We’re Still Doing Easter?

We’re Still Doing Easter?

Is it time for Easter again? It doesn’t feel like Easter season. Easter (or Resurrection Sunday for the purists) is around the corner, and yet many Millennials feel little reason to celebrate. When I think of Easter, I think of special sermons, church presentations, fancy outfits, and big dinners. I also think of bunnies, eggs, and baskets thanks to corporate marketing. Ironically, what I don’t think about immediately is the Resurrection. But isn’t that the reason for the season?

Selective Memory

For the past few years, social media campaigns have tried to remind people that Christmas is about Jesus’ birth. It has become so commercialized that people come out of the woodwork you didn’t even know were Christian. They remind everyone following them that Jesus is the reason for the season, that Jesus is the best gift we could get in the season, that Jesus wants us to give in this season, and that we should be content whether we get other gifts or not.

But Easter doesn’t have gift-giving traditions. Were it not for multi-colored chocolate eggs, most of us would not even think about what we receive on that holiday. But Easter is supposed to be the center of the Christian faith. Jesus goes to the Cross, dies for our sins, and resurrects with power, giving hope of salvation to all the earth.

Perhaps one of the reasons why Easter doesn’t immediately remind us of resurrection is because resurrection hope seems so far removed from our current situation. Current events in our world—from politics to protests, global warming to global injustice, doubt in our lives and doubt in our faith—have caused many to lose hope.

The Sweet By-and-By

It is hard to think about the hope of resurrection when we are surrounded by so much death. But that is exactly why we as Christians need to remember the Resurrection. What greater hope is there in the midst of a death culture than the revelation that death is not the end of the story? That our God loved us enough to take death on Himself and then overcame death itself?

Resurrection is not just about “the sweet-by and-by” either. We have to hold on to the promise of life after this life, but resurrection also comes when we hear the testimonies of those who are still living, still striving, still fighting, still hopeful despite facing ridiculous obstacles and even threats to their very lives.

Jesus gives new hope to a woman with an issue of blood who was treated as dead by society, and He not only wasn’t afraid of a man with a legion of demons, He set the man free and made him a missionary. Jesus is hope for resurrection in a world that needs new life.

Time to Remember

It could be because of Saint Patrick’s Day that takes place around the same time, so people are focused on Irish beer and clovers. It could be because we feel like we’ve heard the Easter sermon before, so we’ll catch it on livestream. It could be that you didn’t know Mardi Gras, Carnival, and Lent had anything to do with Easter, so it just isn’t in your mind.

It could be because no one you know buys Easter clothes, or because there will be no big dinner, or because you’ve got so many other things going on that you just forgot. But whatever the reason we weren’t thinking about the Resurrection yet for Easter, we should take time to remember it now.

It is the story of our salvation. It is the “right now” power of God. It is what we need to face today together.

Legendary Woman: An Interview with Michelle McClain Walters

Legendary Woman: An Interview with Michelle McClain Walters

As more women than ever continue to move into positions of leadership and all women seek their purposes it is important to have role models from Scripture to help inspire and encourage us. Michelle McClain Walters has identified not only role models, but Biblical principles that can be learned from their stories to help women and men discover and walk in God’s calling for their lives. UrbanFaith sat down with Michelle to talk about her new book Legendary Woman: Partnering with God to Become the Heroine of Your Own Story, which captures the wisdom and encouragement we need for this moment. The full interview is linked above and more about the book is below.

In today’s times of women go-getters, entrepreneurs and bosses, Michelle McClain Walters uses her faith and God’s promises to motivate women to their calling! The book highlights the legendary women who aren’t just those in traditional powerhouse positions in business, finance or politics, but also the everyday women — the single mom, the prayer leader, the stay-at-home wife— who choose to say yes to God, are also indeed, legendary. She also shares the twelve characteristics of a legendary woman,and challenges women to identify their defining moments—those moments when your destiny intersects with an epic need within your family, community, nation, or your world—and be willing to say yes to the legendary role God has uniquely fashioned for them. 

