Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Rev. Robert Browning: People's belief in themselves can liberate them from discrimination

From Ft. Myers FL-

I grew up on the wrong side of the tracks in Philadelphia, attended Wharton School of finance after high school and was told after the first year, "not to come back until I wanted to study." That gave me my early racial/social/intellectual shock and was fortified by serving four years in the Air Force during the Korean War. Working as a laborer and apprentice carpenter taught me all labor is honorable.

I returned to college and seminary more focused, as a journeyman carpenter/builder. These experiences taught me that when people know they have the freedom to be whom God created them to be, they should function on that belief, rather than accepting who others say they are or who they could only be. This determined that my ministry was in helping people believe their limitations are only restricted in their pursuit of fulfillment by their quest for education. The difference between occupation and vocation is our belief God has called us to this place, and we have an intense hunger to learn.

With this belief in my mind, I came to Fort Myers to build St. Hilary's Episcopal Church in 1964 as its priest. In talking to Pastor Isadore Edwards and other early founders of the local NAACP, we believed progress in equality would not move ahead by just wishing. Basically, we saw people living in Dunbar, believing that they were restricted and must obey, would function on that level. They were told they would not grow and be free until they "got over their slave mentality." Some people could not accept their equality as human beings. Many felt immobile, angry and helpless.

More here-


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