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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Free at last

It took 35 years to find Gloria and firgiveness of my racist past

That's when God took over. My thinking began to change. I had been convinced that stories of the suffering of black people throughout the civil rights movement were grossly exaggerated. If anyone had been hurt they deserved it, I had thought, because they were communists or agitators or ruffians seeking an improper control of things.

Denise McNair, Addie Mae Collins, Carol Robertson and Cynthia Wesley were none of those. They were girls in church. Suddenly my world made no sense. I searched for answers to the hurt and anger I felt because of their deaths. It would take another year before what I have described as my "redemption-conversion into a real person" was complete.

For the next 33 years of my life, I wanted to find Gloria Ward and ask her forgiveness.


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August issue

AUGUST issue:

Advice for evangelism

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