Rhetoric, Religion and the Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1965

By Davis W. Houck; David E. Dixon | Go to book overview

§90 Frank T. Wilson

Frank T. Wilson was born in Maxton, North Carolina and grew up in Wadesboro and Greensboro, North Carolina. After graduating from Lincoln University and Columbia University, Wilson became the national student secretary of the YMCA. Later, he returned to Lincoln to serve as Dean of men and teach in the education and psychology departments. From Lincoln, Wilson moved to Howard University where he was appointed dean of the school of religion. Wilson’s expertise in education engendered travels around the globe. He wrote this sermon while in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Wilson uses the name of the location of Christ’s crucifixion to begin this morality tale about the church’s failure in race relations; so bad is it that Wilson deems it “the most embarrassing chapter in the history of the church in the United States.” Part of the problem stems from some who seek to find grounds for racial separatism in the pages of the Bible. Others fancy themselves as the “churchly elite” who “magnify the formalities” of church membership to create divisions in the body of Christ. Wilson also urges his listeners to adopt a more international outlook on race relations, whereby believers can be selective in neither morality nor ethics. Across the globe, Christians must recognize “the image of the Creator in every member of the human family, in all places of God’s creation.” Wilson concludes with optimism, noting that the “wisdom of God” will temper the “madness of man.” But if the church continues in its prejudicial ways, it will betray the mission of Christ and it will be judged accordingly.


Golgotha 1964
November 7, 1963

And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there
they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the
other on the left. Luke 23:33

He was rejected, tormented, afflicted. In the moment of his deepest agony, he was ridiculed, reviled, forsaken. They nailed him to the cross. He died.

-627-

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