Providence Today: 12 Score & Three Years Ago (Full Series)
Dr. Peter Lillback:
Welcome to Providence Today. We’re here at valley forge. We remember when Washington came here, he had to clear the land and build all those huts for his men. In the same way, our friends at Mercury One are clearing the land so that America will relearn the story of American history and the powerful role of faith and providence in the formation of our nation. They recently created a popup museum in Dallas at the studios of Las Colinas. This is entitled with 12 score and 3 years ago. The Providence form has a special relationship with Glen Beck and the Liberty tree. Let’s go out to Dallas and learn more about 12 score and 3 years ago.
Here we are at the museum and in my office, it usually sits right next to my ask on this glass windows so people could see it, but I wanted to make sure everybody could see it here. The Liberty tree stump, which is the greatest, just the greatest. Come on in. We’re doing this museum thing that we hope that we can do is we’re not just teaching history here, we really want to show the pattern of history. And that’s why history is so important because it leaves a pattern of human behavior. We don’t collectively progress past that, we have to individually learn to progress past our human nature and there’s this pattern and when we started looking at the slave pattern because we’re very involved with freeing slaves all around the world and the Nazarene Fund is really involved in the middle east.
We didn’t think we would find the exact pattern that we did, but every step of the way, in fact this tour, one of the turning points is a hallway that shows the then and now, the pictures, the engravings from them and the of now, and they are identical. We were shocked that one of the pictures of the torture of slaves in the engraving is their bodies are in exactly the same position as today. And hopefully this will help people take action and want to be an abolitionist because I think that’s the one thing really that Americans can unite on. I think the whole world can unite on that. We’re so divided, but who says slavery is good? “Hey, let’s stop slavery.” “No, I don’t want to do that.” Everybody wants to do that and it’s the one thing that we can unite on.
Hey guys, I’m Dave Barton, welcome to a little pop-up museum we have it’s called 12 score & 3, The Unfinished Promise of Unity, goes back to the fact that our founding father set forth, they promise that all men are created equal. We haven’t quite got there yet, but we’re working on it. What we do in this museum, we have a number of artifacts back to the 16 hundreds up there today. We actually track slavery and what’s happening with it and showed that it’s really a human problem. In America, we often consider a white on black problem, I’m sorry, it’s not, every race has been enslaved and every race is enslaved others and it’s still going today.
It’s really important to acknowledge that we’re taught that slavery has very deep racial based issues. The prime reason for slavery is racism and that’s certainly not true. Far and wide through history, political conquest has been the major motive. We can see that all the way back to Rome and all the way through the Bible. It’s really important not to see slavery as just a race issue, because then you can easily dismiss yourself as not being a part of the issue if you’re not a part of that race, but every civilization in history has either been slaves themselves or owned slaves so it really does not make it a race issue, it’s a mankind issue. We’ve all fallen short of the glory of God and we’re all susceptible to the evil of slavery and we can’t dismiss ourselves as not being a part of the problem, but it all comes back to one way or another, more or less the economic principle of slavery because you are not a person, you are a disposable labor, you’re disposable means of whatever I want from you.
We look at even slavery and 350 years, the African slave trade 12.7 million were taken in voluntarily out of Africa that came to other nations. Now America received 2.5% of those slaves, 46% went to Brazil, 26% went to great Britain, 10% went to Jamaica, we nearly only hear about the 2.5% in America, but it was all over the world.
The purpose of 12 score & 3 years ago, is to activate today to the problems that often we consigned to history. We think about slavery and we think about the founding fathers in that era, but the thing is back in 1853, it was estimated there were 7.5 million slaves worldwide today, right now there’s 40 million. The question is, if we’re going to look back in anger on history and say, those guys didn’t do enough, well, what are we doing today to solve the same problem? This museum is all about learning about the past so that we can affect tomorrow so we can break the chains and count us free and become modern day abolitionists because it’s still a problem. History is today and tomorrow will look back on us and ask, did we do enough?
The message of this museum is that, it’s a message of if we work together, unity is better than divisiveness. We don’t ever want this to happen again and that’s why I think it’s so important that we know and learn our history.
Right over here, we have Teddy Roosevelt standing next to Booker T. Washington at the White House. As you can see on the bottom, it says equality, so it was really important. It was the first time in history that a white president sat next to a black civil rights leader at the same dinner table. It was the time that we finally said, “Hey, this is equality.” And Teddy was repeatedly attacked by the media, ushered us into the civil rights movement. And right here, there is the equality button. This was a commemorative pin that highlighted this event. This was in 1903, this pin was handed out to the public.
You look at George Washington, Washington is an enigma for slavery today. This week, they’re taking down a mural, George Washington and a school because you can’t have him, he’s a slave owner. People really don’t understand much about history at that point. Washington was a lifelong advocate of abolition of slavery. He did things that other slave owners did not do, he paid a slave for their work because he didn’t like having slaves. He lived in Virginia, Virginia would not allow him to free his own slaves. In 1782, Virginia passed a law that had a loophole says, “Okay, when you die, we’ll let you free your slaves.” When he died, he did free his slaves because that’s what the law allowed but then they came back and said, “What were we thinking?” They changed the law back, when Jefferson died, he was not allowed to free his slaves.
Jefferson like Washington, they both wore lifelong fighters against slavery, even though they owned slaves so they lived in a period of time that it was out of their control quite frankly, actually there’s an example of one of their neighbors of Jefferson and Washington’s neighbors, he owned 700 slaves and that he became a Christian. A preacher went through a Methodist preacher, he got saved in 1791, Robert Carter, he freed to 700 slaves, 70 years later, they’re still not free even though he freed them all, that’s the state of Virginia. When people look at people like Washington and Jefferson and others, when you read their writings, they’re very clearly they hate slavery. Thomas Jefferson said, “If we don’t deal with this evil, we will have a civil war.” I mean that’s engraved in stone from the book he did in 1781. He said, “God will not bless this nation if we don’t end slavery.”
