Last Tuesday night, I went down to Chicago's Grant Park to witness
Barack Obama's election and victory speech. At the event, I was struck
by the fact that the crowd was at its loudest and most excited not when
Obama and his family took the stage but earlier, when CNN projected him
as the winner.
The story of the lone, crazed gunman is a familiar one in America, but that is not the story of Benjamin Smith, who went on a drive-by shooting spree in Illinois and Indiana over the July 4 weekend, killing two and wounding nine.
Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin stands alongside Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography, Thomas Paine's Common Sense and Frederick Douglass's Narrative as an American classic. Any liberally educated person needs to know something about Eliza, Uncle Tom, Eva and the notorious Simon Legree.
In The Help, set during the civil rights era, an aspiring
journalist decides to write a book about the African-American domestics
in the small Mississippi town where she grew up. The movie, adapted by
Tate Taylor from Kathryn Stockett's best seller, is a glossy Hollywood
potboiler that uses a serious theme and historical context as cover.
Two years ago, blogger Christian Lander struck satiric gold by chronicling the interests and motivations of white people.
Lander’s valuable insight was that as members of a privileged majority
group, we tend to think of ourselves as simply part of the overall
culture—when in fact we comprise a racial subgroup like a
The new diversity and tolerance survey numbers from
the Public Religion Research Institute were released last week for the 9/11
anniversary, and many of the findings are about religious freedom, pluralism
and Islamophobia. But the one I found most sobering was this:
In modern imperialism, race, colonization and Christianity have historically been so intrinsically embedded with one another that the connections between them have seemed natural, and Christian theologians have participated in the geographical and geopolitical construction of this imperialism. Willie James Jennings's book is a genealogy of their participation.
Seven years in the writing, this is a significant and comprehensive history of African Americans and their quest for recognition in the Episcopal Church. It completes a trilogy that began with George Freeman Bragg's History of the Afro-American Group (1922) and continued with Harold Lewis's Yet with a Steady Beat (1996).