WASHINGTON D.C. – In honor of Black History Month, Museum of the Bible has released a 10-day YouVersion reading plan that explores the role the Bible played in the lives and achievements of African Americans. Entitled “Black History Month and the Bible,” the reading plan is available exclusively through the YouVersion Bible App and on Museum of the Bible’s website and social media accounts.
“Black History Month is a time to remember and celebrate the contributions of Black Americans to the history and culture of the United States,” says Vice President of Museum of the Bible Steven Bickley. “This reading plan is an opportunity for people everywhere to explore the stories of these remarkable individuals and how the Bible inspired and gave them hope.”
The Bible has a complicated legacy in the history of Black Americans, especially because it was used to justify the enslavement of millions in the colonial era up until the time of the Civil War. The Bible also gave hope to both abolitionists and those who were enslaved, providing powerful language and spiritual guidance for those fighting for the cause of freedom.
Frederick Douglass, a former slave and leading abolitionist, invoked the Bible to urge white Americans to ponder the plight of those enslaved. In his powerful speech “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” Douglass quoted from Psalm 137, which is a lament of the Judeans who had been driven from their home.
The reading plan features notable educators, Booker T. Washington and Mary McLeod Bethune, and the influence of the Bible in their work and lives. Washington, along with his role in founding the Tuskegee Institute, also started a Bible training program. Bethune for her part, believed that Jesus’ teaching of “love thy neighbor” could “transform the world.”
Also included is Thomas Andrew Dorsey, the famous musician and hymnist, who wrote inspiring biblically-based lyrics that became anthems for the civil rights movement.
The lives of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr., are also highlighted. Dr. King quoted from the Bible constantly, including most famously in the iconic “I Have a Dream Speech” when he quoted the powerful and poetic language from Isaiah 40. Rosa Parks, a hero of the civil rights movement, said in her autobiography that Psalm 23 and Psalm 27 were her favorite Bible passages. Parks was honored in 2013 by President Barack Obama, who quoted 1 Corinthians 13:12 in his remarks.
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson are the two most modern figures included. Sec. Rice often quoted Romans 5 as her inspiration for rejoicing in times of suffering and struggle as she served in the White House under President George W. Bush; Wilson works to bridge the divides in today’s world by citing 1 Corinthians 13.
Although many more stories could be told, Museum of the Bible’s YouVersion plan provides a glimpse of ten stories that show the depth and breadth of how the Bible has impacted the lives of Black Americans throughout American history.
You can access all of this series by signing up for the email version at http://www.museumofthebible.
Museum of the Bible – Museum of the Bible is an innovative, global, educational institution whose purpose is to invite all people to engage with the Bible. In 2017, Museum of the Bible, which aims to be the most technologically advanced museum in the world, will open its 430,000-square-foot nonprofit museum just three blocks from the Capitol in Washington, D.C. A digital fly-through and a 360-degree hardhat tour of the museum are available on youtube.com/museumofBible.