Wisdom for Wealth. For Life.

The Tragedy and Reconciliation of Forsyth County

February 22, 2023 Ronald Blue Trust
The Tragedy and Reconciliation of Forsyth County
Wisdom for Wealth. For Life.
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Wisdom for Wealth. For Life.
The Tragedy and Reconciliation of Forsyth County
Feb 22, 2023
Ronald Blue Trust

What happened in 1912 in Forsyth County, Georgia? In this episode we uncover the tragic reality of what happened to many black families living in Forsyth in 1912. In this conversation, we are joined with very special guests, Durwood Snead, Co-Founder of the Forsyth County Descendants Foundation and Dr. Michael Patterson, professor of Morehouse College. They are also joined with Nick Stonestreet and Ruth Malhotra of Ronald Blue Trust. Together, they dive into the history of Forsyth County and unpack the actions that are being made today to establish steps towards reconciliation. 

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The information in these podcasts is provided for general educational purposes only.  It is not intended as specific individual advice. The clients’ experience may not be representative of the experience of other clients, and they are also not indicative of future performance or success. Opinions expressed may not be those of Ronald Blue Trust.

Trust and investment management accounts and services offered by Ronald Blue Trust, Inc. are not insured by the FDIC or any other federal government agency, are not deposits or other obligations of, nor guaranteed by any bank or bank affiliate, and are subject to investment risk, including possible loss of the principal amount invested.

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

What happened in 1912 in Forsyth County, Georgia? In this episode we uncover the tragic reality of what happened to many black families living in Forsyth in 1912. In this conversation, we are joined with very special guests, Durwood Snead, Co-Founder of the Forsyth County Descendants Foundation and Dr. Michael Patterson, professor of Morehouse College. They are also joined with Nick Stonestreet and Ruth Malhotra of Ronald Blue Trust. Together, they dive into the history of Forsyth County and unpack the actions that are being made today to establish steps towards reconciliation. 

To learn more visit http://www.RonBlue.com

Join us on our YouTube Channel or wherever you listen to podcasts.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Ronald-Blue-Trust-105753588582086
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/33670/admin/
Apple: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/wisdom-for-wealth-for-life-the-podcast/id1602381870
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/2CjfTonCCMWYn506kPsylB
Amazon: https://music.amazon.com/podcasts/121d5f25-036e-408f-98c4-d8f35df321cb
iHeartRadio: https://www.iheart.com/podcast/269-wisdom-for-wealth-for-life-90932571/

The information in these podcasts is provided for general educational purposes only.  It is not intended as specific individual advice. The clients’ experience may not be representative of the experience of other clients, and they are also not indicative of future performance or success. Opinions expressed may not be those of Ronald Blue Trust.

Trust and investment management accounts and services offered by Ronald Blue Trust, Inc. are not insured by the FDIC or any other federal government agency, are not deposits or other obligations of, nor guaranteed by any bank or bank affiliate, and are subject to investment risk, including possible loss of the principal amount invested.

- [Narrator] Welcome to the "Wisdom for Wealth for Life" podcast. Let's bridge the gap between your faith and your finances. At Ronald Blue Trust, we apply biblical wisdom and technical expertise to help you make wise financial decisions. Our goal is to help you leave a lasting legacy. In this podcast you will hear inspiring stories, practical tips, and encouragement from the Ronald Blue Trust family with special guests along the way. Welcome to the "Wisdom for Wealth for Life" podcast.

- [Announcer] The information in these podcasts is provided for general educational purposes only. It is not intended as specific individual advice. The client's experience may not be representative of the experience of other clients, and they're also not indicative of future performance or success. Opinions expressed may not be those of Ronald Blue Trust.

- [Narrator] In today's episode, we have a very special guest, Durwood Snead, co-founder of the Forsyth Descendants Scholarship, and Dr. Michael Patterson, history professor at Morehouse College, as well as CEO of Ronald Blue Trust, Nick Stonestreet, and Ruth Maholtra, manager of Strategic Partnerships. Together, they have a special conversation for Black History Month, specifically around the history of Forsyth County, Georgia. You won't wanna miss this important conversation around racial reconciliation. Let's listen in now.

- Hello, and thanks so much for joining us. I'm delighted to help host a special conversation today on our podcast in honor of Black History Month. We have a special guest joining us, Durwood Snead, who we'll introduce in a minute. Dr. Mike Patterson from Peacemakers, and of course, our CEO Nick Stonestreet. Nick, tell us why do you think it's important that we commemorate Black History Month as a firm?

- Well, you know, I think it's important that we tell all the history. So if you're really gonna get into history, you need to tell all of the history. And, you know, history told from different perspectives gives us a more complete story. And I think a lot of Black history had been ignored or vanquished from textbooks and bringing it to life. And nothing to hide from or move away from. It's something to look at and acknowledge. Just like the story we'll be talking about today with Durwood, it's important to know your history and then learn from it, really.

