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Justice Denied, Peace Deferred

Black Suffering and White Christianity

Lead by Barry Harvey

2021 Summer Formation

Christian reflections on race to continue our Summer 2020 discussion on the church’s role in healing the wounds of racism



Ida B. Wells (1862–1931), Southern Horrors

Wells was a journalist, educator, suffragette, and co-founder of the National Association
for the Advancement of Colored People. Her investigative work are credited by many for
bringing lynching to the national consciousness. In this pamphlet Wells describes in
chilling details the horrors of lynching and the complicity of white culture (including
white churches) supporting it.


W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt) Du Bois (1868–1963), “Jesus Christ in Texas”

Du Bois was a sociologist, socialist, historian, civil rights activist,  editor, and co-founder
of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. His writings
revolutionized the way that American society saw African Americans. In this chapter
from his book Darkwater, composed shortly after the lynching of Jesse Washington in
1916, Du Bois tells a Dostoevsky-like story of Jesus visiting Waco.


Countee Cullen (1903–1946), The Black Christ

Cullen was poet, novelist, children's writer, and playwright, a leading figure of
the Harlem Renaissance, an intellectual and cultural revival of African American music,
dance, art, fashion, literature, theater and politics centered in Harlem, New York during
the 1920s and early 30s. In this poem, “Hopefully Dedicated to White America,” Cullen
connects Black suffering with the crucifixion of Christ.

July 11

Howard Thurman (1899–1981), Jesus and the Disinherited

Thurman was an author, speaker, church leader, and one of the principal architects of the
modern, nonviolent civil rights movement and a mentor to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In
this excerpt Thurman lays out “what the teachings of Jesus have to say to those who stand
at a moment in human history with their backs against the wall…the poor, the
disinherited, the dispossessed.”

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