Masters of the Air x UrbanFaith

Masters of the Air x UrbanFaith

UrbanFaith Editor Allen Reynolds had the opportunity to talk to Dee Rees, one of the directors of the hit Apple TV+ series Masters of the Air which featured the Tuskeegee Airmen and fighter pilots during World War II. He talked with Dee about what it was like to tell share this piece of history with the world.

Allen

Thank you so much for sharing with us the Urban Faith. And I would have to say that it was really moving and a pleasure to watch these episodes of Masters of the Air, especially episode 8 you got to take part in directing. My first question, Dee, is looking at that second to last episode, why was it important in the midst of a series that focused a lot around the Fighting 100th squadron to tell the story of the Tuskegee Airmen for you? Why was that an important choice?

Dee Rees

Sure. It was important to tell the story of the Ninety-Nine Fighting Squadron, because they are what enabled the 100th to be successful. So, it was important to kind of get that part of the story in front of audiences and know that these men were also masters of the air.

Allen

Absolutely, they were. Can you talk a little bit about why you chose to not just show them as heroes, but also show them as folks who were trying to overcome a lot in the process?

Dee

Right, so in episode seven, we’re a lot, the story is set in Stahlglof 3, and so our guys are literally grounded, you know? And so without the gear, without the planes, without the machines, they’re really forced to confront themselves and confront the things in them that are gonna have to change to not just escape, but to make their lives post-war better. And so, it was good to really get into the friendships and just kind of get into the [humanity] and the struggles. They’re gonna have to like vow to be like better people. I think when they’re [not] flying it forced the characters to literally sit. Sit out of the action and to relent. And in that [waiting], being able to relent to circumstance, becoming like better men and stronger men and really thinking about having to change their lives. And the same for the Tuskegee airmen in that camp. I wanted to show that that was the first time that a lot of their white colleagues had been in proximity with black people and a forced to kind of confront those own demons within themselves and decide who they’re gonna be.

Allen

Can you talk about why it’s important that we got to see them make that bridge and kind of what that speaks to in the midst of that larger World War II context and for us learning that history.

Dee

Yeah, so for Megan and Jefferson [The Tuskegee airmen], they’re acutely aware that they’re not just fighting this battle abroad, they know that they’re gonna have to go home to another battle, you know? In this fight, they have allies and that’s the way they’re able to survive. And it’s kind of getting through the idea that they’re gonna need those same allies to fight their battle at home. And in this small way, we start to suggest that maybe they’ll start to kind of find those [allies] in these men who’ve served together. It kind of highlights the bravery and courage of these airmen who are fighting for a country who’s not necessarily gonna fight for them. It heightens their struggle and then contextualizes it versus the other the members of the 100th who are, you know, caught up in their own worlds. It kind of broadened their kind of outlook to say, “wow, look at these guys who have this bigger struggle.”

Allen

Absolutely. So last question for you, Dee. What are some takeaways or some lessons you would want young folks to hear from [Masters of the Air]?

Dee

I would kind of go to some of the mottos of the fighting squad themselves: “aim high and expect to win,” you know? Even though, you can’t change the weather, like one of my favorite lines, like “you can’t change the weather, but that just teaches you how to fly better and be better pilots.” And in that way, the Tuskegee airmen had to become better pilots because they were up against winds that they couldn’t change.

UrbanFaith x Sow and Tell

UrbanFaith x Sow and Tell

Denya & Cellus Hamilton were inspired by the idea of being faithful to God while working in the marketplace. But they didn’t see a space for Black & Brown people to talk about faith and works. So they created one. Sow & Tell is their organization devoted to creating community and equipping leaders to live out their faith and be impactful in their work life. Their annual conference titled “There Will Be Fruit” on April 6, 2024 will be the largest yet in NYC as they welcome professionals and creatives of color to engage learn and connect. You can register here. UrbanFaith sat down with Denya & Cellus to talk about the conference and why they are passionate about integrating faith and works. More about the conference is below.

Like the tax collector and fishermen, Jesus found many of us while we were working—But instead of commanding us to shift careers, He altered what we’d fish for. And this is why There Will Be Fruit exists.

Join 150+ Christian marketplace leaders of color in NYC on Saturday April 6, 2024 at the only Faith and Work conference for the Black and Brown community, known as There Will Be Fruit.

