LaFayette Memoir Offers First Person Look into Civil Rights Movement
Noted civil rights activist Bernard LaFayette, Jr. was only 22 when he took on the directorship of the Alabama Voter Registration Campaign for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1962, and he had his work cut out for him.
The job was in Selma, Alabama, where only 156 of 15,000 blacks of voting age were registered on the county voting roster.
“When I made the decision to accept the position in Selma, I gave no thought to whether I would live or die. I was already convinced that it was a dangerous and life-threatening place,” says LaFayette, now a distinguished senior scholar-in-residence at Candler.
But he went to Selma anyway, determined to give African Americans of the South a voice.
LaFayette’s new memoir, In Peace and Freedom: My Journey In Selma (University Press of Kentucky, 2013), recounts his years in the city that played a key role in the movement toward racial equality in the United States.
“I didn’t know what I would find as I went down this road,” writes LaFayette. “Not only did I have a strong curiosity, but I had a strong determination to do whatever I could to turn the situation around. There was never a doubt in my mind that change would eventually come.”
LaFayette will speak about his memoir and sign copies of the book on Tuesday, Dec. 3, at 4 p.m. in the Jones Room at the Robert W. Woodruff Library on Emory's campus. Read more here: bit.ly/1aq2dX7
Candler on List of 'Seminaries That Change the World'
Candler School of Theology is one of 18 “Seminaries that Change the World,” (STCTW) according to Faith3, an organization that seeks to support the church as it relates to young adults.
STCTW and Faith 3’s executive director, the Rev. Wayne Meisel, created the first-of-its-kind list to show service-minded young people the difference a theological education can make in their career and leadership development.
“STCTW was established as part of a movement to reclaim the important historic role that theological education has played in promoting community and justice while training and launching local and world leaders in all areas of society,” explains Meisel, who traveled for 3 years to seminaries and divinity schools to weigh them for inclusion on the list.
That role is one that Candler has played for almost 100 years, and one the school continues to live into today, says Dean Jan Love.
“Candler has a long history of forming faithful and creative leaders for the church and the world, leaders who fully engage their communities for the well-being of all,” she says.
“Our 7,500+ living alumni work in all corners of the world, in churches, schools, nonprofit organizations, ecclesial bodies, government agencies and corporations. They are people who serve as the hands and feet of Christ in the world.”
REAL Dialogue: Ellison and Gordon Give Voices To Society's Muted
Gregory C. Ellison, II, Candler’s assistant professor of pastoral care and counseling, has a mantra—“Once you see, you cannot not see.”
It’s at the core of his “Fearless Dialogues” project, a grassroots initiative bringing educators, elected officials, parents and even gang leaders together into honest, open conversation, where participants can see and hear each other, often for the first time.
Born out of his book Cut Dead But Still Alive: Caring for African American Young Men (Abingdon Press 2013), Ellison says “Fearless Dialogues” promotes a heightened awareness of the “unseen” in society, from the janitor who cleans the office, to the elderly, to the disenfranchised and destitute.
“Once you begin to see a homeless person as someone’s uncle, or aunt, or grandmother, or sister or brother, you just can’t step over that person like a piece of trash, because now you’ve seen them.”
Ellison sees this heightened awareness as crucial for authentic and sustainable change to take place in society.
“If you don’t view a person as a whole person, as someone who is made in the image of God, there’s no way you can have meaningful dialogue with them,” says Ellison.
It was a similar belief that led Atlanta native Alisha L. Gordon to enroll at Candler.
After her blog post about death row inmate Troy Davis’ execution went viral, Gordon, a former English teacher and now a 2nd-year MDiv student, began seeing her life’s path in a new light.