- Dr. Patterson, anything to add to that?

- I do. And thank you for inviting me today. I believe, as Nick said, "It's America's story." This is all our history, and if we don't know our history, unfortunately we can repeat some of the same mistakes. And I think if we take the time out to acknowledge what we have learned, we can make better decisions about the future.

- Yeah.

- Wow. Well, I'm honored to help introduce our guests today, Durwood Snead. I've actually known Durwood for 24 years, figured that out this morning. Went to school with some of his kids here in the greater Atlanta area, Providence Christian Academy, shout out. And Durwood has quite an extensive resume. You've worn many different hats over the years. Most recently serving as the International Ministry Director and Missions Pastor for North Point Ministries here in Alpharetta. Believe you did that for 18 years, right?

- Almost 18.

- Almost 18 years, 17 years before retiring in 2018. And before that, spent 26 years in the business world, held some different positions there with construction market data before going into ministry. I know now you serve on several boards, including the Forsyth Descendants Foundation, which you'll tell us more about. And I think your most impressive credential is that you and your wife, Judy, are celebrating 50 years of marriage this year.

- We are.

- Congratulations.

- Thank you.

- You have five children, and how many grandchildren?

- 16.

- 16, 16 grandchildren.

- So far.

- They-

- 16 and counting, live here in, Cumming, Georgia. So thanks so much for joining us here today.

- My pleasure. Thank you.

- Tell us just kind of a high level overview. You know, when I first heard about Forsyth County a few years ago and what took place between 1910 and 1912, I was shocked. I mean that the two words that kept coming to my mind were horrific and heartbreaking. Can you give our listeners an overview of what happened and how you first learned about it?

- Absolutely. 1912 was a real pivotal year in Forsyth County. It's crazy to think about the other things going on in the world. That was the year the Titanic sunk. That was the year Fenway Park opened in Boston, right. All these cool things happening and disasters at the same time. But in Forsyth County, in the fall, it was, I think it was September 6, there was an 18-year-old White girl who was raped and brutalized. She ended up dying of her injuries about two weeks later. The following morning they found her, and then they arrested several Black people on her street that had very little connection to the crime, but they arrested them anyway. And then following that, that night, a man named Rob Edwards, who was one of the Black men that they arrested, was pulled out of the Cumming jail by a mob, beaten with crowbars, shot several times, and strung up on a telephone pole. And people continued to shoot into his body that night. Two other people that were arrested, a young man named Ernest Knox, another one named Oscar Daniel, they were 16 and 17 years old. They were tried and convicted in a very quick trial, and then following that they were publicly hung in Cumming. But that wasn't the worst part of the story because then night riders went around to every single Black home in Forsyth County and threatened to blow people's homes up if they didn't leave immediately, and in some cases they did. They dynamited homes, they shot into homes. And virtually 1,100 Black people, all the Black people in the county, left in a very short time period. Were forced to leave. It was forced expulsion. So it was absolutely awful. And very few Black people lived in the county for 75 years after that. So I moved in Forsyth County in 1989. In the 1990 census, there were 14 Black people living in the county. So from 1912 till 1990, you know, it went from 0 to 14.

- Wow.

- Aww. So it was essentially a White county. In 1987, Oprah Winfrey did her first road show in Forsyth County, Georgia. And she called it, "The most racist county in America." And it probably, certainly competed for that if it wasn't, at that point in time in history. County's changed a lot since then. But at the same time, these were horrific events. And when I read the first time about people being expelled, and I imagined being one of those Black men that could not take care of his family, had to go somewhere where no one wanted him. My wife and I both read about this and literally wept. And as we did that, we began praying and thinking, "So what else should we do? Is there something else that we should do as part of the story?" And that's when I felt like that God just kind of led us to start thinking about ways that we could take action to help.

- Wow. Dr. Patterson, I know you're a history professor at Morehouse College. In addition to the many roles that you play as a pastor, a mentor, a consultant, from your perspective, can you share more about Forsyth County. What happened? The history and why it's important we continue to talk about it and learn from it?

- Yeah. Thank you so much, Ruth. And thank you for sharing this story. I think it's always good to get clarification because you said, "Night riders." So who were the night riders?

- You know, we're not sure exactly, but they were people that went out to homes under cover of darkness and made threats to people for their life if they didn't leave the county. And so there've been a lot of, I've read almost every historical account I can find about this. Some people claim that there were people from outside the county. Others claim that they were local citizens. We don't know. But irrespective of that, the law enforcement did nothing to stop it.

- Oh, well, wow. Okay, so it could have been the KKK?

- Yeah. Could very well have been.

- And the law-

- The sheriff in Forsyth County was a member of the KKK at that time.

