Honor Dr. King by honoring black women. That’s what I decided to do last year and continue to do so this year. The best way for me to honor the essence of Dr. King and his work is by honoring the black women that are influencing me personally and professionally. The black women that I am in relationship with who inform, guide, and laugh with me through life and pray with me through preaching. I decided to do this because it was last year that I learned if it weren’t for Mahalia Jackson we would have no vision of a dream.
During Dr. King’s famous March on Washington speech “the dream” was not included in the original version. Certainly this language was familiar to The Good Reverend and his colleagues, but the part that many of us remember today was not in the original. It was during his speech that the Gospel great, Mahalia Jackson, yelled out from behind Martin “tell ’em about the dream, Martin!” It was then, at the leadership prompting of a black woman, Dr. King began to improvise and speak from his heart and not from his manuscript. If it weren’t for Mahalia we would have no vision of a dream today.
This is why I honor black women on Dr. King Day.
One of the black woman I love loving and supporting and that I specifically want you to know about today is Austin Channing Brown. She is one of my closest friends and is leading conversations online and in her speaking in regards to black dignity. She wrote a book that is scheduled to be released on May 15, 2018. You can pre-order your copy here. Her book I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness is a book that I see many churches in our Reformed tradition could use to accompany the work we are doing for anti-racism and a church freed from the sins of racism. Many black women will see themselves in her stories and will find solace and strength. Her personal stories are written from a deep, honest well of pain, joy, resilience, and focus. It was a delight to be part of her first public reading where we gave her a standing ovation in celebration for the book she has accomplished.
Pre-order your copy. Pre-order a couple copies! Make sure this book gets into the hands of small groups at your churches, clergy circle studies, and in your home library. You will be seeing a lot of Austin and I will be behind her celebrating her the whole way.
Honor Dr. King by honoring black women.