In this brief time of radio, we hear Al Johnson acknowledging in his own words his past racism. He acknowledges that his saving faith in Jesus Christ has brought transformation in his worldview and lifestyle. He is now a functioning 20+ year member of a church that reflects his biblical convictions, racial attitudes and total worldview.
As a St. Louis attorney, Al confesses that he was once faced a racial problem in his heart. But his conversion to Christ years ago made Al, as the Bible promised (II Corinthians 5:17), “a new creation.” For more than 20 years he has intentionally been a part of New City Fellowship in St. Louis, MO, a highly racially mixed congregation, having a passion for racial reconciliation and justice for all.
He has begun Covenant Legal Services to assist low income people in achieving fairness through our legal system, certainly including African Americans in need.
In this brief time of radio, Attny Johnson provides a historic perspective to the sometimes lingering tensions between African-Americans and our legal system. His research revealed that in the early and middle part of the 20th century, 3,000 blacks were lynched in our country with few or no convictions … and often even no charges … and thus no justice … for their murders.
He cites the tragic example that happened in Philadelphia, MS (reenacted in the movie “Mississippi Burning”). In the 1960’s three visiting civil rights workers were murdered by the Ku Klux Klan. Their bodies were covered up in an earthen dam near Philadelphia. One of the murderers was a local law enforcement official who lied about the tragedy – and his part in it – to the whole world.
In 2005 Al attended the final trial of these murders wherein a semblance of justice was finally achieved.
The classic movie “To Kill a Mockingbird” also reflects that era in our nation’s history.
And he reports that racial conditions in Philadelphia are wonderfully and radically improved!
[On a personal note, in the early part of the 20th century, my (HHH) maternal grandfather, J. L. “Preacher” Hughes, was pastor of a church in the Philadelphia, MS area.]
To those in First Baptist Church of Ferguson, MO (and others): a moving story about fellow church member and Philadelphia native Jim Bounds (now in Heaven) is included in this brief radio conversation.