- So that way the Black people could not get justice because the law should have been protecting them,

- Right. did not not protect. And I appreciate you sharing the story. It's a horrible story, but it's so indicative of what happened to a number of Black Americans during that time period. And it's sad because if the truth had been spoken and some accountability had taken place, we probably could avoided what would happen in the few years after that. 1915, the first major motion picture was produced in America and released. And, you know, that motion picture, "Birth of a Nation," really glorified the Klan. And that's where we were as a country during that time period where racism was on full display and people weren't speaking up. And you said about the individuals who were killed, really, that's a lynching.

- Right. And it was, okay. So citizens just went out and...

- Yeah, so one man, Rob Edwards was lynched, literally, 'cause pulled out of jail, beaten, killed, and strung up. The other two young men did have a quick trial. You know, some people call that lynching, and it may very well have been. We don't know if they were guilty or not. But at the same time, the trial was very quick for a capital murder case. And then they were hung publicly, which was illegal at that time.

- Yeah.

- [Nick] It's a legal lynching.

- Yeah.

- Right, yep.

- And they're just countless, countless African Americans who were killed because due process wasn't done, or the mob took out their own form of justice. So these stories are hard to hear, but I think we need to discuss it, and not only discuss it, but think about what we can do to better our future, especially for those of us who are believers.

- Right, right.

- Because I think the only hope for this world is Christian people coming together.

- Right, right. Absolutely.

- You gotta believe that some of the night riders were people that went to church.

- Yeah.

- Right.

- So probably all the churches were probably segregated.

- Yeah.

- You know, and these were people that even probably thought they were doing God's will. You know, so it's so warped and twisted that people get their kind of faith twisted in with what they would consider maybe redemptive violence to serve up justice and then go to church.

- Right. We know of at least seven Black churches that were there in the county at the time. And during the time of this violence, when Rob Edwards was lynched, there was actually a camp meeting of Black churches' meeting in a campground. And the rumor began circulating that they were meeting to try to figure out how to dynamite the city and take the city over, and this incited the mob even more. So representatives from those Black churches at the campground were sent to go in town. Some people stopped them on the way and said, "If you, you come into town, we're afraid you'll be killed, so you better go back." And they did go back. So it's just amazing how Satan uses deceit to cause fear that then gives people the capability of doing inhuman things. And as a missions pastor at our church for a long time, I saw this in a lot of places around the world, saw it in Bosnia, I saw it in Rwanda. Where you have two groups that believe a lie about each other and then dehumanize the other group. And then they're capable of almost any kind of evil, really against them. And about churches, we think that everybody probably went to church in Forsyth County at that time.

- Sure. Because the church was the communal place that everybody met.

- Right. They were segregated churches. There's no question about it. We have one cemetery that's been completely researched with sonar probes to determine how many graves there are, there was a Black cemetery, and have determined how many people were buried there in that place. There were other cemeteries that did have Blacks and Whites buried in them, and some had Native Americans buried in there as well. But all of these Black churches were destroyed. So if you think about the inhumanity of that. The Christians not only driving people out, but destroying their churches, they're holy places of worship.

- Right. And dehumanization is a forerunner to violence. We've seen it over and over, whether it's in Nazism with the Jews being compared to cockroaches or take it back to Pharaoh. Look at these people, they breed like grasshoppers. So there's like a dehumanization of the Hebrews by Pharaoh, and in that time as well. And it's just a story that repeats. If you can dehumanize people, which is frankly what Russia's doing in Ukraine right now, you dehumanize, then you can go do unthinkable things because they're not human.

- Right. So it's interesting to think that the dehumanization of people was under the surface all of the time. And then you have an event that sparks it because if it doesn't spark up like that and then go ablaze if there hadn't been dehumanization all along.

- Right, right. There were already feelings there.

- Yeah.

- Right.

- Wow. Well, Durwood, tell us a little bit about your journey when you first became more aware of this and what was it that really compelled you then to take action? Walk us through some of that from your perspective.

- You know, to my shame, when I moved to the county in 1989, literally two years before that, there were two brotherhood marches led by Atlanta Senate Councilman Hosea Williams that were led basically as protest, stating that the county is mostly White and has been for a long time. And the first one, the first march was awful because it was met by members of the KKK. Other people that were hurling not only words, but also also hurling bottles and rocks and so forth. And those people had to be quickly hurried back on a bus and brought back to Atlanta. Then two weeks later, there was another march with a lot of law enforcement there, so it was a lot more peaceful.

- [Nick] What year was that, Durwood?

- '87.

- 1987.

- '87, wow.

