Allan Appel photo

Dixwell Avenue Congregational Church celebrated its 188th year by rededicating itself to what State Sen. Toni Harp called the civil rights challenges of our time—educational and health disparities of modern African-Americans.

In a kind of secular sermon, by turns congratulatory and grimly challenging, Sen. Harp (pictured with the church pastor Dr. John Henry Scott, III and his son Julien) astonished some 75 parishioners—whose congregational forebears led the civil and human rights struggle for victims of La Amistad—with a finding she herself found astonishing:

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