I know I won’t always have the opportunity to do this, but I liked the idea for once in a while. Especially in light of my past two writings, I wanted to provide a few resourced and items that are influencing me at present.
I’ll list them in order of time required.
NPR INTERVIEW WITH ISABEL WILKERSON
Isabel Wilkerson is the former Chicago bureau chief for the New York Times, Pulitzer Prize winner and author of The Warmth of Other Suns, which is about the Great Migration (referenced in my post on violence), when roughly 6 million blacks migrated North over between 1915 and 1975.
I’ve not finished her great book, but this interview with Terry Gross on Fresh Air is a great primer. Wilkerson is an articulate communicator. (She borrows the title from a shimmering poem by Richard Wright—himself a product of the Great Migration—which I’ll add below.)
It’s about a 25 minute segment.
LETTER FROM A BIRMINGHAM JAIL (MLK)
I almost feel abashed about including this, but I’m certain that a vast majority of Americans haven’t read King’s deft, incisive letter.
As a Christian leader, I feel strongly that it should be a required reading for all seminaries or ministry organizations. What you need to know is that a group of Christian leaders penned a scathing open letter to King in the wake of protests he’d been invited to lead in Birmingham, AL. Even Billy Graham (later a friend of King’s) encouraged him to “put the brakes on a little bit.”
His jail cell response is both electrifying and flawlessly astute. I can’t think of many more important pieces for today’s Christian leaders to digest—far more than inspiring rhetoric, it is a succinct treatise on the Christian response to racial injustice.
And it would only take you about 30 minutes to read!
THE 13TH (NETFLIX)
The institution of slavery was abolished under the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which reads:
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
The troubling wording of “except as a punishment for crime” was immediately seized upon in the Reconstruction Era and Jim Crow South. The 13th Amendment ostensibly creates an incarceration loophole to enslavement.
The Netflix documentary The 13th explores the tragic repercussions of this loophole within the black community to this day—the reality of mass incarceration.
It builds largely upon Michelle Alexander’s important book The New Jim Crow. If you can’t invest the time to read this book, The 13th will give you a compelling glimpse of it’s needed message.
If you wonder about why current political rhetoric is so troubling in the black community. This will help you understand.
Still not convinced? How about an endorsement from Jim Gaffigan?
— Jim Gaffigan (@JimGaffigan) February 7, 2017
The 13th is 1 hour and 40 minutes long. A valuable investment of time.
I’ll end with the excerpt from Wright’s poem:
“I was leaving the South
to fling myself into the unknown . . .
I was taking a part of the South
to transplant in alien soil,
to see if it could grow differently,
if it could drink of new and cool rains,
bend in strange winds,
respond to the warmth of other suns
and, perhaps, to bloom”