- And then right after that was when Oprah Winfrey came and did her first road show and called it, "The most racist county in America." In fact, you can still get Oprah Winfrey's whole production that she did on YouTube. And it's amazing to watch. It's incredible that she held it together because she had a lot of people in the room there, even got KKK members there. And at one point she turned to a guy and said, "You do know I'm Black, right?" Because the things he was saying, she couldn't believe that he was saying it. And she really kept her cool through the whole thing and exposed that. So all that had happened two years before. So we bought land there in 1988. And thinking about all this, I went to a guy who was the head of the Chamber of Commerce and I said, "Are we moving to the wrong place?" He said, "Oh listen, these are outsiders that are causing all this incitement. We want Black people to move here. No, no, no. You need to move here. Everything is fine." So to my shame, I moved there, raised my children there, and just kind of put all this aside. Now, I didn't know all the details of what had happened back in 1912, but I put it all aside. And then there was a reckoning in my own spirit two years ago. So I have my boat in an old boatyard in Northern Forsyth County, and I was driving to my boat two years ago to the boatyard, and I see a little sign that says, "Oscarville Away." So, "Man, Oscarville, there must have been a town here at some point." And so something prompted me to just research Oscarville. And that's when I discovered these events of 1912 because they all occurred in the town of Oscarville. Oscarville was where Mae Crow was from. Oscarville was where all the Black people lived that were arrested and killed for the crime. And Mae Crow is still buried in a little church, Pleasant Grove Baptist Church right there in Oscarville. So when I read all this and started researching it, and as I mentioned wept as I thought about these people leaving and getting kicked out of the county. Something came over me and I said, "What are you gonna do?" And at the time, I was studying the book of James and going through James 2. And there's one section of that talks about, you know, showing partiality to people that are wealthier and then showing disrespect or dishonor to people that are less wealthy. And how that we are taking people that actually are sharing in our spiritual inheritance and disrespecting them. And suddenly, my spirit was pricked by that. And then when I looked a little bit later in that chapter, when James, the brother of Jesus was talking about how, "Okay, if you really have faith, you do something." Faith requires works because if they're no works, this is not really faith. And I reached out then to the author of a book called "Blood at the Root," or read that Patrick Phillips that wrote that grew up in Forsyth County. He did 10 years of research, he's now a professor at Stanford University. I reached out to Patrick, he got back to me and thanked me for reading his book in the spirit in which it was intended. And we began a dialogue and he said, "Another guy has reached out to me in your county in the same way. He's a pastor at a church called Browns Bridge Church." And I said, "His name is Adam Johnson." And I told him, I said, "Adam Johnson's one of my best friends." I worked at North Point Ministries, which included Browns Bridge Church for 17 years. So I call Adam, go over to his home, and we spent three hours one afternoon talking, praying, crying, thinking. And Adam told me, he said, "There's an idea that's popped up, and the idea is something to help the next generation of descendants of these people that were expelled, and that's a college scholarship." So we began talking about this and we said, "Well, you know, we need to vet this and see if this is even a good idea." So we went to a number of Black friends that we had and we said, "Look, we're thinking about doing something here with the scholarship. Now we know it's not justice, it's not a reckoning, it's not making things right, but it's simply an act of love started by some followers of Jesus. And we feel like it's important to do something rather than nothing." And our Black friends said with that proviso, we think it's a good idea. Then we gathered a number of pastors in the county together and began talking to them and praying with them. And we told them, we said, "Look, we have an idea here, but we are not gonna do this unless a number of pastors get on board because we want this to be something that the church brings to the county, to the community, and to the world." And so we went to the Forsyth County Ministerial Association and a number of pastors, there were about 15 pastors, that jumped on board and said, "Yes, we wanna be a part of this." And so we launched this scholarship and it's a significant scholarship, it's $10,000 a year for four years of college if a student is beginning at their freshman year. And we launched it February 1st of last year. And then in June of last year, we made nine awards to nine recipients. 5 of the recipients received $10,000, and 4 of them received less 'cause they didn't need the full $10,000 because we had their FAFSA information, and their financial need. But the exciting thing to us has really been three things, I think. One is just simply the acknowledgement that this happened. Because many of our Black friends have said, "This has never really been acknowledged. There's a marker in town, there've been little things, but it's never really been acknowledged that this happened. And that means more to us than a scholarship." But don't get us wrong, the scholarship's really helpful because we felt that these are families that have been affected by generational wealth loss. And that if we can take the next generation and simply help them to get a good education, that helps them hopefully to get a good job to support their families, hopefully can reverse some of the things going on in their families. So that was the second thing. But the third thing that we felt really important is that our community just starts talking more about these issues and about race in our community. Forsyth County bears the brand of what happened in 1912, and it will never lose it. Many African Americans are still afraid to come to this county, even though we have grown from 40,000 people to almost 300,000. And a pretty diverse county, 15% of our population is Asian, 10% is Hispanic, still only about 4 1/2 to 5% that's Black, but becoming much more diverse. We will have a majority of our schools that will be minority within two years. And so a lot of diversity has come, but we still bear the brand of what happened in 1912. So the only thing that can change that is what happens in the future. And we really want our county to be known as a place that is full of love and acceptance of everybody. One exciting thing is the newest elementary school in our county is called New Hope School. It's beautiful. It was just opened in August. It is a school that is named after a African American school in the early 1900s, it was called New Hope School that was obviously closed and destroyed. And the principal of that school, really neat lady, she talks about this regularly to let everyone know, we are named after an African American school that was here. And what we wanna be known at this school for is we love everybody and everybody is accepted and everybody has equal footing and equal justice in the school. So there are things that are encouraging to us that are going on in the county, and yet there's still a long way to go.

