My parents migrated from the Deep South, specifically from Mississippi and Alabama, fleeing the physical danger, psychological terror and socioeconomic oppression of living under Jim Crow segregation. Shortly after arriving in Connecticut, my parents met, married and started a family.
The day we purchased our house, we loaded boxes, furniture, toys and clothes onto my uncle’s truck. Next door to us, Linda and Frank lived with their family. A few days after we moved in, a big “For Sale” sign went up on their front lawn.
One night before he moved away, Frank appeared at my parents’ back door. My mom invited him to sit down at our kitchen table. Peering into the room, I could see that he was crying. Through his tears, Frank had expressed remorse about rushing to put his home on the market–because we were black.
My parents witnessed firsthand what the Fair Housing Act could not legislate: personal attitudes and actions of racism. You can hold institutions accountable, but you can’t legislate hate and racism away. The hard work of undoing hate and racism can only happen through relationships.
This message is excerpted from “Changed Hearts” by Judith Roberts in the October 2018 issue of Gather magazine. Today is the fifth Sunday after Epiphany.
Do you enjoy these free Daily Grace messages? If so, donate now to further the ministry.