Did You Know?

Two men and zero women have been

executed in the United States in 2019.

5 Killed in Aurora, Illinois
Five individuals were shot and killed at a manufacturing plant in Aurora, Illinois. Five police officers were injured and the gunman was eventually killed by the police. On the day of the shooting, the shooter was being fired from his position at the plant, where he had worked for the last 15 years. Please pray for the families of the deceased. Please pray for healing for the injured. Please pray for peace.
4 Killed in Kashmir
Four Indian soldiers have been killed in India-administered Kashmir, following a clash with militants. Recently, in the same region, over 40 others were killed in a suicide attack. Pakistani and Indian forces have been battling over the area. Please pray for the families of the deceased. Please pray for peace.
Flooded Gold Mine in Zimbabwe
Nine miners have been rescued alive from a flooded, illegal gold mine in Zimbabwe, while the bodies of 24 others have been recovered. Flooding occurring after a dam burst. While nine have been rescued, dozens of others remain missing and are feared dead. Please pray for the families of the deceased. Please pray for the missing miners and for their families.
9 Killed in Chittagong, Bangladesh
At least nine individuals have been killed, and over 50 others injured, after a fire in a slum in Chittagong, Bangladesh. The cause of the fires is suspected to be a short circuit. Please pray for the families of the deceased. Please pray for healing for the injured. Please pray for all those affected.
Force Withdraw Agreement in Yemen
Government and rebel forces have reached an agreement to withdraw forces around the port of Hudaydah. The withdraw is part of a ceasefire agreement reached last year. The conflict began in 2015, and has resulted in thousands of civilian deaths and injuries. Please pray for peace in the region. Please pray for the families of the deceased and for healing for the injured.
7 Killed in Haiti
At least seven individuals have been killed as a result of protests against the government in Haiti. Protesters are protesting the soaring inflation and accuse the government of corruption and misappropriation of funds. The protesters have also asked for the resignation of President Jovenel Moise. The President has rejected the idea. Please pray for the families of the deceased. Pleas pray for peace.
17 Killed in New Delhi, India
At least 17 individuals have been killed after a fire in a hotel in New Delhi, India. Thirty-five others were rescued from the fire and 19 were taken to the hospital for injured. The cause of the fire is under investigation. Please pray for the families of the deceased. Please pray for healing for the injured.
Heat Wave in Australia
A record heat wave, following a record drought, in Australia have farmers, and others, worried. The drought and heat have caused animals to die and worries that crops will not be able to be planted. Across the globe, the United States is experiencing record cold temperatures. Please pray for all those affected by extreme temperatures. Please pray for their safety and health.

Every February, children throughout the United States are taught the story of Rosa Parks, the black women who refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama to a white person.  Her refusal, her determination to make a stand - or in this case, take a seat - for equal rights led to a cascade of events.  Rosa’s stand - seat - is inspirational, but did you know that she was not the first to refuse to give up her seat?

 

In fact, Rosa’s lawsuit was not even the one which eventually led to the desegregation of buses.  It was the lawsuit of Browder v. Gayle, a federal lawsuit which led to the Alabama being ordered, first by a district court, then by the Supreme Court of the United States, to desegregate the bus system, as segregation violated the 14th Amendment right to protection for equal treatment.

 

Approximately two months after Rosa began her lawsuit against the state of Alabama, civil rights activists became concerned.  Rosa’s lawsuit was likely to be stalled through appeals in state courts.  While the bus boycott was going strong, activists knew that they would not be able to sustain the boycott for years, thus they sought a way to take a segregation case to the federal courts.

 

Fred Gray (a black, civil rights lawyer), E.D. Nixon (president of the NAACP in Montgomery), and Clifford Durr (a white lawyer and civil rights activists) began researching how to bring a case to federal courts.  Five women were approached: Claudette Colvin, Aurelia Browder Coleman, Susie McDonald, Mary Louise Smith, and Jeanette Reese.  All these women had been refused to give up their seats on a bus and faced discrimination.  They agreed to be plaintiffs in a federal civil action lawsuit, allowing them to bypass the Alabama court system.

 

Browder v. Gayle was filed in US District Court on February 1, 1956.  On June 13, 1956, the District Court ruled “the enforced segregation of black and white passengers on motor buses operating in the City of Montgomery violates the Constitution and laws of the United States.”  On November 13, 1956, the District Court’s ruling was upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States.  The Supreme Court also ordered the state of Alabama to desegregate their buses.  On December 20, W.A. Gayle, mayor of Montgomery was handed an official notice by federal marshals to desegregate the buses.

 

The lawsuit was named for Aurelia Browder Coleman, who was 35 when she refused to give up her seat, seven months before Rosa.  (Read more about Aurelia here)  Claudette Colvin was another well-known participant in the lawsuit.  She was just 15, compared to 42-year-old Rosa, when she refused to give up her seat.  Claudette was ultimately thought to be too young to build a lawsuit around, and she was also considered a bit of a trouble maker; she was and unwed teenager who was pregnant.  (Read more about Claudette here)  Mary Louise Smith was 18 when she took her seat in protest.  She was also though to be too young, and there were rumors that her father was an alcoholic.  (Read more about Mary here)  Susie McDonald and Jeanette Reese also participated in the lawsuit, although Jeanette quickly withdrew from the Browder v. Gayle due to pressure from the white community.  (Sadly, there is little additional information available about Susie and Jeanette)

 

Without all these brave women - Rosa, Aurelia, Claudette, Mary, Susie, and Jeanette - who knows what history may look like today.  During the month of February, Black History Month, it is important to look back at incidents such as these.  As uncomfortable as remembering these events may be, they are party of our history as Americans.  To move forward in the present, we must remember the past, but not dwell int it, and, if possible, right the wrongs that have been made.

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Only through a relationship with Jesus Christ can anyone hope to separate themselves from the power of sin in this world. Through Him, all things are made new. For a complete listing of readings, please download our Bible Study.

 

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