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The Beatitudes of Hope

Seventh Annual African American History Program

Bristow » The Bristow Seventh-day Adventist Church marked its seventh annual African American History program on February 25, 2017, with The Beatitudes of Hope. Virginia Echols Harrison, former college professor, co-sponsors the program with her husband, John.

In this year’s program, Harrison used portions of the beatitudes in Matthew 5 to emphasize the contributions of the selected honorees of the day’s program. She also used Romans 8:24-25 to explain that White America did not need to “hope” for privilege–it was theirs by birth. However, Native Americans, Hispanic Americans and African Americans were still “patiently waiting for the ‘hope’ of equal privilege” in America.

To further illustrate the point of waiting for hope, four male volunteers consented to dramatize the “Greensboro’s Four” sit-in demonstration at Woolworth’s luncheon counter in 1960.  Harrison pointed out that they didn’t want more; they didn’t want better; they didn’t want different; they simply wanted “privilege”; they desired a different perspective; they wanted the opportunity to experience what their “privileged” counterparts experienced–civility, to be looked upon as a person–equally! Therefore, they hoped and waited to be served at an “all white” luncheon counter in Greensboro, N. C.  Their act of courage set off spontaneous sit-in demonstrations, changing the face of America and leading to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

This program, normally held during vespers, was granted the 11 o’clock hour service. Musically, it featured local talents Carmen Still and Lyla Krejci, along with Eunice Dunning, of Las Vegas, Nev.

During the close of her presentation, Harrison showed some optical illusions, which she used to challenge the congregation to seek a new perspective regarding racial differences.

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