Adventist Forum Civil Rights Journey, October 3–4, 2020

When Alisa Williams asked me to write about the Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice (informally known as the National Lynching Memorial) for Spectrum, I did not expect that the experience would begin a process of unfolding awareness about structural injustices. This became the seed of an idea to invite the Adventist Forum Board to Alabama for one of our scheduled board meetings and take the extra time to reflect on recent history of racial injustice in the United States.

Adventist Peace Fellowship will collaborate, as we seek to broaden the reach of this Journey by inviting a limited number of our Forum family to join us. We have invited several distinguished Adventists to journey with us and share their stories. Dr. Walter B. T. Douglas, Professor of Church History and History of Religion, Emeritus at the Theological Seminary at Andrews University has expressed enthusiasm about the gathering. Also, we will be honored to have several faculty from Oakwood University with us on the journey.

Based in Birmingham, Alabama, the group will depart early Sabbath morning, October 3, 2020, via chartered bus to Montgomery to see the Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice. After lunch in Montgomery, we will travel to Selma to walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Saturday evening, we will have dinner together in Birmingham.

Sunday morning, October 4, we will gather at the 16th Street Baptist Church for services beginning at 11 a.m. Then, we will walk to lunch via the Historic Civil Rights Trail that begins at Kelly Ingram Park. Finally, we will tour the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute at 2 p.m.

I hope we can develop friendships and understand one another better when we reflect on what these memorials mean to us as a society and as a church. If you are interested, please contact me immediately via email at [email protected]. I anticipate that we will have space for the first 25 people who respond. Pricing and hotel accommodations to be determined.

Here are some preparatory resources to add meaning to the Adventist Forum Civil Rights Journey:

The Cross and the Lynching Tree, Cone, James (2011)

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism, DiAngelo, Robin (2018)

Black Like Me, Griffith, John Howard (1961)

The Children, Halberstam, David (1998)

Why We Can’t Wait, King, Martin Luther (1964)

Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement, Lewis, John (1998)

Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama, The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution, McWhorter, Diane (2001)

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, Stevenson, Bryan (2014)

Also, these films:

Just Mercy (2020)

Selma (2014)

Carmen Lau is board chair of Adventist Forum, the organization that publishes Spectrum.

Photo courtesy of Outdoor Alabama on Flickr.

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This is a fantastic initiative! Kudos to the organizers. It should have been a GC’s initiative, but those people are way too busy writing irrelevant letters of "thoughts and prayers."
Go Spectrum GO!

(Not sure I can go; will be campaigning in Southern California for Ted Wilson’s re-election… :woozy_face::roll_eyes::rofl::rofl::rofl:)


Yes! Better late than never, I guess. Why is this church always playing catch-up?! If you see Mr. Wilson, kindly ask him to resign before this whole movement implodes because of his extraneous leadership. :peace_symbol:

Wonderful initiative. The Memorial, created by the Equal Justice Initiative led by Bryan Stevenson, is the beginning of a reckoning with this country’s legacy and the long-lasting impact of slavery, lynching, mass incarcerations. It is only by dealing with the past that healing can start.

I never met him, and probably won’t until we are all in Heaven…

Don’t take literally, or seriously, the last part of my post that you replied to. Fact is that I would never “campaign” for him; also, I live in SoCal, specifically in Riverside, at a walking distance from LSU. TW is not much popular around here, so I was joking - but only people who knew these details would understand the sarcasm…

But be assure that, if I ever meet him, I will certainly convey your message and a few other things of my own… :laughing:

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Thank you. I needed the laugh. I am still learning my way around here.

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One thing that is important to keep in mind, if I may, is not to take people’s comments too seriously - even if they have the appearance of being very serious. Don’t let people’s ideas, opinions, and stubbornness to consume you!

Also, sometimes someone may go after you personally just because they don’t like your opinions. If it gets ugly, just ignore them and focus on those people who respect your opinions and can “tolerate” your personal beliefs.

Enjoy Spectrum!

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Good tips for here or anywhere anytime. :clap:

Many Spectrum readers will know that one of Spectrum´s founders and long-time editor Roy Branson was part of the Martin Luther King Jr march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama - his early and lasting focus on social justice was not a focus of the GC, whose leaders discouraged Adventists from participating in marches. See this short summary of an interview with Roy about his Selma experience at an Adventist Forum Conference in 2008.

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