The Voting Rights Act and the Transformation of American Democracy
Author: Gary May
Publisher: Hachette UK
When the Fifteenth Amendment of 1870 granted African Americans the right to vote, it seemed as if a new era of political equality was at hand. Before long, however, white segregationists across the South counterattacked, driving their black countrymen from the polls through a combination of sheer terror and insidious devices such as complex literacy tests and expensive poll taxes. Most African Americans would remain voiceless for nearly a century more, citizens in name only until the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act secured their access to the ballot. In Bending Toward Justice, celebrated historian Gary May describes how black voters overcame centuries of bigotry to secure and preserve one of their most important rights as American citizens. The struggle that culminated in the passage of the Voting Rights Act was long and torturous, and only succeeded because of the courageous work of local freedom fighters and national civil rights leaders—as well as, ironically, the opposition of Southern segregationists and law enforcement officials, who won public sympathy for the voting rights movement by brutally attacking peaceful demonstrators. But while the Voting Rights Act represented an unqualified victory over such forces of hate, May explains that its achievements remain in jeopardy. Many argue that the 2008 election of President Barack Obama rendered the act obsolete, yet recent years have seen renewed efforts to curb voting rights and deny minorities the act’s hard-won protections. Legal challenges to key sections of the act may soon lead the Supreme Court to declare those protections unconstitutional. A vivid, fast-paced history of this landmark piece of civil rights legislation, Bending Toward Justice offers a dramatic, timely account of the struggle that finally won African Americans the ballot—although, as May shows, the fight for voting rights is by no means over.
The Birmingham Church Bombing that Changed the Course of Civil Rights
Author: Doug Jones
Publisher: All Points Books
Category: Political Science
The story of the decades-long fight to bring justice to the victims of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, culminating in Sen. Doug Jones' prosecution of the last living bombers. On September 15, 1963, the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama was bombed. The blast killed four young girls and injured twenty-two others. The FBI suspected four particularly radical Ku Klux Klan members. Yet due to reluctant witnesses, a lack of physical evidence, and pervasive racial prejudice the case was closed without any indictments. But as Martin Luther King, Jr. famously expressed it, "the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." Years later, Alabama Attorney General William Baxley reopened the case, ultimately convicting one of the bombers in 1977. Another suspect passed away in 1994, and US Attorney Doug Jones tried and convicted the final two in 2001 and 2002, representing the correction of an outrageous miscarriage of justice nearly forty years in the making. Jones himself went on to win election as Alabama’s first Democratic Senator since 1992 in a dramatic race against Republican challenger Roy Moore. Bending Toward Justice is a dramatic and compulsively readable account of a key moment in our long national struggle for equality, related by an author who played a major role in these events. A distinguished work of legal and personal history, the book is destined to take its place as a canonical civil rights history.
Radical Reflections on the Bible, the Church, and the Body Politic
Author: Obery M. Hendricks, Jr.
Publisher: Orbis Books
In these passionate and wide-ranging essays Obery Hendricks offers a challenging engagement with spirituality, economics, politics, contemporary Christianity, and the abuses committed in its name. Among his themes: the gap between the spirituality of the church and the spirituality of Jesus; the ways in which contemporary versions of gospel music "sensationalize" today's churches into social and political irrelevance; how the economic principles and policies espoused by the religious right betray the most basic principles of the same biblical tradition they claim to hold dear; the domestication of Martin Luther King's message to foster a political complacency that dishonors King's sacrifices. He ends with a stinging rebuke of the religious right's idolatrous "patriotism" in a radical manifesto for those who would practice "the politics of Jesus" in the public sphere.
"An anthology of poetry that addresses war, hope, history, and justice in the 21st century. The anthology creates a complex portrait of the new century, and offers ideas about how to live in it, and what change and justice might look like." [Back cover.]
Bending Towards Justice is a series of reflections that call us to look more deeply into what the Gospel is and what it isn't. With clarity and prophetic insight, the author shows us that when Jesus spoke about the kingdom of God, he wasn't talking about a place set aside for us in the sky when we die; he was talking about the very rule of God right here on earth, in the form of justice, peace, and restored relationships with one another and with the very earth itself. Nils von Kalm's greatest passion is to show how Jesus Christ is relevant to all of life. If Jesus really is who he said he is, and if we really believe it, then it has to affect every aspect of existence, from our relationships to our politics, our economics, our sexuality and our care for the earth. These must all be central Gospel issues and not optional add-ons to the so-called 'real' issue of getting people into heaven. Forged out of two decades of experience in the field of aid and development, as well as his own personal experiences, you will find in these pages a passionate collection of stories and reflections that are at once thoughtful, hopeful, compassionate and confronting. With disarming clarity and honesty, they will challenge you to rethink what the Gospel is and who God is. At a time when fear, hatred and division seem to be everywhere we look, these reflections show us again how Jesus is relevant to life in the here and now. From stories about life in poor nations to the struggles of loneliness and depression in the affluent West, you will read about how Jesus is just as relevant today as he was 2,000 years ago.
