Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Marable Manning (Thinking about Race after the Death of Trayvon Martin)

I don’t think a white man can ever fully understand the backstory of something like the sad and tragic killing of Trayvon Martin.

This week, as news and conversations surrounding Martin’s death brings so much pain and horror, I am also reading the acclaimed biography Malcolm X:  A Life of Reinvention by Marable Manning.

About that backstory…  African Americans have a long history of experiencing racially motivated violence against them by white people.  They are not imagining such violence.  It is real.  And that history gives them a different perspective on the story of Trayvon Martin than any white person can grasp.

For example, I just read this stark reminder, from the Manning book on Malcolm X:

Between 1882 and 1927, Georgia’s white racists lunched more than five hundred blacks, putting the state second only to Mississippi in lynching deaths. 

Every one of these was the case of a black person lynched by white people just because he was black.

I will be presenting my synopsis of this book at the April 5 Urban Engagement Book Club (we meet at noon).  These sessions include my synopsis, and then a conversation led by Reverend Gerald Britt of CitySquare.  (Read Gerald Britt’s blog here).  Frequently, Reverend Britt brings in another community leader to assist him in leading this part of the session.

Later in April, April 19, I will present a second race-related book at the second Urban Engagement Book Club of the month (we meet twice each month):  Taking Out the Trash in Tulia, Texas by Alan Bean.  It is about a much more recent racially motivated horror story.  The author himself will lead the discussion after I present this synopsis.

I think that we all need to better understand the issues surrounding race relations, and the dangers that still exist to our society, as well as actual dangers to individuals, because of racism.  It might be worth the investment of a couple of noon hours for you to join us in these conversations.

CitySquare (formerly Central Dallas Ministries) has hosted the Urban Engagement Book Club for a few years now.  The steady, consistent exposure to books dealing with social justice and poverty themes has greatly expanded my understanding of some very real world challenges that we face in our always fragile world.

Reverend Gerald Britt leads the discussions. Rev. Britt is the Vice President of Public Policy & Community Program Development for CitySquare. He is also the author of a monthly column for the Dallas Morning News.

Come join us.  Click here for details about the book club; and click here for more information about CitySquare.

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