The Divide

I went out Saturday afternoon to get some pen refills at Bromfield Pen Shop (yeah, I could have ordered them from Amazon, but I needed to get out). I parked my car on Charles Street, which divides the Public Garden and Boston Common, and walked a little over half a mile to the shop. After spending, what would seem, too much money on two refills, I decided to walk about and do some street shooting. I had about an hour and a half before my meter ran out. I’ve always maintained that Boston (and Massachusetts, in general), has the weirdest inhabitants, even by Florida’s standards, but I keep being surprised by them because I keep forgetting that fact. {NOTE: I will recant many stories over beer, with those who are curious]

I decided to walk towards the Downtown Crossing MBTA station, where the crowd usually gathers; stopping for a hot dog along the way. On the east corner of Summer St. and Washington St., two men were evangelizing on a soap box. It didn’t take long to get the gist of their message: “White men are what the Bible refers to as ‘the devil'”. Their use of the scriptures to support their claim was quite creative. It almost had me believing in it!

After about ten minutes of listening, I decided to stick around just in case some extremists started causing a ruckus. I just needed to take a cool picture of some type of drama (or even violence). I didn’t really care about “the message”. One guy approached on a bicycle to listen in. He seemed to be some sort of delivery guy. Maybe food delivery, judging by the thermal-looking container on his back. A few minutes into it, then he started to evangelize against the other two. I noticed something peculiar: besides the fact that delivery boy should have been delivering his stuff instead of preaching, both evangelists promoted following Jesus The Christ, but they had opposing views, even though they were using the same texts. The black evangelists claiming whites and Chinese being racist (and how the Chinese are the biggest group of illegal aliens), even claiming that God is racist. The white evangelist trying to convince the gathered of how much of a “false prophet” the other evangelist was.

“White evangelist” shouting scripture, trying to over-power the “black evangelist’s” speakers.

I was waiting for something else to happen, but the only thing were, mostly, white people scoffing at the preaching. It was apparent that the message wasn’t instigating anything in the target audience. In these days, there is no need for another Martin Luther King. The irony was the message being preached was addressing the complacency of non-whites and their adoption the white man’s “ways” and “money”, and those non-whites listening intently to the words, were actually showing such complacency! It’s as if they don’t realize it, or don’t care. Perhaps we need to give “the devil” his due and accept that those “ways” may be better for all of us. Who’s to say who is telling the truth here?

The evangelist turned his attention to Puerto Ricans, saying that Spanish is not our mother tongue. “Spanish” is a Spaniard trait. Not a Puerto Rican one. Then again, the name Puerto Rico is not even a Puerto Rican trait; it is also Spanish. This is not a new idea, even among boriqua. We just don’t care (at least, I don’t).

A little distraction from the action

As the time progressed, others started to “spread the word one way or another. I started getting “preached on” by random people, and one Hispanic lady (with her Tommy Hilfiger purse), clearly, a Jehovah’s Witness, was passing her bit of propaganda to the small crowd that had gathered. I don’t think the black evangelist expected such a lack luster reception, but I think they have to face the reality that their calling is a bit too late.

Even the crowd started to evangelize in a way…

Preaching “the word” no longer excites me, given the fact that it’s a very subjective and personal thing. These dueling banjos pretty much proved that point. I was a church-goer for a good fifteen years (give or take a few years), and in that time, my wife and I listened, participated, helped, counseled, rebuilt, created, uplifted, mentored, prayed over, praised, fellow-shipped, and made genuine friends and progress, but we never adhered to the beliefs of the church, though we respected them. This gave us more peace than what the church leaders were preaching. We’re still friends with those we fellow-shipped with, though, after reading this, we’ll probably have less friends.

In any case, I had more important things to be concerned about: my meter was running out.


Black evangelist showing the picture of “The Beast”. The claim was not that Jesus is the beast, but, rather the image of Jesus, as depicted by the white man. The woman on the foreground is really unaware of the message being preached.
A white millennial questioning the cause, as her, seemingly, boyfriend seems to be keeping a safe distant.
Little girl watching. Her expression seems to be one of “indifference” as oppose to “being unaware”, as most children are.
Alfred Lopez Written by:

Always looking...these images portray my interpretation of the world. I don't claim to have a "unique vision", but I do have an honest one. This site is dedicated to my passion and the people I interact with and photograph. This site is also a conduit in which I share any experience and knowledge in the field of photography.