Congratulations to Rev. Rogersgreenspun.com : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread
Congratulations Rev. Rogers on being placed on the Wall of Tolerance in the Birmingham, AL Civil Rights Museum for your work against the KKK. That fight is a mighty one.
Many years ago, there was a half hour docuemntary titled "Not in my Neighborhood." It told of the clan or Arian nation in the western part of the US. The members of this hate group entered a small AME Church, attended by an elderly congregation and tried to disrupt the service. The minister kept giving the Word, ignoring the members of this group. Was this Montana? If not, do you know where this happened? Members of the Jewish community were also attached when they put a menorah in their window for Hanukah. The whole community responded by placing menorahs in their windows as well.
-- Anonymous, December 08, 2003
Mary you do know your civil rights history. The movie "Not in my town was based on an incident that happend to my friend Tammy Schweizer. She lives in Billings, montana in 1992 the KKK, and the aryan nation encouraged it's cells to move from other parts of the US to Montana and the pacific northwest, for they believed it was the new "promise land for white people" It was also the year I was told by God to accept a ministerial position in Montana. Montana is a small state at that time there were 800,000 people in the entire state. I and my daughter who was 15 at that time immediately began to have death threats, tammy also received the same threats, her husband who is a dentist had all of his patients threatened by the KKK. Then they attacked her home and threw a huge rock in her 7 year old sons room and missed his head by one inch. I too had things that were planned for me, that were thwarted by informants telling the police. The ame church you cisted is Wayman Chapel, it has had a continuous ministry since the late 1890's. The pastor was rev. freeman the KKK actually came into the church during a worship service with lit cigarettes, and started taunting the members and throwing lit cigarettes on the pews to start a fire. The congregation was elderly and mostly women, but my dear friend sister Terry who was there all of 5'3 and a hundred pounds, began to sing "king Jesus all the women line up in front of 8 klansman and sang as loud as they could, they began to back up and the power of God took over that church and as the movie depicted the KKK ran out of the church. But that church was also a target, I became their no. 1 target and they began sending flyers to downtown stores saying they would burn down any store that I went in to. And my friend who owns a book store had the glass in his window broken with a note we are going to burn this store down "you, n lover" I will be honest, I hated Bozeman, but I am stubborn and I said "no one is going to run me out of town!" my daughter said let's go mom. And I kept thinking about Rosa Parks, all across our state strong white women began to organize in their community and say no to the KKK, what the KKK did not know coming from the south and california, a lot of the women are farmers and ranchers and they know how to shoot very well. I started the "montana hate free zone" and began to travel across the state on the greyhound bus, which was dangerous for blacks had been attacked on the bus, but I did not know how to drive. I would go to small towns and hold meeting, and tell them about black people and they began to know me and a chapter of the hate free zone would get started, Tammy had her hands full in Billings and we would call each other every three months to make sure we were alive. I have to tell you there is a woman in the northern part of miles city who had heard about me and when the KKK came to form groups in her town she said "Rev.Rogers is my sister, (the lady is white) an ex dock worker from san francisco and all the white people one by one said I was there sister and the KKK should get out. I had to make the choice to go back to NYC which was my conference and I was united methodists for my bishop was afraid I would be killed. I said no! For there was work to do, it was hard to leave the methodists but I knew I had to keep fighting by educating, my daughter has stood by my side the whole time, and the people of Montana also risked their lives to support me. The governor and the state legislature and my senators have recognized me as well as my friend Tammy whom the movie was based and in 2000 I got on a greyhound bus to travel to church in Billings, Montana it was wayman chapel the pastor and congregation said I should be ame and start an ame church in bozeman, montana. In 2001 Bishop Bryant ordained me an itinerant deacon and he and Dr. Cee welcomed us to the denomination. That which was so precious to me that I had to give up, Methodism was returned to me and in more glorious ways for I am free to do the human rights work that I love. I stayed in Montana because of work Rosa Parks did and to receive this recognition from my ame sister Rosa Parks, brings tears to my eyes. The ame's have never run from the KKK, we have fought and trained others. My organization is in towns around the world including Israel and in January, I and my daughter will be starting a new initiative. The majority of the KKK, aryan nation and the militia are gone. And I am not the number one person that should be murdered on the KKK list. I am down to no. 3. I tell my friends I must be getting quiet that I am not no. 1 anymore. There is still much work to do. Indians have a bounty of $50,000.00 on their head if a white supremacist kills one.
Wayman chapel has a new pastor and they are doing well. Tammy is doing lectures, my daughter Danielle grew up to be licensed as an ame member and will start seminary in 2004 to be ordained an ame pastor. We love Montana, and I can't ride the greyhound bus anymore because of arthritis in my knees (I won the american hero award from the national arthritis association) years ago for my civil rights work. But Mary I do sneak out and go do some work in the small towns. My doctors have learned just patch me up and let me be. I will die on the mission field for God, and I will never let the flag of Christ hit the ground. Thank you for acknowleding the award. All the glory goes to God!, I will add that there are many like me in our denomination that are working hard. Barbara A. Robinson is one. And one of my dear, dear friends, mentor and biological brothers that I have adopted is Dr. Cecil Murray, he and many others have walked the walk of civil rights, have had their lives threatened worked two and three jobs to get their education, and kept the church going so that we can have what we as ame's have today. Dr. Murray and I are planning to have him and some of FAME ministers and laity come out to Montana for a revival meeting in the next couple of years. He writes me and encourages me to continue the fight not just for blacks but for all oppressed people. God bless you, Mary and thank you for letting me write such a long post. If it were not for the KKK I would not be ame;-) God uses all things for good.
-- Anonymous, December 08, 2003
God bless. In the words of Edith Ming.........."PRESS ON!"
-- Anonymous, December 09, 2003