53 Prospect Park W
One of the many subtle myths of American history is to ignore not only the persistence of racism in America, but also the continuity of racial justice activism, instead highlighting a few periods (abolition, the civil rights era of the 60s, for example) and failing to see the connections between them.
In between, activism continues, though either out of the public eye or, like the anti-lynching crusade and the Niagara Movement, largely forgotten except in families who have kept the commitment alive. Mothers and fathers have passed on their activism through both literal and institutional families. Another continuity: both trust and tensions between generations, and between Black and white activists. Ethical Culture has, as one example, been a home for anti-racist work in many periods of our history.
Each time there are major advances in racial justice, there is a major backlash reinforcing racism. But even in those tough periods, the tradition is passed on.
Many of our Ethical Culture figures from Felix Adler on have been involved in anti-racism work. A few, such as David Muzzey with his participation in the white-washing of the Reconstruction era, have helped enable backlashes. We have been a mixture of reliable and unreliable.
Our Clergy Leader, Jone Johnson Lewis, will reflect on the reliability and unreliability of racial justice in America, and what it means for those of us today committed to anti-racist work.
Music by DuPree, accompanied by Barry Kornhauser.
Our Sundays begin at 11 am and end about 12:30, with time for socializing afterwards. Feel free to bring some snacks to share.
Our Ethics Matters theme for February is Trust: the practice of being reliable and relying on ourselves and others.