The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS) has produced a new video to be released later this year, entitled The First Rosa. It is the story of Rosa J. Young, a pioneer in the education of Black children in the State of Alabama. Rosa Young, born in 1890 in Rosebud, Alabama, was the fourth of 10 children born to the Rev. and Mrs. Grant and Nancy Young. With encouragement from her parents, Rosa enrolled in Payne University in Selma, Alabama, graduated as valedictorian in 1909, and became a teacher. She taught at various schools, until in 1912 she returned to Rosebud to found the Rosebud Literary and Industrial School. It was the first of 30 schools which Rosa Young would have a hand in founding, including one which later grew into Concordia College Alabama.
Rosa’s connection to the Lutheran church came about when the Rosebud school fell on hard times financially. She wrote to Booker T. Washington, founder of Tuskegee Institute, seeking help. Washington’s personal secretary, Emmett Scott, replied that Tuskegee was unable to offer financial assistance, but suggested she contact the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod. Eventually the Synod, along with several other Lutheran denominations working together in the Synodical Conference, sent Pastor Nils Bakke to Rosebud. Together Rosa Young and Pastor Bakke made education the cornerstone of their strategy to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to Alabama. Rosa Young died in 1971, but not before being recognized with an honorary doctorate from Concordia Theological Seminary in 1961.
You may view a trailer to this inspiring new video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C692GCE8IeY
During this month of February, Black History month, we are mindful of our shared past. Another milestone in our past will be observed on March 8, the 50th anniversary of the march from Selma to Montgomery, led by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The historic crossing of the Edmund Pettis Bridge will be remembered at an event called Crossing Bridges: Selma to Minnesota, 1965 – 2015. Concordia University, along with a number of other faith-based organizations and congregations, is helping sponsor this event, which will begin at 2:00 p.m. at the State Capitol, continue with a symbolic march across the Cedar Street Bridge, and culminate with a program at Central Presbyterian Church to remember this important day in Civil Rights history.
You may learn more about the Crossing Bridges event at http://crossingbridgesmn.com/
As we remember our shared past, with both its heartache and exhilaration, we are thankful for the multicultural, urban environment in which we as a university are privileged to pursue our mission to prepare students for thoughtful and informed living, dedicated service to God and humanity, and the enlightened care of God’s creation, all within the context of the Christian Gospel.
Grace and peace to you.