Thursday, October 29, 2009

"From Slavery to the Presidency" by Terry L. Bowser

A positive view of slavery? I never thought I would see the words “positive” and “slavery” used in the same sentence. Prior to reading this book, whenever I thought of slavery, I would immediately think of the atrocities that my forefathers had to endure. How could I possibly think of slavery as being positive in any way? Well, Dr. Bowser’s book has shown me a positive view of the horrific tragedy of slavery.

Terry Bowser grew up in Pensacola, Florida. At the age of 21, he began his ministry of the gospel. He has been an associate minister, outreach director, assistant pastor, and a pastor. For the past 24 years, he has traveled throughout the United States and other countries to spread a positive message of hope and inspiration. His first book has captivated readers worldwide and opened the minds of many.

Bowser’s strong belief in God and the Bible led him to draw a parallel between the slavery of Africans and the Bible character Joseph. Just as Joseph was elevated to a high position in Egypt after being enslaved, African Americans have been elevated in America. If Joseph had not been enslaved, he would have never been appointed to such a powerful position in Egypt. While admitting that slavery was a gross evil, Bowser challenges individuals to consider the outcome. The fact that Barack Obama has been elected as president shows that African Americans have been elevated in the United States. If Africans had not been enslaved, would African Americans hold such powerful positions in America?

Readers cannot deny the strong parallel between Joseph and African Americans. I had never thought of it that way. I am grateful that this book has opened my mind and given me a different way to view slavery in America. This country has overcome monumental obstacles. If we can focus on the positives, we can continue to move forward. No one can deny that slavery was horrific, but look at where we are now.

Throughout this book, Bowser pays tribute to many African Americans who have made great contributions to America – inventors, civil rights activists, political leaders, etc. These great people have set an example for all of us. The words of Barack Obama are quoted in the book to highlight the importance of such examples –

“I will never forget that the only reason I’m standing here today is because somebody, somewhere stood up for me when it was risky. Stood up when it was hard. Stood up when it wasn’t popular. And because that somebody stood up, a few more stood up. And then a few thousand stood up. And then a few million stood up. And standing up, with courage and clear purpose, they somehow managed to change the world.”

Anyone that reads this book – no matter what race, religion, or background – will have a reason to hold his head high and feel a sense of pride.

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