In 1687, a baby was born in colonial Maryland. She was the child of a mixed-race couple, but she was born free. Her name was Fortune Game/McGee. When she was eighteen, an unholy alliance of commerce, power, and ungodly theology changed Fortune’s life. The rules governing the positions of slavery and freedom were amended and hardened. At eighteen, she was forcibly placed in indentured servitude by a court. Her enslavement was sanctioned by law. Her enslavement was sanctioned by the church. Her enslavement was an abomination in the sight of God.
Author and Christian activist Lisa Sharon Harper is a direct descendant of Fortune. In her book, Fortune – How Race Broke My Family and the World and How to Repair It All (Brazos Press), Harper shares her family’s history. It is a captivating story of how Fortune’s descendants survived in a nation held in spiritual bondage by the chains of injustice. Each new birth marks a new generation living in the crosshairs of America’s national sin. Some thrived, and some did not. Some struggled more than others. There are some with a known history and some are shrouded in mystery. At the end of this line of men and women whose dark bodies enshrined the image of God comes Lisa Sharon Harper, calling us toward a beloved community, showing a path forward with a new vision of a just and more Christlike society.
Eight generations have passed since Fortune was born, and the echoes of racism, injustice, and exploitation are still with us today. The hypocrisy and hostility that fueled the abuse of Fortune’s dark body centuries ago are still insidiously lurking in the soul of this country. There is an ungodly lie that has seeped into the ethos of white America, including white Christianity. The lie maintains that racism is behind us, and that nothing needs to be said or done about the sins of the past and the conditions of the present. I am persuaded that the story of Harper’s family is a story that cries out to God. Perhaps God, in His abundant mercy, ordained that this nation established Black History Month in February, for the season of Lent begins soon after and God is still waiting for the church and this nation to fully repent. May God forgive us as we bring forth, by our words and deeds, the fruits of repentance.
-Darrel Holcombe, Owner
Sanctuary Christian Books and Gifts
Colonial Promenade, Alabaster