and also refrigerated railroad cars to carry foods over long distances without spoiling. Lewis Latimer (1848-1928) is arguably the most famous historic African American inventor. He worked both with Alexander Graham Bell (on his famous telephone patent) and Thomas Edison (on incandescent lighting and other inventions).
Slavery, for some, was a diamond in the rough, a transforming experience to bring forth our “God-giving” gifts. Just as our life challenges can sometimes transform us into better witnesses for Christ. Jesus said, “Let your light shine before others” (Matthew 5:16a). A lamp is meant to be placed on a stand to give light to everything around it. Whether you’re timid or outgoing, you’re called to be a light to the people around you. God illuminated in the hearts of our ancestors as a driving force to focus on being “freed” one day!
Though we mark “Black History Month” with a focus of a suppressed people we must also realize that of a liberated people as well. Joseph, a slave aspired to the 2nd place on the throne of Egypt, a world power at the time Just as Joseph told his brothers, in Genesis 50:19,20 19Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? 20But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. The struggles, trials and tribulations of black America has open the doors for ALL non-white peoples, immigrants and the likes for the laws against discrimination, equal access to services and so on. The evil of slavery did bring about transformational changes even though there are more battles ahead. Their spirits, our spirits cannot be captured by the physical cage. “Through it all”, Jesus has lead” the Sons and Daughters of Africa” through a challenging experience.
PAUL LAURENCE DUNBAR wrote this poem
I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,
When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,—
When he beats his bars and he would be free;
It is not a carol of joy or glee,
But a prayer that he sends from his heart’s deep core,
But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings —
I know why the caged bird sings
Our black American ancestors send prayers from their heart’s deep core, and prayed prayers/pleas upwards to Heaven. God answered their prayers for liberation and freedom!
Rev. Dr. Joseph Whama Boayue, Jr was born in Monrovia, Liberia on Sunday, October 9, 1955 onto the union of Betty Joyce Carter-Boayue, a black American from Bryant, Texas, and Joseph Whama Boayue, Sr, who hailed from Bunadin ,Nimba County, Liberia. His mother was a business woman, philanthropist, and socialite and his father was Liberia’s first civil engineer who eventually served his country as a member of the President Tubman’s cabinet as Secretary of Public Works and Utility. Rev. Dr. Joseph Whama Boayue is an adjunct Professor of Business, Health Management and Information Science at The University of The Potomac in Washington DC. He has served for the past ten (10) years as Senior Pastor of The Christian Baptist Church in Silver Springs, Maryland USA. Rev. Dr. Joseph Whama Boayue is married to Marilyn Anderson-Boayue who hails from Maryland County, Liberia. He has two children and two grandchildren.