Global Missiology English, Vol 1, No 10 (2012)

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B4 Hope In Action: My Journey through Open Doors

Juanita Evans Leonard


I remember early in the morning hearing his song calling out from the alley behind our home in Louisville, Kentucky. The year was 1952 and he sang “Rag-o-man, rag-o-man”.

The African American man we called Mr. George was collecting rags for sale, early recycling and entrepreneurial program in our southern city when I was a child. My grandfather introduced me to him one sunny morning when both men stopped and talked together, as they did regularly I learned. Later Grandfather and I talked about black and white people having the lack of opportunity to be together because of a thing called “segregation”. This is my first memory of being struck with the reality of problems of ethnic and cross-cultural issues between and among God’s people. The realization opened the door for me to the Civil Rights Movement as I listened to the conversation between the two men. His voice rings through the years and echoes in my soul as his song sings in me, “Rag-o man, rag o-man.”

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