The last twelve years in the United States witnessed the election of the first black president. They also witnessed the resurgence of white nationalism. America seems to be engaged in a new reckoning about race. What’s the best way to understand this conflict? Religious history provides one helpful lens. Religion has always been at the center of America’s conflictual racial history. Religious defenders of slavery claimed the Bible justified the practice. But opponents of slavery, and advocates of civil rights, also appealed to the Bible to sustain their struggle for equal justice. More recently, religious scholars have explored the strange, regrettable convergence of Christian ideas with ideas of white supremacy. And conversely, theologians have shown that, at its heart, Christian faith is good news for the oppressed.
This program is an opportunity to think more about race and religion in the setting of some of the most dramatic events of America’s civil rights struggle. We will visit sites in Jackson, Memphis, Birmingham, Montgomery, and Selma. These are the places where great heroes of civil rights confronted defenders of an old order of white dominance. These are the places where America’s claim to be a land of equal opportunity was put to the test. Together with visits to historic sites in each city, we will read and talk about texts that explore histories of religion and race, and contemporary arguments about race and society. This struggle continues.
View the itinerary and more below and use the Register Now button above to join us.