- Yeah, so I really like this discussion that you can't make it right, not gonna happen.

- Right. 'Cause some of those people are dead. Most of them that probably got kicked out and their property taken, dead. But yeah, there's something to redeeming a story, and it looks like that's what you all are trying to do is you can't make it right. But at least you can start to redeem that story.

- We hope so.

- Yeah, yeah.

- What else besides the scholarships and the school, are there other things going on and for the county to kind of take ownership for what's been done? Or are they starting to teach Black history in schools? I mean, what are some of the things?

- That's still a big debate about what's being taught in schools. And I'm not really a part of that discussion, and yet I've been reading a lot about it. It is raised pretty high on the radar, I think at this point in terms of that discussion throughout the county. In the beginning, some of the discussions were elevated by the extremes. And so as a result of that, people started thinking, some people on one side were thinking, "Oh, you're gonna teach that all of our forefathers were just evil." And the other side was thinking that, "You're not gonna think anything about what happened historically here with Black people and the terrible atrocities occurred." So I feel like there's some good discussions that are going on there. There is a cemetery that was a Black cemetery that has been beautifully made into a place that's reverent now. And the story of that cemetery of how it came to be and who's there, all the graves have been identified and marked in the entire cemetery. So it's a really neat place. And that was a project that was done by a public group there in the county. There are lots of other discussions, there's a marker in downtown Cumming called, "Lynching in Forsyth," that kind of tells the story of Rob Edwards being lynched. So there are certain things that have happened. I feel like that also because the county's grown so much, about 80% of the county has moved there in the last 25 years.

- Right. So most of these people are people that have not been there very long. Many of them don't know the history of this geography.

- Right. And I really do believe as a follower of Jesus, that there's something about redeeming geography. And so we've had terrible atrocities that have occurred here, there was a spirit of evil, that permeated people's minds for quite a bit of time. And so what we're hoping is that over time that the redemption story also becomes one where we resanctify this land. So it's a place where love abounds, but as followers of Jesus, we really want the love of Jesus to be something that people recognize. And we love the fact that this was started by followers of Jesus.

- Right. And the community knows that this was started by followers of Jesus.

- I like that. And at the same time, we have made it very open to everyone, but everyone is invited to be part of this.

- That's good. We just got it started.

- I love how-

- That's good, yeah, that's good. Go ahead Ruth. Go ahead.

- I just, I love how on your website, it's so clear, you talk about as followers of Jesus, we felt compelled to do this, to share His love and His light, as an act of love to the community. How has that been received? I mean, I think it's such a rare and refreshing witness in a space like this.

- You know, it's interesting, there are some people that have kind of come outta the woodwork and said, "Well yeah, we are actually followers of Jesus too." But you know, they whisper it. But then there have been others that have said, because we initially had all of our funding go through the National Christian Foundation. We didn't have a 501c3 yet last year, and we do now. But we set up a donor advised fund for this. And it became a very easy way, almost overnight, just began collecting donations and everything to go there. But we've been kind of amazed that most people when they hear that, okay, it was started by these people, but yet, they don't have an agenda other than just love and acceptance. And so we wanna be kind of part of that. And some of the pastors have actually, that were part of this, have learned that people have begun coming to their churches that weren't interested in church before because they said, "Oh, if you're doing this, we just thought that you had other agendas that we didn't like. But if you're doing this, we need to check you guys out and see what else you're about." So that's been kind of a cool little thing that no one actually thought about. But I think that's kinda the way the Kingdom of God works, you know?

- Yeah. When we do the right thing.

- That's a powerful witness.

- And we show love,

- Show love. to people that love is attractive. And I've watched this in other countries too, where people start reaching out and meeting the needs of widows and orphans. And even a repressive government looks at that and says, "Well that's just good. So we'll take care of you guys."

- Dr. Patterson.

- Yeah, and I'm really excited that, I know for years, my wife and I have been involved in ministry, and we've been involved in a big church and giving away to foreign missions. And we were raised millions of dollars to go overseas. But I'm really glad now we're doing things at home. That were taking account to, we got some stuff to work on as Americans,

- Absolutely. especially those of us who claim to be Christians.

- Right. That we gotta do a better job. Because you said something about the story of 1912 redeeming Forsyth County. And you know, as a Christian, as a historian, I look at timelines. So we have that in 1912. And then I talked about "Birth of a Nation" in 1915. In 1918, well, 64 lynchings in America.

- Right. In 1919, there were 83. And then we had the summer of 1919, where there were riots all over the country, racial riots. Washington, Knoxville, Longview, Texas, in Arkansas, Chicago. And guess what happened? We didn't deal with it. We didn't talk about it, nobody took responsibility for it. And here we are a hundred years later, and we have 2019.

