History lesson: Learning to take abuse as a civil rights marcher

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You probably remember seeing news footage of civil rights marchers of the ’50s and ’60s undergoing abuse, threats, and violence.

You definitely know the stories of how the civil rights activists of the time were set upon by dogs, fire hoses, and angry mobs. And how they faced down these threats with dignity and nonviolent resistance. 

But did you ever think about how those men and women prepared for that challenge? It’s not an easy thing to turn the other cheek when you are being threatened and abused.

Rev. Bill Owens, CAAP’s founder, was a college student and activist during the civil rights movement, and he remembers what it was like to march with Dr. King and other civil rights icons. He also remembers the training they went through to prepare for it.

As he explains in the video above, “In the training, they would knock you off the counter; come and hit you upside the head. You had to prove you could sit there and take a person knocking your down. And you could not fight back.”

It took tremendous courage and faith to follow such a path, and it ended up changing our country for the better.

As Bill points out in the video, they weren’t marching for themselves. They were marching for America. That sense of higher purpose is one of the things that sets the civil rights movement of the past apart.

That same sense of selfless sacrifice is what we need today as we work to put America back on the right path. These lessons from Black history help inspire our own work to this day. How can we be afraid of standing for Biblical truth when we have this example before us?

As Bill said in a recent interview with the Katy Times, “With my age and experience, you fear nobody because you come from a place where you know what you’re talking about.”

That will always be CAAP – unafraid to speak, rooted in a noble history, and looking to a better future.