First Day in Raleigh

No report from yesterday, because it was a driving day – from Atlanta to Raleigh. The site that we saw today was the campus of Shaw University, an HBCU in Raleigh.

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It was here that the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) came into existence. The specific place (building) in which the original organizing meetings took place has been torn down and replaced, but there is this historical marker to show where this important organization began.

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Have you noticed how much of a role churches, and in particular Baptist churches, played in the Civil Rights Movement? In the case of Shaw University, it is a university rather than a church. But the university began as a work of a Baptist missionary, so you still have the church influence. When this history (or any history) is taught in public schools, I wonder if the influence of the church is made clear. I worry that teachers, acting from a place of fear, secularize the curriculum more than they should and more than they need to. My students have often told me that they believe they are not allowed to mention anything about religion in their teaching. This is, of course, a misconception, but still, I’m sure it influences what they teach and how they teach it. How should we make the influence of the church in history more clear to young people? Is it “OK” that this aspect of life tends to be whitewashed away?

Comments are welcome!

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