Intern Study Curriculum
2006-2007 Readings (reviews by Kyle Lambelet)
Theology of Empire
Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde
"What are the words you do not yet have? What do you need to say? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence? Perhaps for some of you here today, I am the face of one of your fears. Because I am woman, because I am Black, because I am lesbian, because I am myself - a Black woman warrior poet doing my work - come to ask you are you doing yours?" (Lorde, 41-2).
What keeps me silent? Where do I direct my anger? or my guilt? How do I express, own, and embody the fullness of my complex self? What is my work? This collection of Audre Lorde's prose gives birth to these questions of vocation, discernment and inner reflection. Challenging readers, not through theory or abstraction, Lorde speaks from the depths of her own experience and work at the intersection of multiple oppressions. It is from this authority that she challenges the fragmentation of our-selves, inviting the reader to the work of inner-transformation: naming and unmasking the systems of oppression that reside deep within each of us.
White Theology: Outing Supremacy in Modernity by James W. Perkinson
Going where few white men have gone before Jim Perkinson takes on the challenge of Black Theologians to "out" the tribal god of white supremacy as the subject of worship in modern thought, ritual, posture and being. Through lyrical prose that move with the rhythm and story of the Detroit streets, Perkinson challenges white theology in its pre-cognitive formulations by exploring the history of white privilege and black response. Nuanced, thoughtful, and emotionally expressive Perkinson gives voice to a range of voices but particularly the pain and innovation of Blacks in America. As he says in his introduction, "Undoing the muteness of white ways of being begins with learning to hear the urgency of black anguish." Perkinson's courage and willingness to remain present to these spaces of deep pain and forge his own journey of repentance come to fruition in a beautifully written and powerfully presented call for anti-racist work.
A Keeper of the Word: Selected Writings of William Stringfellow edited by Bill Wylie Kellermann
Bill Wylie Kellermann, friend of William Stringfellow and Word & World Board Member, has compiled what Phillip Berrigan called, "the textbook for Christian resistance." Bringing his many writings into dynamic conversation with each other, Wylie Kellermann presents the Stringfellowian call for living humanly and biblically in the presence of the power of death, which for Stringfellow are two particular ways of saying the same truth. From his experience as a white, Harvard educated lawyer practicing and living in Harlem, to his exorcism of Richard Nixon and call for impeachment, to his call for reparations from the Mainline Protestant churches, A Keeper of the Word gives voice to the radical discipleship and radical humanity of William Stringfellow.
Engaging the Powers: Discernment and Resistance in a World
Wink's magnum opus, Engaging the Powers comes as the final chapter in his powers and principalities trilogy. Growing out of the teaching of William Stringfellow, Wink works from the premise: "The Powers are good. The Powers are fallen. The Powers must be redeemed." Wink wraps stories from across the globe, social and political theory, and biblical study around this central claim to make a compelling case for engaging the powers nonviolently in the world and within ourselves. Through this over-arching critique of the Domination System Wink moves toward unifying the struggles for social justice in the work of transformation in such a way that the movement engages both the multilayered presence of that System as it manifests within people, institutions, spirits, ideologies, and most importantly each one of us.
Civil Rights/Black Power/Labor History
Black Workers Remember: An Oral History of Segregation, Unionism, and the Freedom Struggle by Michael Keith Honey
Michael Keith Honey has given readers a rare gift in his book Black Worker’s Remember: the gift of the stories of workers, union organizers, and civil rights activists in their raw unfiltered power. Honey's focus is particularly on those stories that emerge from rich Mid-South soil of Memphis, Tennessee. As African American’s moved from working the cotton field to the factory the plantation culture remained, particularly under the regime of Memphis businessman Edward H. Crump. It was through collectively organizing that African American workers were able to confront power and begin to collectively bargain with the white business elite. This confrontation, of course, was not without great personal and communal sacrifice and the stories of the women and men that Honey archives give testimony to this painful reality. Honey’s work is a helpful reminder that some of the best, most radical, recourses for reflection on movement history cannot be found in books, but rather down the street. He remarks in the epilogue: “One can never forget, many of these workers told me, that the scars of the past are part of a chain of history still affecting people in the present.”
Blood Done Sign My Name: A True Story by Timothy Tyson
Civilities and Civil Rights: Greensboro, North Carolina and the Black Struggle for Freedom by William H. Chafe
Greensboro, North Carolina, though a city of only moderate size, has served as the tinderbox to set the flame of several national movements. William H. Chafe follows that history from, roughly, 1940 to 1970 in his book Civilities and Civil Rights: Greensboro, North Carolina, and the Black Struggle for Freedom. In those decisive years, the freedom struggle swirled around the integration of public spaces, from schools to lunch counters. In each of these movements, those in the struggle faced off with the white power structure and its idol of civility. While attempting to maintain a progressive image, or what Chafe calls the “progressive mystique”, the white power structure systematically undercut, avoided, and attempted to divide the Greensboro movement. Chafe shows how the movement grew to challenge white power structure of civility more and more directly and alludes to the now verifiable reality that the freedom struggle continues on even into the present day.
The Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission Final Report: …examination of the context, causes, sequence and consequence of the events of November 3, 1979.
One of the fruits of the two years of interviews, public hearings, and in-depth research of the Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission is the over five-hundred page Final Report. Beginning with a history of black power, multicultural and labor organizing, and the redevelopment of the Ku Klux Klan in North Carolina the Final Report goes on to give the context of planning for and the sequence of the Greensboro Massacre of November 3, 1979; where 5 labor organizers were shot and killed by Klan/Nazi members while participating in an anti-Klan march and economic justice conference. With a view of the history leading up to and events of November 3, 1979 the Final Report then explores how and why the police, the media, and the judicial system responded as they did, in larger part demonizing the organizers of the rally and acquitting the Klan/Nazi of wrong doing in both criminal trials. The Final Report concludes with its recommendations for Greensboro in 2006, acknowledging that the past and the present are inextricably bound up in one another. The Final Report, impressive in its scope, is a gift not only to the City of Greensboro but to anyone who might commit to read its many pages. It gives readers an opportunity not only for historical analysis, but at its deepest level an occasion for self-reflection with the potential for repentance and redirection.
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