- Right. The country erupts all over again. So this is so healthy that we're taking the time out to have these difficult conversations. And that's what Nick and I have been trying to do with our podcasts. And I just wanna say thank you for Ronald Blue just leading the way in this, just having the conversations and saying, "What can we do to redeem the story?"

- Yeah. It's a question you should just live with, right? I mean, as believers, we should be living with that question in every area of our lives, right? So this is one area that you,

- It makes me- so I don't know what's next for Forsyth, but I know there's a start, and that we just need to keep asking the question, "How do we continue to redeem this story?" 'Cause some people want it to go away, Mike. Like Mike and I had this conversation after George Floyd murder. Our biggest fear here is that people would just stop talking about anything, like just push it under the rug again, and just wait for the next eruption. But if we keep asking the question, "How do we redeem the story?" We're gonna get to a point one day where we don't have the next eruption because we're gonna put it on the table. And try to bring about, bring God into the situation.

- Right. 'Cause it isn't gonna get healed without God. Whether people believe that or not, it's not gonna get healed without God.

- And as a whole, the Black community has been very resilient. Black people just keep starting over. But I do think now the education helps in knowing, we have a wealth disparity in America. Not because people didn't work hard or were lazy, but because people were taken advantage of. And to have you as a voice, as a man of God, a man in the community speaking up. And of course what Ronald Blue Trust does, it helps. Because there's still a lot of economic misunderstanding. And I think the more we can shed light on it, then say, "Okay, what is fair? What is equitable?"

- Well now part of our story at Ronald Blue Trust is with our ownership structure, Casey Crawford, who's a primary shareholder, most of his wealth will go to Title I charter schools, and the most disadvantaged neighborhoods. And so, it's really great to see, even Ronald Blue having our profits going to help Title I charter schools. So, because that's Casey's heart for what he wants to have done with his wealth, which is significant.

- Right.

- And I think what's powerful about Casey getting to know him is what he's done with Movement Mortgage and with home ownership.

- Yeah. Because if we're gonna build generational wealth, you got to own something.

- That's right, that's right. So I just think it's powerful. And those young adults getting educated, so one day they can build some type of wealth.

- Yeah, shout out to Movement Mortgage and Movement Schools.

- Right, just zooming out from that, I'd love, in the time we have left, to talk about some of the learnings that have come from this and also how, we're the "Wisdom for Wealth for Life" podcast. We love to talk about how do we even think about some of these things wisely? How do you process or approach feelings of guilt, shame, complicity? We talked about repentance earlier. How do you navigate that as a follower of Jesus and what's the proper mindset for us to have?

- I'm not sure what the proper mindset is. I'll tell you, I'm in a learning curve on this. And one of the learnings is to listen more and talk less. And so, I've been trying to meet with a lot of African American friends. I'm with a couple of different groups that are working on reconciliation. And I'm just trying to listen and learn. And I realize another learning is that we all see the world through a different lens. Everyone of us has got a lens based on our experiences, our background, what we are taught, all these different things, that's the way we see the world. And we hear someone else say something that's different than the way we see it, and we immediately start criticizing it versus trying to look through their lens.

- That's true.

- And I feel like as we listen, and if we listen enough, then typically someone's gonna come up, "Well what do you think?" And now they're ready to listen because you listened to them. So just the honor of listening to someone, I've learned that that's way more valuable. I should have learned this a long time ago, right. But way more valuable than teaching or just talking. I know for me, just thinking about what happened in 1912, and some of the people that have pushed back a little bit saying, "Why are you dragging up things from the past that are hurtful? Why are you ripping open old scabs?" Well, there's a scab there, there's still a wound.

- Right.

- Yeah.

- Have you had pushback? That's one thing I was wondering. And I'm sure people have done it kind of gently with you at times.

- And sometimes not so gentle.

- Not so gentle. Have you had people that have pushed back on, "Why are you doing this?"

- We have, and I think some of it is the reputation, especially the families that have lived there for a long time, so multiple generations. So this a shame thing. Why you bring up something that maybe my ancestors might have been part of and all of that. But we do talk a lot about the fact that the truth sets everybody free. You shine a light on what happened. It wasn't you. You weren't alive then. You didn't do this, and yet this happened here. And so let's learn from that. Just like Dr. Patterson said, "We need to learn from the past, learn from those mistakes. How did this happen?" And I'd love to really try to look at that whole dialogue even between what people believed, and what lies people were believing that caused them to dehumanize someone else. And how do we keep that from happening? Because I think there are little triggers that could be alerts for us today that when you start hearing somebody actually dehumanizing someone else or talking of them that way, that should be an immediate trigger to push back on. "No, no, no, no. Everybody's created in the image of God."

- Right.

- Right.

