Trayvon Martin, the Legacy of Lynching, and the Role of White Women

melanie-5-25-15By Melanie S. Morrison. Re-posted from LivingFormations.


*Five years ago , George Zimmerman was exonerated for the killing of Trayvon Martin. Three years ago today, Sandra Bland was found dead in a Waller County Texas jail cell. Just this week the Department of Justice announced a re-opening of its investigation into the lynching of Emmett Till.  It is in this context we share this piece. Melanie S. Morrison reflects on legacies of lynching and the particular roles white women and cultures surrounding white womanhood have played in the killing of Black people and the failure of any system to hold anyone responsible. Morrison reflects as she simultaneously steeps herself  in the courageous legacy of Lillian E. Smith, as an exceptionally rare white southern woman who dared challenge white supremacy and who knew all too well the role white women and white “liberals” play in sustaining it. We have much history to reckon with as we seek to do our work today. -Jennifer Harvey

Some problems we share as women, some we do not. You [white women] fear your children will grow up to join the patriarchy and testify against you; we [black women] fear our children will be dragged from a car and shot down in the street, and you will turn your backs on the reasons they are dying. – Audre Lorde

I had returned to the Lillian E. Smith Center for the Arts in the mountains of North Georgia for three weeks of solitude in July 2013. I hoped to make significant headway on my research and writing about the intergenerational legacy of lynching and how this reign of terror remains largely unacknowledged by the descendants of its white perpetrators. Continue reading

Parody Exposing Power

BindingWe continue our celebration of the 30th anniversary of Binding The Strong Man, Ched Myers’ political reading of Mark’s Gospel.  Today’s passage is Mark 6:14-29.

The portrayal of the Herodian court intrigue gives an even sharper edge to the episode; the dinner party (6:21-28) becomes the occasion for the murderous whims of the ruling class of Galilee to be revealed.  The guest list of his birthday banquet (6:21) reflects, in the words of Sherwin-White, “the court and establishment of a petty Jewish prince under strong Roman influence:”

  1.  his court nobles (tois megistasin)
  2.  his army officers (tois chiliarchois)
  3.  leading Galileans (tois protois tes Galilaias).

Mark accurately describes the inner circle of power as an incestuous relationship involving governmental, military, and commercial interests. Continue reading

We Begin to Flow

Alice WalkerBy Alice Walker, from a talk she gave at Auburn Theological Seminary (NYC, April 1995) in Anything We Love Can Be Saved: A Writer’s Activism (1997):

It is fatal to love a God who does not love you. A God specifically created to comfort, lead, advise, strengthen and enlarge the tribal borders of someone else. We have been beggars at the table of a religion that sanctioned our destruction. Our own religions denied, forgotten; our own ancestral connection to All Creation something of which we are ashamed. I maintain that we are empty, lonely, without our pagan-heathen ancestors; that we must lively them up within ourselves, and begin to see them as whole and necessary and correct: their Earth-centered, female-reverencing religions, like their architecture, agriculture, and music, suited perfectly to the lives they led. And lead, those who are left, today. Continue reading

Camp Compasión

PaveyFrom the Facebook page of photographer Steve Pavey:

“Let’s remember why we are here. We are not here to fight white supremacists. We are here to fight white supremacy.” – Jesus Ibanez, Mijente & OccupyICElou

Last Monday, Mijente with solidarity support from Black Lives Matter and other allies, established Camp Compasión / #OccupyICE in Louisville outside the doors of ICE and issued a set of demands with the message that we must #AbolishICE. Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: Baptized in Dirty Water

08b16ba9-5421-4489-912d-90b3f2b9ff43Proper 10(15) B
By Tevyn East and Jay Beck

Some were saying, “John the baptizer has been raised from the dead.” Mark 6:14

No shape. No symbols. Everything fluid. Everything wind and water.
God created chaos.
Swirling swamp potential of formlessness.
Only out of this swirling chaos can any creation be born.

I see.
I hear.
I feel. Continue reading

The Means

Helen Moore

Detroit legend Queen Mother Helen Moore orders a table for one from Michigan Governor Rick Snyder (PC: Jennifer Teed)

By Tommy Airey

This is the sequel to The Ways, posted on the day after the Spring Equinox 2018.

I won’t apologize.  But I must confess. I am a “biblical Christian.” Yet, in this post-colonial conversation, I know I can’t just testify. I must specify. The spiritual movement of the Hebrew prophets and Jesus is fundamentally a descent. The bible, like a broken record ever-resisting imperial feedback, plays a prejudiced tune that sides with the poor and oppressed and demonized and scapegoated. To be clear, the way of Jesus does not have the patent on the prophetic path less plodded. It is simply the route I’ve chosen. Or perhaps it has chosen me. Continue reading

Rekindled by Ritual

bonfire.jpegBy Joyce Hollyday

How to hold the heartbreak and the outrage? Hundreds of babies and toddlers, schoolchildren and teenagers wrenched from the embrace of their parents, many now sobbing inconsolably in immigrant detention centers—some unbelievably lost in the system. My friend Rosalinda, who used to earn just pennies an hour working in a U.S. factory on the Mexican border, who had a nephew who was murdered there, felt a need to tell me her own family’s story of escape from desperate poverty and rampant violence. She related a harrowing saga of vulnerable hiding places, grueling river and desert crossings, capture and release by Border Patrol agents, and a second attempt—all endured so that her children might have safety, enough food, and the chance to grow up. It is unimaginable to think that they might have been stolen from her here. Continue reading