He worked to end it in the White House, he actually came with one vote of internet nationally in 1784, he introduced a law to end slavery nationally, missed it, but one vote. You look at Washington and Jefferson, others like that, today we judge them on the wrong standards, you have to judge them by what was going on at their time and they were so much further ahead and pushing for equality, didn’t get what they wanted and they’re not perfect guys, we know from the Bible, all men of sin come short to the glory of God, but that doesn’t change the fact that they were trying to move the nation in the right direction and Washington and slavery, don’t be simplistic and buy the nonsense today that he owns slaves therefore he’s an evil guy. He owns slaves, he did not want to own slaves. And a matter of fact, his wife, Martha owns slaves by Virginia state law, you could never free a dowry slave.
A dowry slave is a slave that came from the wife’s side. He could free his slaves, but he couldn’t free her slaves on his death. That’s complicated stuff, it sounds like, it’s really not. It’s really simple, go back and look at people in the time in which they lived and see how far ahead of their times were. Washington was ahead of his time on the issue of race and slavery. And the declaration of independence, Jefferson did the original draft of that, there were five on the committee chosen to write that and John Adams said, “Hey Tom, you’re the guy, you’re really good on this. Jefferson’s not a great speaker, but he was a great writer.” And so Jefferson is the guy who did the initial draft and then John Adams and Franklin made a few changes.
Robert Livingston and Roger Sherman didn’t make hardly any changes at all and when you look at the original draft, it starts out with 161 words, it set forth six principles from American government, follows it up with a bunch of grievances. “Hey, Great Britain, you’re violating these principles so we’re splitting.” And the longest grievance Jefferson Rowe, was an annunciation of the slave trade. In 1773, you had Rhode Island and Connecticut and Pennsylvania, Massachusetts that passed anti-slavery laws. In 1774 king Georgia III vetoed every American anti-slavery law and said, “No, no, no, you’re part of the British empire. We have slavery, you’ll have slavery.” That’s when people like Benjamin Rush and Ben Franklin, signers and declaration said, “Let’s not be part of the empire anymore. We want to be anti-slavery.” And that sentiment was there and Jefferson, the longest grievance he wrote in the declaration said, “We’ve tried to do things to end slavery. He keeps imposing it on us against our will.”
And that was the longest, it was longer than anything about tax savings representation or anything else. And it didn’t make it in the final draft of the declaration because at the top it says the unanimous declaration of 13 United States of America. They knew that if we weren’t all United on what was in that document, Great Britain would pick us off and turn one of us against another and hit an issue that somebody was upset over. Everything in it was unanimous and Jefferson said that North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia did not want to end the slave trade and although 10 did three didn’t so it didn’t make it in the final draft of the declaration, but Jefferson’s own hand, he writes it out. And he writes, when he talks about African Americans, he says, men, he does not call them property.
Those in south that they’re not people they’re property. Jefferson said men, he wrote it in capital letters. The only word, other than title that he put in capital letters and he said the so-called Christian King of Great Britain won’t let us end in slavery and he underlined Christian, it’s like this guy’s a hypocrite. And he says, he’s Christian, he’s not loudest in slavery. That was Jefferson’s strong personal feelings. Didn’t make it in the final draft, but it wasn’t because he didn’t want it to be there because he drafted it and that’s what he wanted and just didn’t make it because of North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.
I was never taught that about the first draft. I’ve had that draft of the declaration that’s from 1826, I’ve had that engraving for years and it wasn’t until I was just sitting here and it was down in a case that I looked down and I went, wait a minute. Why is men capitalized that I looked at it and went, oh my gosh, look at this. It’s never, ever told.
Just represented by the cabin here. This is meant to represent these slave quarters, the cabins that these people would be forced to live in, even though they were trapped in slavery and bondage, they had this light inside of them waiting to get out, waiting for that chance at freedom to come out and change the world and they did. Each and every one of these people, although trapped in horrible circumstances, once they gained their freedom, they were able to go out and each individually changed the world and then influenced other people to change the world so that’s what we want to leave people with here, that there is hope and they can take an active part into making a change in other people’s lives and to taking this message out and saving people from situations much like this that are occurring now all over the world.
One of the reasons why we have Harriet Beecher Stowe so prominently displayed is she told the story and the biggest problem abolitionists have always had is getting people to look at it and to tell the story. I know, you know the story of the Liberty Bell, that’s why it’s famous. Trying to get people to look at something that they think it’s too big, I can’t do anything about it has always been the biggest problem.
And again, if you look at it historically here we go in a place to where everybody’s talking about, the founders didn’t do enough, they just didn’t do enough. Well, what’s our excuse because it’s worse. It’s far worse and in 250 years, are people going to say they knew their phones were being made by slave, they knew their shoes were being made by slaves, they knew there were 40 million slaves through the sex trade and through groups like ISIS and Boko Haram. They knew how come they didn’t do anything because we’re the same people that we were 400 years ago. It’s so ugly we don’t want to look at it. Just tell the story, look at it, have your friends look at it. That’s a big help.
Dr. Peter Lillback:
What can you do? One thing you certainly can do to help the cause, is to go to the Mercury One website and determine to give toward this modern day effort to abolish slavery on the global stage. What important act that could be? Another thing you could do is to come and donate to the Providence forum. You can do it online at providenceforum.org. All of this working together can make an extraordinary impact. Remember the widows might small, it seems, but Jesus used it as the model of giving the changes the world. Share with us in our work, we really appreciate it. This is Providence Today.