Scene from Nashville Civil Rights protests.
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Title:Scene from Nashville Civil Rights protests

The Nashville sit-in movement quickly gained momentum and by the third sit-in on February 20th there were 350 students flooding downtown stores like that of Woolworth’s. With the extent of student involvement reaching numbers of 350, it is no wonder that fear began to ensue, resulting in the first incident of violence on February 27th, 1960 during the fourth sit-in. On this day 79 students were arrested. Remembering the ferocity of fear and racist actions taken against these students employing non-violent resistance, John Lewis explains, “Woolworth’s was the place where the first violence occurred….Pulling people, pushing people over the counter, throwing things, grinding out cigarettes on people, pouring ketchup in their hair, that type of thing. Then the cops moved in and started arresting people.”

In this scenario, prayerfully, we identify not with those who grind their cigarettes on people, but with those who are persecuted. For as this week’s lectionary text, Psalm 27, helps further unpack, God is not a God of the oppressor, but instead, profoundly, is a God of the oppressed.

Building:Jean and Alexander Heard Library
Country:United States

Scripture:Psalm 27
Lectionary links:CLent02
General Subject:Civil Rights

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Copyright Source:Vanderbilt University Special Collections
Copyright Permission:This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial ShareAlike 3.0 License. In short: you are free to use and to share the file for non-commercial purposes under the conditions that you appropriately attribute it, and that you distribute it only under a license compatible with this one. For uses other than the above, contact the Divinity Library at
Attribution:Scene from Nashville Civil Rights protests, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. [retrieved October 20, 2020]. Original source: Vanderbilt University Special Collections.
Record Number:54243 Last Updated: 2010-12-21 18:27:21 Record Created: 2009-03-19 13:16:53
Institution:Vanderbilt University Unit: Collection: Art in the Christian Tradition