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Every time a white mob lynched a black person, they lynched Jesus.

Updated: Mar 27


Exploring the Lyrics

The lyrics of Mr. Charlie poetically depict the tale of racial discrimination and bigotry prevalent in American society during the 1960s. The song portrays a fictional character named Mr. Charlie, representative of an archetypal white authority figure who perpetuates the systemic racism of that era. The line “Mr. Charlie told me so” implies a societal indoctrination that justifies and perpetuates racism.

The song goes on to describe the struggles faced by the African American community, emphasizing the importance of unity and overcoming the divide created by race. Through poignant lyrics and a catchy melody, Grateful Dead brings attention to the need for change and social justice, urging listeners to confront the injustices prevalent in society.

[more in the article link below]

 November 13, 2023  / By Kari Middleton

"From the mouths of infants and children..."

Lightning Hopkins' storyteller version of another Charlie...I'll sit forever at the feet of a musician that spins yarns while dispensing tunes...

--It's Pigpen's, so I borrowed this vid from another place...


Theologian James Cone (1938–2018) draws a parallel between Jesus’ crucifixion and the lynching of Black Americans:  

Theologically speaking, Jesus was the “first lynchee,” who foreshadowed all the lynched black bodies on American soil. He was crucified by the same principalities and powers that lynched black people in America. Because God was present with Jesus on the cross and thereby refused to let Satan and death have the last word about his meaning, God was also present at every lynching in the United States. God saw what whites did to innocent and helpless blacks and claimed their suffering as God’s own. God transformed lynched black bodies into the re-crucified body of Christ. Every time a white mob lynched a black person, they lynched Jesus. The lynching tree is the cross in America. When American Christians realize that they can meet Jesus only in the crucified bodies in our midst, they will encounter the real scandal of the cross.  

God must therefore know in a special way what poor blacks are suffering in America because God’s son was lynched in Jerusalem.… The lynching tree is a metaphor for white America’s crucifixion of black people. It is the window that best reveals the religious meaning of the cross in our land. In this sense, black people are Christ figures, not because they wanted to suffer but because they had no choice. Just as Jesus had no choice in his journey to Calvary, so black people had no choice about being lynched. The evil forces of the Roman state and of white supremacy in America willed it. [1]  

Jennifer Garcia Bashaw charts a path forward for Christians to stop racial scapegoating: 

The final step we must take to abolish the scapegoating of Black Americans is to raise up the voices of the victims, to hear their experiences and learn from their resiliency. We need to listen to Black historians and Bible scholars, Black theologians and ethicists, Black social advocates and pastors, Black artists and poets. They will be the lights that lead the church from ignorance to understanding; they will show us how to live into the inclusive and liberating kingdom of God rather than the empire of domination and power…. We have a long way to go before our community resembles the beloved community of Christ. Those of us who have participated in, allowed, or ignored racism must walk the painful road of confession and atonement before we can mend the rift in the body of Christ that we caused….  

God’s power does not enslave, or lynch, or choke, or disenfranchise. It preserves life, lifting up the needs and voices of the oppressed and giving them dignity. This is what Jesus did in his life and death and what God’s spirit does in the resurrection and through the message of the Gospels. We who are followers of Jesus must stop our scapegoating and the racism that powers it if we are to walk on that resurrection road behind him. [2]  



Referring to the cross, the late James Cone wrote, “Unfortunately, during the course of 2,000 years of Christian history, this symbol of salvation has been detached from any reference to the ongoing suffering and oppression of human beings.” Indeed, the cross has lost much of its original meaning. It’s become a hollow and feel good trinket suitable for all occasions. It can be made in precious gold, adorned with diamonds or left tastefully rustic. It’s the perfect reminder that we’ll never need to suffer because Jesus suffered for us.

[More in the next article]


This is one of several 2024 posts I've done and am still doing helping me and hopefully others consider what this act in history means...personally and societally...


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