by Larry Hamilton
A disappointing message about the declining prospects for saving the Loveland Predestinarian Baptist Church made me pause in reflection upon my personal remembrances and the family legacy associated with that church.
I had attended the Loveland Predestinarian Baptist Church as a child, as my father, Lawrence Sr., had before me and his mother, grandma
Esther, had been my Sunday School teacher. Her mother Cynthia had also briefly taught after attending Berea College but soon afterwards married John W. Hannon who would pastor the Loveland church for nearly fifty years. Cynthia's, mother was Lucy Sams Ross who was born a slave in Kentucky and had weathered many storms of life in the form of personal losses, social indignities and political denials but her faith was her refuge and shortly after migrating to Ohio she became a founding member of the Loveland Predestinarian Baptist Church in 1892. (Read: Historic Review of Chestnut Street Church)
After meditating for some time my attention turned suddenly to contemplating the task at hand and I wrote to David Miller, Publisher of Loveland Magazine, and those that had formed a committee to save the church the following:
Thank you for the update. There is little to be optimistic about in this account, or what am I missing? However, I am not without a measure of faith. I still believe that I/we can make a difference. I've never been an inspirational speaker but that has seldom stopped me from sharing and/or fighting the good fight. The Vernon Johns Story, a movie about the struggle for civil rights contained the command "Son, if you see a good fight, get in it!" As a father and a teacher I further encouraged my children and students with the following:
A Mission Statement
I am only one,
but I am one,
I can't do everything,
but I can do something,
What I can do, I ought to do,
And what I ought to do,
By the grace of GOD
I will do.
In the release of my Book III of Lucy's Story the cover will depict two women-one white and one black (Helen Medert and Mary Sidney Wells) fighting back as 'prayer warriors' during the 1913 Loveland Flood.
There are of course a number of themes in sharing this family history narrative but chief among them are 'keeping the faith' and doing the RIGHT thing. I am committed to doing both and my role in part will be to fight the good fight in challenging the City of Loveland to do the RIGHT thing and challenging the family and Black community to be more than talkers of faith but to become walkers in the conviction of their faith.
My slave ancestor who helped build the Loveland Predestinarian Baptist Church exercised her faith and fought the good fight in realizing "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13) but her descendants, not so much. Because of personal family matters I had already decided to use the following as a FOREWORD to Book III...
Thank all of you for doing what you have done and those of you so inclined to continue doing what you will do ...by the grace of GOD.
Larry Hamilton was raised in Loveland. He is a historian and retired Piqua High School teacher. He has recently published a sequel to his first book “Lucy’s Story” – titled “Between Two Suns: The Berean Experience”. The latest book is “the continuing saga of a family history narrative handed down from generations of the Hamilton family of Loveland, Ohio. Read more about Hamilton HERE.
Introduction to Book III of Lucy's Story
Family Gatherings: So, Who do you think you are?
In conjunction with this Height - NCNW initiative, Cincinnati has become a destination site for many Black family groups, and this year the August 17th and 18th event at Sawyer Point has chosen the theme “Bringing Families Together”. This activity will draw tens of thousands of people or family groups that share a blood line but unfortunately have little else in common. Many more small family gatherings and reunions will be taking place but again a commonality of purpose particularly associated with the Sankofa experience is clearly to be questioned.
This website: http://goblackcentral.com/ chose as its symbol the Sankofa- a bird looking back or behind to represent ‘us’ as a people and signify the importance of looking back to understand our history so we can move forward. It is vital for people to know their heritage, history and culture….a person who knows their history is like a tree with strong roots. To the contrary, an individual who does not respect their history or their ancestors is like a tree without roots. We must deepen our roots, so that we may grow stronger…SANKOFA!
Within my own family group(s) the reality is that there is a growing chorus of discontent expressed by some who question the worth of bringing the family together, challenge why it is important to promote heritage, history and culture when all that stuff is boring and besides our people never did anything important anyhow. Even the usual questions of cost associated with family dues and hotel reunion expenses are giving way to more sinister and personalized allegations of pimping grandma’s legacy.
We all know family members who have a knack for saying the wrong thing at just the right time to provoke ‘family dramas’ but fortunately most of us know that while we can’t chose are relatives or make them culturally sensitive to want to do the RIGHT thing, we can nevertheless, chose to put into place that which grandma urged and practiced, and that was to love us all unconditionally. So, family is family and perhaps it’s better left to the spirit of the elders to judge the relevance and import of the extension of dignity, honor and respect given unto them. http://omaviasalipublishing.com/right-choices/
If you could see your ancestors all standing in a row.
Would you be proud of them? Or don't you really know.
Strange discoveries are often made, climbing the family tree.
Sometimes one is found in line who shocks the progeny.
If you could see your ancestors all standing in a row.
Perhaps there might be one or two you wouldn’t care to know.
Now turn the question right about and take another view.
When you shall meet your ancestors, will they be proud of you?
Watch: The Family Memorial Day Observance
Introductory remarks by Larry Hamilton for a family Memorial Day celebration and Flagpole Monument Dedication at Piqua, OH in 2007.