A White Preacher's Message on Race and Reconciliation
When, in the summer of 1955, Lutheran Church officials sent a young white West Virginian to Montgomery, Alabama, to pastor an all-black congregation, they could not have foreseen that six months later he and his family would be thrust into a second American Revolution. But they had chosen well. Young Bob Graetz had already studied and thought deeply about race and religion and about racial discrimination in America. He had started a race relations club at his Ohio college. He had served as student pastor of a black church in California. And when he and his young wife, Jeannie, and their two children arrived in the Deep South, they moved happily and comfortably into Montgomery's black community and were accepted. Among the friends they soon made were Raymond and Rosa Parks. Mrs. Parks's arrest, of course, triggered the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and Bob and Jeannie were among the few whites who supported the first broad-based civil rights protest of the twentieth century. White thugs retaliated by bombing the Graetzes' home twice; their lives were threatened often. But Graetz never wavered, and his Montgomery experiences, recounted in rich detail here, shaped a long ministerial career that always emphasized equality and justice issues no matter where his call took him. In addition to Graetz's boycott memoirs, this book includes provocative chapters on white privilege, black forgiveness, and the present-day challenges for human and civil rights, including for gays and lesbians.
- Electronic book text
- 01 Dec 2006
- NewSouth Books