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Specials of the Month - #6      Specials From Previous Months    

(These will change every month. Check back regularly to see what's new.)

Person of the Month 

John Newton (1725 -  1807       

John Newton was a white Englishman who worked as a seaman and became the captain of his own slave-ship. His ship took captured Africans to the West Indies and North America where they were sold into slavery. The conditions on the ships were horrible, and many of the captives died before arriving back on land. Newton became a religious Christian, gave up being a sea captain, studied, and was ordained as a Christian minister. He became a very active abolitionist, advocating that the slave trade be outlawed, detailing its horrors, and supporting others in the abolitionist cause in England. He wrote many hymns, and sometime between 1760 and 1770, he wrote the words to the famous hymn, "Amazing Grace", which is still sung and well-known today. It includes the words, "I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see". Whenever you hear that hymn you can be reminded that it was written by a white man who went from being a slave-ship captain to an active anti-racist.


Question of the Month

How has being the "race" you are affected you and your life? 


Perspective of the Month

 Much racism today is systemic racism - the way many advantages in the society are set up systematically, or built into the structure of society or how we do things, to benefit one racial group (white people) and disadvantage others. For example, public schools are financed primarily on property taxes (based on the value of people’s houses) and this results in students in poor urban areas (where many students of color live) going to schools that don't have as much money to pay teachers, buy books, etc. as the schools that many white students go to. If we financed schools differently, we could provide equally good schools for all students, regardless of their “race”.


Quote of the month

" Racism remains a wound at the heart of our nation.”

           From "A Pastoral Letter on Racism" from the national officers of the United Church of Christ (UCC), April 2008


This Month's Self-Quiz (These questions are based mostly on last month's specials.)

  1. Who was Dolores Huerta? What organization did she help start and lead?

  2. Why do we say that "races" don't exist, but we still need to pay attention to "race"?

  3. What are two things Cornell West says we need for a fully fuctional, multiracial society?

(The answers to these questions can be found on other pages of this web site. For #1 see "Anti-Racists". For #2 and #3 see "Specials of the Month #5", which you can get to by clicking on "Specials from Previous Months" above.)