The Rev. Jesse Jackson urged black churches to help parishioners empower themselves economically at a speech in a Central Square church yesterday.
The civil rights leader addressed a range of topics from teaching inner-city youth about the stock market to the controversy over the Confederate flag in South Carolina.
But the main thrust of his speech at the St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Christian Life Center was that black Americans can break the cycle of poverty with help from their church communities.
"I was born in the slum, but the slum was not born in me," said Jackson.
His speech was part of the Richard Allen lecture series on "The Black Church in the New Millennium," and was moderated by Climenko Professor Charles J. Ogletree of Harvard Law School.
Jackson outlined four movements he said black Americans have striven to achieve throughout history.
So far, he said, black people have secured the first three movements: ending slavery, segregation and disenfranchisement. The fourth stage, which Jackson said is crucial to the complete liberation of blacks, is gaining access to capital and technology.
"We must choose to...get empowered and not embittered," he said.
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