- I mean, and no matter who they are, they are in image of God. And if they're believers, they're shared brothers and sisters with an equal inheritance, eternally. And to think about that, and I to my shame, I didn't investigate this early on and just kind of pushed the whole thing aside without going deeper. And it took a long time for me to get deep enough to really get into the story. But that's why it's important to me for people now to know what the story is, even for those newcomers that have come. 'Cause I was a newcomer in 1989, right. But for the 80% that have moved to the county in the last 25 years, for them to understand, "Hey, here's the history of what happened here." And I've had some of my brown friends, from India, that we have some people in very high positions in Forsyth County that are South Asian. And one guy told me, he said, "I am indebted to my Black brothers and sisters for opening the door for me to actually have this high level position here in this county." And I just thought that was really insightful, and something I learned from as he thought about that. 'Cause they paved the way for me to now be someone who immigrated when I was five years old from another country, to be in a high level position here.

- And what you said is powerful on so many levels because one of the common complaints and criticisms of the Black community is they can't work together, don't take advantage of the opportunities that are here. Why other immigrants coming in and going further economically or having more accomplishments. And I have to dispel that myth, that misunderstanding with my students all the time. I say, "Guys, you don't know how many times Black people had to start over." There was sundown towns in America,

- Absolutely. where you had to be out by sundown. But we're talking about a whole county. And I know earlier you shared just about the amount of wealth that is in Forsyth now. You wanna share a little bit about that? Because I think it's insightful.

- Yeah, so, with Lake Lanier coming in the 1950s, it created this place for recreational fun and lake houses and brought a lot of money to the county. But then when 400 was completed in the late '70s, it became a bedroom community. Cumming and Forsyth County became bedroom community of Atlanta. And then so many landowners in Forsyth County that had been farmers and owned large parcels of land farming. They weren't very wealthy from a financial standpoint other than just they were land rich. Their land became very wealthy. Now almost every exit off of Georgia Route 400 has a shopping center, or if they don't, they have one planned. And so the commercial property is selling for lots and lots of money. So many of these farmers became multi-millionaires, in selling this land that was passed down and made them very wealthy. And our Black friends didn't have the opportunity to do that.

- You know, another thing we talk about here at our firm is not just stewarding our resources wisely, but also stewarding our influence and leveraging those relationships for Kingdom purposes. I think you're an amazing example of that. And even how you talk about the truth setting us free. Like we have to believe that even when the truth is disruptive, right, and that's what you've been willing to have those disruptive conversations. Can you talk a little bit about what it's like to steward your influence in that way? Especially when it's costly and risky, touching a topic like this that many people are hesitant to even listen to.

- You know, and being a pastor too, I understand from a pastoral standpoint that there are a lot of people that are coming to you with issues that they feel like are the most important issue, right. And while this one is extremely important, from a pastor's standpoint, and you're a pastor, people are coming at you with a lot of different things, and you're trying to figure out, how do I navigate all this? We can't do all of that, but how do I act in a biblical way and promptings of the Holy Spirit to respond to each one of these things and to be bold where I need to be bold. And at the same time, not to push away all of my congregation and keep two people, right. And so I feel like that we probably need to give some grace to some of our pastors. I keep hearing, of course, that the Sunday morning hour is the most segregated hour in America and it is in many cases. And we need to do something about that. And at the same time, I just feel like too though, that we also need to figure out how do we take steps that truly move towards reconciliation. There are, you know in Jesus' time, I look at John the Baptist as being the super disruptor that calling people, "Heathens," and "You vipers," and "You're all going to hell if you don't repent." You know?

- Yeah. And Jesus had a little bit of a different approach. I mean, he healed people. And I mean, you didn't ever hear of John the Baptist going and healing people and casting out demons. He just preaching against them and baptizing people. But Jesus was out there healing, baptizing, and he was kind of pulling people in. And it was the religious leaders that were pompous and everything, they're people He came down hard on. And most of them were in Jerusalem, so He didn't like to go to Jerusalem very often. But the average person, He's out there just trying to talk and ask 'em questions. And I feel like one of the things that we can all learn from is the whole art of asking questions. Like rather than preaching, teaching, talking to people, let's just ask questions about what they believe, who they are. I like to start with their family. Like, "Tell me about your family. Tell me about your wife. Tell me about your kids. What's going on with them?" And then we get to learn about things with each other. And then over time, I think that learning can help move us towards a position of actually trust, and then getting to the point where we can then talk about really tough stuff. But we usually start with the tough stuff. But I had one friend that just died last year, and he was a fascinating guy. We were good friends. He had been CEO, two or three corporations. But I remember for him, he tested you early to determine if you really wanted to be his friend. And most people just kind of moved away from him. But I was kind of challenged by this. I said, "Well, yeah." But then we got to the point where we could just call each other on everything. And I love that about relationship, that when we get to a certain level of relationship, we can say anything. For example, this guy was after me all the time about how much I traveled. He says, "You're getting old, you're traveling too much. You shouldn't be traveling." All that stuff. 'Cause I always had this mission stuff going all over the world. And finally, I just told him one day, I said, "Stuart, I'm getting tired of this. Every time we meet, you keep jumping on me about how much I travel. It's not helpful. I'll let you know when I decide to stop doing it. But in the meantime, I'd appreciate if you'd never tell me again." "Okay, well, I'm sorry. I hope that's not bothering you." I said, "Well, you could tell it's bothering me, so leave me alone." But I mean, we got to that level where we were brothers, and we could just be honest with each other. And so that's what I long for to, and more and more of these discussions around race is that we become close enough brothers with each other where we can have really tough conversations and learn from each other. But also push back on truth, again, let's just lay the truth on the table about everything and try to figure out what this is. Because on one side we've got, and I realize that when an event happens with, and I'll just be real honest, when an event happens with police and a Black person, my assumption being a White person is that the police are usually right, and occasionally they'll make a mistake. And yet I've learned from a lot of my Black friends, their assumption is the police are usually wrong, and they're usually taking advantage of me, and there's some that are good. And so when I look at that whole situation, I'm looking through one set of lenses based on my experiences.

