Do you recognize these leaders (photo left to right): the Rev. Will Herzfeld, presiding bishop of the former Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches, civil rights activist, ecumenist and an ELCA pastor; the Rev. Nelson Trout, the first African American bishop in the Lutheran church and an ELCA pastor; the Rev. Rudolph Featherstone, the first African American graduate of Gettysburg College and an ELCA pastor. “These African American Lutheran giants,” described the Rev. Kenneth Wheeler for Living Lutheran magazine years ago*, “and so many others walked tall because they were amazingly powerful servants who made me better and who made the church better.”

“Black History Month was the idea of African American historian Carter G. Woodson in the absence of a thorough picture of the contributions of African Americans to the larger American story,” reminded Pr. Wheeler. “The significance of this month ought not just be embraced by those of us who are African American. The history should be important to all of us. The contributions that African American people have made to the story of America are contributions that have made all of us greater.”

*“Standing on the shoulders of the saints” (2/2/12) can still be read online at https://www.livinglutheran.org/2012/02/standing-shoulders-saints/