What the 4th of July Means to Me

By Ronald Court

A.M.E. Zon ChurchExactly 126 years ago today in 1881, Booker T. Washington opened the doors to the Tuskegee Normal & Industrial Institute for the first time. He had arrived a month before, but mindfully selected July 4th as opening day, holding the first class in the African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Zion church (replica opp.).

Booker T. Washington thus established his school “under the auspices of both religion and patriotism.” Like the founding fathers and other great American leaders (some quoted below) both before and after his time, he seemed to understand the uniquely beneficial power these forces, in just proportion to one another, hold for us all.

“We all can pray. We all should pray. We should ask the fulfillment of god’s will. We should ask for courage, wisdom, for the quietness of soul which comes alone to them who place their lives in His hands. Harry Truman, 33rd US President

“America was founded by people who believed that God was their rock of safety. I recognize we must be cautious in claiming that God is on our side, but I think it’s all right to keep asking if we’re on His side.”
Ronald Reagan, 40th US President

“Education is useless without the Bible. The Bible was America’s basic textbook in all fields. God’s word, contained in the Bible, has furnished all necessary rules to direct our conduct.”
Noah Webster, “The Schoolmaster of the Nation” 1758-1843

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