A Witness for God in Mississippi; The Story of Dr. Charles Johnson
Author: Chet Bush
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Category: Biography & Autobiography
This is the true story of Dr. Charles Johnson, an African American preacher who went to Mississippi in 1961 during the summer of the Freedom Rides. Fresh out of Bible School Johnson hesitantly followed his call to pastor in Mississippi, a hotbed for race relations during the early 1960’s. Unwittingly thrust into the heart of a national tragedy, the murder of three Civil Rights activists, he overcame fear and adversity to become a leader in the Civil Rights movement. As a key African American witness to take the stand in the trial famously dubbed the “Mississippi Burning” case by the FBI, Charles Johnson played a key role for the Federal Justice Department, offering clarity to the event that led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This story of love, conviction, adversity, and redemption climaxes with a shocking encounter between Charles and one of the murderers. The reader will be riveted to the details of a gracious life in pursuit of the call of God from the pulpit to the streets, and ultimately into the courtroom.
A trio of prominent foreign policy experts present the first serious book-length appraisal of Barack Obama's foreign policy, arguing that Obama thus far has, above all, been a foreign policy pragmatist, tackling one issue at a time in a thoughtful way.
By the time of Barack Obama's inauguration as the 44th president of the United States, he had already developed an ambitious foreign policy vision. By his own account, he sought to bend the arc of history toward greater justice, freedom, and peace; within a year he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, largely for that promise. In Bending History, Martin Indyk, Kenneth Lieberthal, and Michael O’Hanlon measure Obama not only against the record of his predecessors and the immediate challenges of the day, but also against his own soaring rhetoric and inspiring goals. Bending History assesses the considerable accomplishments as well as the failures and seeks to explain what has happened. Obama's best work has been on major and pressing foreign policy challenges—counterterrorism policy, including the daring raid that eliminated Osama bin Laden; the "reset" with Russia; managing the increasingly significant relationship with China; and handling the rogue states of Iran and North Korea. Policy on resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, however, has reflected serious flaws in both strategy and execution. Afghanistan policy has been plagued by inconsistent messaging and teamwork. On important "softer" security issues—from energy and climate policy to problems in Africa and Mexico—the record is mixed. As for his early aspiration to reshape the international order, according greater roles and responsibilities to rising powers, Obama's efforts have been well-conceived but of limited effectiveness. On issues of secondary importance, Obama has been disciplined in avoiding fruitless disputes (as with Chavez in Venezuela and Castro in Cuba) and insisting that others take the lead (as with Qaddafi in Libya). Notwithstanding several missteps, he has generally managed well the complex challenges of the Arab awakenings, striving to strike the right balance between U.S. values and interests. The authors see Obama's foreign policy to date as a triumph of discipline and realism over ideology. He has been neither the transformative beacon his devotees have wanted, nor the weak apologist for America that his critics allege. They conclude that his grand strategy for promoting American interests in a tumultuous world may only now be emerging, and may yet be curtailed by conflict with Iran. Most of all, they argue that he or his successor will have to embrace U.S. economic renewal as the core foreign policy and national security challenge of the future.
Tools, Pedagogies, and Strategies to Transform Your Campus
Author: Tracy Davis
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Tools and strategies to foster transformative change for social justice Many believe that social justice education is simply the new politically correct term for diversity-focused intervention or multiculturalism. The true definition, however, is more complex, nuanced, and important to understand. Higher education today needs clarity on both the concept of social justice and effective tools to successfully translate theory into practice. In Advancing Social Justice: Tools, Pedagogies, and Strategies to Transform Your Campus, Tracy Davis and Laura M. Harrison offer educators a clear understanding of what social justice is, along with effective practices to help higher education institutions embrace a broad social justice approach in all aspects of their work with students, both inside and outside of the classroom. Theoretical, philosophical, and practical, the book challenges readers to take a step back from where they are, do an honest and unvarnished assessment of how they currently practice social justice, rethink how they approach their work, and re-engage based on a more informed and rigorous conceptual framework. The authors begin by clarifying the definition of social justice as an approach that examines and acknowledges the impact of institutional and historical systems of power and privilege on individual identity and relationships. Exploring identity devel-opment using the critical lenses of history and context, they concentrate on ways that oppression and privilege are manifest in the lived experiences of students. They also highlight important concepts to consider in designing and implementing effective social justice interventions and provide examples of effective social justice education. Finally, the book provides teachers and practitioners with tools and strategies to infuse a social justice approach into their work with students and within their institutions.