Hidden History: Rev. Gerald Arnold

Evansville has a rich civil rights history, but many right here at home struggled with oppression. The reality of segregation and hate were all real and embedded in our country. One man overcame all of that to help those in need. In the end, he called Evansville home after growing up in the Deep South.

Eyewitness News' Brad Byrd visited Rev. Gerald Arnold's church to get his interpretation of a slice of American history that changed lives forever.

His eyes have seen life-changing events. They've seen the brutal pain of history and a decade in turmoil.

But the eyews of Gerald Arnold have also witnessed hope.

He is now 73-years-old but he shows no signs of stopping – living by the meaning of a word prominently emblazoned behind his pulpit: integrity.

He reitred from a solid job at Bristol Myers more than 20 years ago. His mission as leader of the local chapter of the NAACP is outlined by the character of people who come to his church built in the mid-1800's – tucked in the nooks and crannies of Evansville's west side.

Rev. Arnold came of age in the violent 1960's – growing up in Monroe, Louisiana. He saw the fear in people's eyes, the injustice they suffered simply because of the color of their skin.

The gash torn by the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King, and Robert F. Kennedy still trouble his soul.

One event, the murder of 14-year-old Emmitt Till – murdered with his life ahead of him – still stirs his soul.

Today, Rev. Arnold says he has hope. Things have changed but much is left to be done with race relations in our country.

Rev. Arnold touches lives at Independence Missionary Baptist Church and has been the leader of the local NAACP for more than 20 years.


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