In junior high and high school whenever the teacher would assign a group project, typically only a couple of people in the group really did the work. The rest of the group found ways to extricate themselves from actually contributing to the project and simply celebrated when a good grade came back. Now that Juneteenth […]
History records (read: lies) that Emmet Till catcalled Carolyn Bryant one fateful summer day in 1955. That damning lie affirmed one of the oldest racist ideas ever formulated and justified fourteen-year-old Till’s murder. The lie was grounds for Bryant’s husband and brother-in-law’s acquittal by the “justice” system. The lie was accepted as fact for decades. […]
One day, I came home from elementary school excited to tell my parents what I had learned during Black History Month. I proudly recounted the narrative that I had learned: Harriet Tubman freed the slaves, then Rosa Parks sat down on the bus because she was tired, and Martin Luther King Jr. ended racism. My […]
Widely known as the African American National Anthem, “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” started as a poem by James Weldon Johnson. His brother, John Rosamund Johnson, set it to music in 1899. Anthems matter. A national anthem is a symbol that represents the history, beliefs, and traditions of a people. “Lift Ev’ry Voice…” is more […]
In the summer of 2017, I had the privilege of touring Washington, D.C. and Virginia. As I imagine happens to many travelers from the West Coast, I was taken aback by the richness of history found as one approaches the epicenter of our nation’s birth. On one of our excursions, my family and I took […]
Black History Month is a too often missed opportunity for religious formation. There is an abundant history of marginalized people in the Bible and the history of faith. We capitulate to white norms when we simply pick handfuls of masters to place on a pedestal instead of preparing for God’s communal work of liberation. February’s […]
Selected Important Works of Early African Christian Literature in the First 600 Years of Christianity The Christian religion was born in the Roman Empire and consequently spread under its influence and with its support. Christianity moved rapidly from Palestine, Asia, Africa, and then Europe, in that sequential order. The Continent of Africa was a significant […]
The issue of ending racism is much more complex than simply hugging a police officer or “hugging the hate away.” The issue is not a ‘lack of love’ from this Black person to a police officer. The issue is a lack of justice. How can I hug someone (ultimately an institution) who is withholding justice […]
“This album is dedicated to all the teachers that told me I’d never amount to nothin” was how the song began. However, as a young boy, I did not fully comprehend the depth of the message of this song by a rapper named The Notorious BIG. “Juicy” was one of the singles from BIG’s first […]
When I was a teenager, my mother hated the idea of me going out in groups with my friends. She would often tell me that we would be targets. I hated it. I was just a kid who wanted to enjoy a good time. My mother’s perspective was undoubtedly colored by the events surrounding the […]
The year was 1963. Many Blacks in Birmingham, Alabama gathered together in the oft familiar place of solace and shelter: 16th Street Baptist Church. As a place of influence, it became a location of mass meetings for Civil Rights leaders. Tensions increased as the movement became deeply involved in the depressing struggle for racial justice. […]
Christology runs through the veins of the Negro Spirituals.
It’s clear to see where the lines of history parallel 1968 and today.
Right on time for Black History Month, an essential documentary series is now available for streaming online! “Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Movement” features dynamic interviews, rare film, and compelling historical accounts of one of America’s poignant time periods…a period that we’re still in. This series opens in 1954 with the lynching of […]
Confederate monuments, kneeling during the national anthem, the #MeToo movement, Black Lives Matter—We live in an age of protest and reform. Today’s activists must pursue a deep knowledge of this nation’s history, especially as it relates to race and justice, in order to change the present and the future for the better. Listen as Jemar […]
Listen at Jemar shares his experience with racism in reformed theology, thoughts about the Westminster Catechism and the Sixth Commandment, an overview of the long history of racism in the American reformed tradition and what Godly grief over racism might look like. Photo credit
In 1937, Franklin Delano Roosevelt officially designated “Columbus Day” as a federal holiday. It commemorates the 1492 arrival of Italian explorer, Christopher Columbus, in the Americas. The colonial and imperialist elements of Columbus’ voyage, however, have made the holiday perennially controversial. Columbus and the Europeans who followed him brought diseases that ravaged the existing population, […]
This letter is a preface to protests. Its’a a disclaimer prior to anticipated discord. I’m sitting inside my Southside DC apartment as I write this, unsure of what this weekend might bring, but the grip of anxiousness is just strong enough for me to stop what I’m doing and write. Because I am black, because […]
“Changed laws do not change hearts” is a persistent sentiment in today’s evangelical culture.