Cloudy Skies for Friends General Conference — Part 1
Early in July, I was at the 2016 Gathering of Friends General Conference in Minnesota. And not long afterward, a Quaker I’ll call “Goodfriend” sent me an email, passing on a message from another, Friend, called here “Onequake.”
Chuck—I thought you might be interested in this email. It’s from a member of our Meeting . . . .Do you know anything about racial tensions at FGC?
Begin forwarded message:
Subject: FGC and race
Date: July 11, 2016
This morning we attended [a Meeting far from home]. We heard that there were racial incidents at [the] FGC [Gathering in Minnesota early in July]. And that the area of MN chosen for the gathering is well-known for racial problems.
Also that last year there were people holding shotguns and confederate flags outside the grocery store in Cullowhee [NC – the town by Western Carolina U] during thec2015 Gathering. People of color felt very unwelcome and unsafe. And in California, PA [site of the 2014 FGC Gathering] we’re told there were incidents with security.
[At this Sunday’s meeting] a woman of color was collecting signatures on a petition asking for two things:
1. That the FGC site committee be majority people of color.
2. An internal racial audit of FGC systems.
Having never attended FGC I am at a loss about this and would like to hear from others who have attended this year or those years in Cullowhee or PA. MN surprised me, Cullowhee does not. Do others know about this? If so, why isn’t this a huge scandal among Friends? Have I missed all those discussions in every city I visit? The site committee seems to be only five people. Why wouldn’t FGC immediately appoint three people of color to that committee as a show of solidarity and good faith? Why is a petition necessary? It seems to be a no-brainer. I said to the woman who had the petition that if MN, PA and NC aren’t safe, it sounds like we have to leave the country to meet. She said there are plenty of safe places for people of color. If I meet her again, I will ask her where those places would be.
. . . I feel like I’m missing a lot of pieces from this puzzle. If anyone knows something about FGC and race, please give me your insight. Thank you.
Continue reading Cloudy Skies for Friends General Conference — Part 1
Jimmie Lee Jackson: One Who Went Before
If I could, I’d add another stone to the crowded cemetery rows here, bearing the name of Jimmie Lee Jackson. He was shot by an Alabama State Trooper in 1965, and died several days later.
The same trooper-shooter killed another unarmed young black man in 1966. Forty-five years later, under pressure from black state legislators, a prosecutor finally took up Jackson’s case. The story is summarized in this blog post.
Jackson’s death, and the heedless racism that killed him, did not go unmarked or unanswered: it sparked the march from Selma to Montgomery, with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. & now-Rep. John Lewis at the head, which brought about passage of the Voting Rights Act.
Continue reading Jimmie Lee Jackson: One Who Went Before
“Pathway to Freedom” — Opening Night!
Yes! The wait is over!
The fabulous unique outdoor drama about Quakers & others joining enslaved people in their efforts to escape bondage in pre-Civil War North Carolina takes the stage for the premiere performance of its 22nd season tonight, July 7. Showtime is at 8 PM at the Snow Camp Drama ampitheatre in historic Snow Camp NC.
(If you can’t get there tonight, there are performances Friday and Saturday, then again on July 14-16, and six more after that before the limited run concludes on Saturday August 6.)
More About the play is here.
Ticket prices & directions are here:
Don’t miss it!
“Pathway To Freedom” – Getting Ready For The Show
Ladies, Gentlemen, & Friends: Meet Levi & Katherine (aka Katie) Coffin, circa 1850. They helped make (and followed) the Underground Railroad from central North Carolina to Indiana and Ohio . . . .
Oh, wait — Meet Levi & Katie Coffin, 2016 . . . Snow Camp NC
Normally, the young folks above are named Sarah Hornaday and Jay Williams.
Continue reading “Pathway To Freedom” – Getting Ready For The Show
A Unique Quaker Drama: “Pathway To Freedom”
Resistance to slavery in North Carolina is a story that has not been fully told. The compelling original play Pathway to Freedom opens the door to more awareness and better understanding of this epic history.
Continue reading A Unique Quaker Drama: “Pathway To Freedom”
Lewis and Sanders-On Almost Going Viral
Thanks to everyone who read & passed along my Feb. 12 post about John Lewis, Bernie Sanders, and the 1960s civil rights movement.
To my great amazement, the post went, if not quite viral, then at least contagious: as of Monday afternoon, it has garnered almost 12,000 hits; the highest total for any earlier post is a bit over 2300. And it may have had an impact.
Continue reading Lewis and Sanders-On Almost Going Viral
Lewis On Bernie: “Didn’t see him. Never Met Him.”
Hello, Congressman John Lewis. You’re one of my heroes. A legend, an icon.
Continue reading Lewis On Bernie: “Didn’t see him. Never Met Him.”
I’m Sorry, Dr. King. I’m So Sorry.
There’s this new book — well, new last year: Give Us The Ballot, by Ari Berman. Berman writes a lot for The Nation magazine.
I was going to review Give Us The Ballot for this Dr. King Day.
Continue reading I’m Sorry, Dr. King. I’m So Sorry.
January 11, 2017: Great news for Pauli Murray fans: in the last days of the Obama administration, the Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, signed the declaration making Pauli Murray’s home in Durham NC a national historic landmark. The Pauli Murray website is here.
Why is this good news? The post below, from late 2015, begins to sketch out Pauli Murray’s story.:
Yesterday I was reminded that November 20 is Pauli Murray’s birthday — her 105th, to be precise.
And who is Pauli Murray, a few of you may ask? Continue reading Pauli Murray – A Saint For Our Time (And My Neighborhood)