- Right. And my brother's looking through another set of lenses based on their experiences. And we're gonna learn from each other. It doesn't mean either one of us are lying, it's our experience. But how do we learn from that and get to the point where, "Okay, let's talk about that. And then what's the solution around this that can really work?" But unfortunately, the media typically tries to elevate the extremes, and it's just the way media works because you create attention,

- That's their job. and people read or watch it. But we can't let that drive what we do because we never get the reconciliation there. Instead, it seems to me that we just need to get to know each other, spend time with each other, and get to that point where we can truly have discussions about truth that help us solve some things. And I don't know what the solutions are. My brothers, like Dr. Patterson, gotta help me figure that out.

- Well, and I appreciate because as you're talking Bible, I immediately think about the Apostle Paul. Very prominent teacher, prominent Jewish man, who went to the Gentiles, right? And he said, "I've become all things to all men." So as much as you've achieved in the world's eyes. But to take time out to say, "I want to grow and learn," is commendable. It's commendable. And more people need to imitate that spirit. And that's one of the reasons Nick and I connected so much because Nick's humble. Nick will say, "Hey, I don't understand everything, help me out."

- Right. And we've had some honest conversations over the years.

- Yeah, a lot of honest, how we're doing life together.

- And God has blessed it. So thank you so much for the way you serve.

- Thank you.

- Is there anything else?

- No, it was just Durwood, thank you so much for you and Judy bein' peacemakers.

- Thank you, thank you.

- It's really beautiful.

- I'd love for you to leave us with few closing words. We talk here about leaving a legacy, and we believe that every Jesus follower's call to do that. Our aspiration here, our cultural aspiration for our company is "On earth as it is in heaven." What does legacy mean to you? And what advice would you have for our listeners as we think about how each of us can leave a legacy and live life as on earth as it is in heaven?

- It seems to me the biggest legacy any of us can leave is if we can pass on to the next generation, a yearning to be a follower of Jesus of whatever that is. You know, I had two friends that are both passed away now. Those two guys met almost every week for 40 years. And they met with, around one question, "What does it mean to be a follower of Jesus?" So I said, "Well, so what'd you guys come up with?" He said, "Well, we pretty much came with Matthew 5, the B-attitudes, when Jesus pulled his disciples together, and they were expecting him probably to say, "Okay, I'm now the king. You're the lieutenants and we're gonna take this thing, get rid of the Romans and everything here." Instead he talks about being poor in spirit and serving people and mourning and being persecuted. And they're probably all wondering. But I think the biggest thing is being a follower of Jesus and being on that pursuit of whatever that means. But I think Matthew 5 is a great place to start. Where he gives us kind of the example of what that looks like.

- Wonderful. Thank you so much for your generosity of time and insight, and especially,

- Thank you. for your example. I know that so many people will be inspired and informed by this conversation. And if y'all would like to learn more, we encourage you to go to forsythscholarship.org to hear more about Durwood's efforts with the team there, and you can get involved that way. So thanks again,

- Thank you, Ruth. for being here.

- Thank you so much, Ruth, Nick, Dr. Patterson.

- Thank you. Thank you.

- Thank you.

- Grateful for you.

- [Narrator] Thank you so much for listening to the "Wisdom for Wealth for Life" podcast. If you are looking for financial advice, please contact us. Please visit ronblue.com. That's ronblue.com. Thank you for listening, and please subscribe to wherever you listen to your podcasts.

- [Announcer] Trust and investment management accounts and services offered by Ronald Blue Trust, Incorporated are not insured by the FDIC or any other federal government agency, are not deposits or other obligations of, nor guaranteed by any bank or bank affiliate, and are subject to investment risk, including possible loss of the principle about invested.

The Importance of Commemorating Black History Month
The history of Forsyth County, GA
Forsyth County today
The community involvement
How do we continue to redeem the story?
How as Christians should we respond?
Stewarding your influence
How can we leave a lasting legacy?