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South Carolina Pastor Gives Public Apology Over Lynching at Reconciliation Service

Aimee Herd : Jul 14, 2005  Charisma Now

Hundreds were in attendance this past week for a reconciliation service that was held near Abbeville, South Carolina, as white church leaders confessed their ancestors' sins, apologizing for the lynching of a black man.

Nearly 350 blacks and whites were gathered together, hugging and singing the Battle Hymn of the Republic, at the Friendship Worship Center. Leaders recalled the lynching of prosperous black farmer Anthony Crawford, killed in 1916 for arguing with a white man over the price of cotton.

According to the AP, no one was ever tried for the crime and his estate, except for his farm, went to the man with whom he argued. His property included 427 acres of prime cotton land.

The man who put together the reconciliation service is 61-year-old Wendell Rhodes, pastor of the Friendship Worship and Revival Center, located near Abbeville. The service drew about 25 descendants of Crawford.

Rhodes, a white man, explained that he took his inspiration from the U.S. Senate's recent public apology over the failure to pass anti-lynching laws.

Rhodes, standing beside black pastor Tony Foster, wept as he said, "We confess to the sins of our fathers who chose to lynch Anthony Crawford for the color of his skin, for taking his possessions and disenfranchising his family. We promise to remember the history of slavery, lynching and racism to ensure that these tragedies will be neither forgotten nor repeated."

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