Piney Grove Baptist celebrates Black History Month

Published 6:36 pm Tuesday, February 25, 2020

From left to right are Andrea Goodwyn, Pamela Brown and Christelle Johnson opening worship in Piney Grove Baptist Church on Sunday morning. They were accompanied by Dawnelle Johnson on organ. — Stephen H. Cowles Tidewater News

Local author, poet aims remarks at church youth

FRANKLIN

When Latorial Faison stepped up to the microphone in Piney Grove Baptist on Sunday morning, she called the youth choir of the church to sit in the first two rows because the children in the congregation were the focus of her remarks. The occasion for the local author and poet’s visit was the annual celebration of Black History Month.

“God is preparing you for what is to come,” said Faison, who then referenced both 1 John 4:4 (“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (NIV) and 1 John 16:33: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (NIV)

She continued, “When celebrating Black History Month, it’s hard to ignore where we came from,” referring to the slave trade, which brought Africans to Colonial America against their wills.

While the institution of slavery has long been abolished, Faison noted, “Many people are still not free in their minds, thinking and living … Overcoming is in you and me.”

As an example of the first, she said, “We must overcome what we failed to do.” Specifically, that too many black youth do not know enough of their history beyond the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. or Rosa Parks.”

To that, Faison added, “If you don’t raise your children, other people will raise them.”

“Martin Luther King said that there is a time that is ‘too late,’” and said being in jail is just such an example. Yes, there’s a possibility to be saved and turn one’s life around,” but she added, “Why wait for God to change your mind? Learn from the mistakes of others.”

Another way to train one’s mind is to regularly be in church and to read: “Your ancestors helped pave the way to literacy. If you can read, no one can take that away from you.”

“Overcoming is in your DNA. Look to your parents. We know the way because we traveled the way,” said Faison, who also urged the young people not to hurt themselves — not to play with their lives — by “hooking up with the wrong people.”

Finally, she told everyone, “You were made for such a time as this. Don’t discredit yourself. Don’t discount yourself. Overcoming is in you!”