There Comes a Time
Today at church, our minister spoke of the darkness and hate that filled our own community’s history. We live in a northern New Jersey town that you often think is free from the ugliness of our country’s past. He reminded us, however, of the legacy that even this town must bear.
The following are two of the shocking facts that he shared today:
As recently as 1945, our town’s realtors operated with an understanding that homes would be sold to only white, Christians. 1945 people. That is not that long ago.
And if you attend the exhibit at our local historical society, you can see a Klu Klux Klan uniform worn by members in a group that existed in our village.
As I sat and listened, I was shocked but also reminded of how full our country is of this history. If this town, fully in the north, bears this type of history, it is painful to remember what was going on to our south.
Our minister went on to remind us that we must remain awake and aware of the social injustices that exist today. He told us that Martin Luther King once said, “There comes a time when silence is betrayal.” King was referencing the Vietnam War when he said this but of course, the message applies to any and all injustice.
So today when we stop to remember Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy, let us remember to speak out in the silence. Only then will the injustice stop.
Beautiful. And have we talked about New Jersey before? I’m from Rockaway, then did all my schooling in Roxbury, college at Rutgers, and my parents now live in Blairstown.
And I have heard that KKK members have been over there from PA, but not in years. I was horrified when I heard that. Beyond. My parents have only had a peaceful life there.
Thank you! I don’t think we have although I have thought to mention it to you when I have read your mentions of NJ! We are in Ridgewood (in Bergen County)and I’m afraid I am not a native so these towns aren’t familiar to me. Where are they? Close?
This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing. It’s so good to get those ghosts out of the dark and into the light.
A personal footnote and haunting family story to bring this one step closer, because we all find this so unbelievable today. My granduncle, Irish and Catholic Frank Martin, who eventually was the long-time postmaster in Midland Park, NJ had a cross burned on his lawn on Erie Avenue. I think of him and his young-at-the-time family, and the circumstances, every time I pass the house. (I also wonder at how my father as a little boy and a grandparent I never had the chance to meet, likely gathered in a house I now pass regularly, but that’s a different story!)
Very well said, Stacey. We had a great dinner table conversation about modern day injustices last night and I was reminded of how important it is to have these discussions with our children.
This is so true. I was trying to explain why I was home from work on Monday to my 3 yr old, and I just couldn’t come up with words to explain why people would be so ugly to each other, that Dr King would have to work to stop it. Interesting side note, our local library is expanding and so it needed to purchase the property next door. Turns out we had to condemn it to clear the title, because it STILL had a covenant stating that houses in that neighborhood could only be sold to white people. Obviously that isn’t enforced any more, but still — it’s 2014!!!