Tag Archives: Paul Harvey

The Color of Christ in “Bombingham”

Four little girls 
Who went to Sunday School that day
And never came back at home at all–
But left instead
Their blood upon the wall.
~Langston Hughes
 

I recently purchased The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America by Edward J. Blum & Paul Harvey.  The prologue begins with the story of the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama on September 15, 1963 when four little girls were murdered by segregationists: Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair,  Carol Robertson and Cynthia Wesley.  The second page bore the image below, a stained glass Christ without a face, lost during the bombing of the church.  Striking.  What could this image have meant then?  What does it say to us now?

images

Edward J. Blum and Paul Harvey detail in The Chronicle Review how the image of Jesus has been made and remade in American history, contrasting the socially colored black Jesus with short hair portrayed in now historic 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama with that of a replica of Christus, an eleven foot high chiseled all- white marble image of Jesus Christ with long flowing hair adopted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  The writers suggest that this election cycle’s candidates are just as different as these two images of Christ and invite us to examine our ideas about the color of Christ.