Seeing equal ... to conquer racism

Last October, the Christian Science churches in Dallas, Texas, sponsored five public events and arranged three television broadcasts to encourage racial harmony in their community. The week-long program included two Christian Science lectures; a panel discussion on "Praying About Prejudice"; a recital by coloratura soprano Osceola Davis; and an address to civic leaders (to which the general public was also invited) by Melba Beals. Ms. Beals told how, through faith in God, she overcame the racism and prejudice she had experienced as one of the students who helped to integrate little Rock Central High School in Arkansas in 1957.

Ms. Beals, whose experiences as a civil-rights advocate have been chronicled in her latest book Warriors Don't Cry (Pocket Books) and in a forthcoming big-screen movie, spoke with the Sentinel shortly after the Dallas gathering.

"In the racial and political climate in which we live in the United States," she told us, "it's too easy to be seduced by an initial rush of negative thought about other people. We see them as less than we are, or wrong, or even inhuman because their skin color is different. They are clothed in different garments, speak with an accent, have a unique way of worshiping, or differ in their point of view on any number of subjects. These are the thoughts that shut down our smiles and divide us. It's when we lose sight of our oneness with each other and with God that we lose ourselves.

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In next week's SENTINEL
January 15, 1996

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