Race Relations Sunday

Race Relations Sunday

Sunday nearest February 12
This day is observed on the Sunday nearest Abraham Lincoln's Birthday because of the role he played in freeing the slaves during the Civil War. Up until 1965 it was sponsored by the National Council of Churches, but since that time, sponsorship has been taken over by individual denominations within the National Council. A number of Roman Catholic groups observe Race Relations Sunday as well, and some Jewish organizations observe it on the preceding Sabbath. Although it was originally conceived in 1924 as an opportunity to focus on improving relations among all races, the longstanding racial conflict between whites and African Americans in the United States has made this the focal point in recent decades.
There are a number of other observances dealing with race relations at this same time in February. The NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) was established on Lincoln's Birthday in 1909, and members of this organization combine the observance of Race Relations Sunday with their organization's founding and with the birthday of the black abolitionist and early human rights activist Frederick Douglass on February 7, 1817.
SOURCES:
DaysCustFaith-1957, p. 60
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Reported are categories such as "Number of Churches Which Observed Race Relations Sunday or Brotherhood Month," "Total Number of Members of `White' Churches Who are From Minority Racial Backgrounds," and "[Predominantly Caucasian] Churches Receiving Negro Members for the First Time.