"God had to get me to the point that I didn’t see people as a race, or as different; but as His child."
What did it feel like to be a poor young black man in the era of racial segregation in the United States? Welcome to my 4-part interview with 83-year old Tommy Christmas, who grew up fatherless in the projects, reached his dream in white collar America, and left it all to become a preacher. Come along for this first-hand experience of 20th century American history, folks!
Episode 21: Part 1 of 4
What did it feel like to be a poor young black man in the era of racial segregation in the United States? Tommy describes, “You were aware, but you were so poor. Your day was trying to survive, so you wanted to do the best you could with everything that was given. You wanted to do the best you could in school. But when I got into high school, I began to realize that I didn’t have a future. I couldn’t dream about a nice job. I couldn’t dream about an office job. I couldn’t even think of becoming a doctor or lawyer or teacher or any of those things because I didn’t have any money. And even if I had money, I was limited with how much I could expect to come out of that. Because that’s the way the society was.” But Tom pressed through all those barriers and achieved his dream. Watch Tommy’s video “Don’t Tell Me I Can’t” at themystoryproject.com and listen as we explore how he attempts to change his future—and how his future changes him.
Episode 22: Part 2 of 4
In 1963, what does a kid from the projects do with a dream when he runs out of money to achieve it? Tommy struggles to pay for college, Martin Luther King Jr. delivers his “I Have A Dream” speech, and John F. Kennedy is assassinated. Folks, this interview is first-hand history! Continue this journey to find out how almighty God used Tommy’s childhood, success, an illness and a group of prayer ladies to break into his world just to say "I love you." Through tears Tommy cries out, “God Almighty — I never knew Him! I knew about God, but I didn’t know he knew me. I thought I was not worthy!” Listen in, you don’t want to miss this!
Episode 23: Part 3 of 4
Tommy talks about his spiritual conversion and the radical perspective shift that transformed him from partier to preacher. While searching for wisdom and direction in his life, Tommy began reading the Bible. Soon Tommy felt a call into ministry; he left his downtown Black church and joined a mostly-white church in the suburbs, West End Assembly of God, because he felt love and peace when he attended. Tommy realized that God was taking away his segregation mentality: God affirmed that Tommy was worthy of His love. During the next 20 years, WEAG developed into a place of diversity, inclusion, and world culture. Not only did Tommy lose his perspective of discrimination, he also helped a Southern church reflect God’s acceptance of everyone!
Episode 24: Part 4 of 4
Looking back on his life's journey, Tommy talks about the world of today: divisions, protests, and the secret of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s success. With an honest look at his own pivotal life change, Tommy explains how addressing his own failings killed his original spirit of unrest and awakened a powerful Spirit of love, self-control, and grace toward others.