Expect panels, breakout sessions, network opportunities, vendors, a celebration mixer, and more!

The women who stood with Martin Luther King Jr. and sustained a movement for social change

The women who stood with Martin Luther King Jr. and sustained a movement for social change

Women listen during the March on Washington on Aug. 28, 1963. Bettmann Archive/Getty Images
Vicki Crawford, Morehouse College

Historian Vicki Crawford was one of the first scholars to focus on women’s roles in the civil rights movement. Her 1993 book, “Trailblazers and Torchbearers,” dives into the stories of female leaders whose legacies have often been overshadowed.

Today she is the director of the Morehouse College Martin Luther King Jr. Collection, where she oversees the archive of his sermons, speeches, writings and other materials. Here, she explains the contributions of women who influenced King and helped to fuel some of the most significant campaigns of the civil rights era, but whose contributions are not nearly as well known.

An activist in her own right

Coretta Scott King is often remembered as a devoted wife and mother, yet she was also a committed activist in her own right. She was deeply involved with social justice causes before she met and married Martin Luther King Jr., and long after his death.

Scott King served with civil rights groups throughout her time as a student at Antioch College and the New England Conservatory of Music. Shortly after she and King married in 1953, the couple returned to the South, where they lent their support to local and regional organizations such as the NAACP and the Montgomery Improvement Association.

They also supported the Women’s Political Council, an organization founded by female African American professors at Alabama State University that facilitated voter education and registration, and also protested discrimination on city buses. These local leadership efforts paved the way for widespread support of Rosa Parks’ resistance to segregation on public busing.

A man in a light-colored suit and a woman in short-sleeved dress look at a piece of paper together in a study.
Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife Coretta Scott King work in his office in Atlanta in July 1962. TPLP/Archive Photos via Getty Images

Following her husband’s assassination in 1968, Scott King devoted her life to institutionalizing his philosophy and practice of nonviolence. She established the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change, led a march of sanitation workers in Memphis and joined efforts to organize the Poor People’s Campaign. A longtime advocate of workers rights, she also supported a 1969 hospital workers’ strike in South Carolina, delivering stirring speeches against the treatment of African American staff.

Scott King’s commitment to nonviolence went beyond civil rights at home. During the 1960s, she became involved in peace and anti-war efforts such as the Women’s Strike for Peace and opposed the escalating war in Vietnam. By the 1980s, she had joined protests against South African apartheid, and before her death in 2006, she spoke out in favor of LGBT rights – capping a lifetime of activism against injustice and inequalities.

Women and the March

While Scott King’s support and ideas were particularly influential, many other women played essential roles in the success of the civil rights movement.

Take the most iconic moment of the civil rights struggle, in many Americans’ minds: the Aug. 28, 1963, March on Washington for Jobs and Freeedom, at which King delivered his landmark “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

As the 60th anniversary of the march approaches, it is critical to recognize the activism of women from all walks of life who helped to strategize and organize one of the country’s most massive political demonstrations of the 20th century. Yet historical accounts overwhelmingly highlight the march’s male leadership. With the exception of Daisy Bates, an activist who read a short tribute, no women were invited to deliver formal speeches.

A black and white photo shows several formally dressed women putting money in a church collection plate.
Members of Carmel Presbyterian Church donating money for the March on Washington. Carl Iwasaki/The Chronicle Collection via Getty Images

Women were among the key organizers of the march, however, and helped recruit thousands of participants. Dorothy Height, president of the National Council of Negro Women, was often the lone woman at the table of leaders representing national organizations. Anna Arnold Hedgeman, who also served on the planning committee, was another strong advocate for labor issues, anti-poverty efforts and women’s rights.

A woman in an evening dress with a corsage stands next to a man in a suit, both smiling and chatting.
Dorothy Height stands with Martin Luther King Jr. in November 1957. Afro American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images

Photographs of the march show women attended in large numbers, yet few historical accounts adequately credit women for their leadership and support. Civil rights activist, lawyer and Episcopalian priest Pauli Murray, among others, called for a gathering of women to address this and other instances of discrimination a few days later.

Hidden in plain view

African American women led and served in all the major campaigns, working as field secretaries, attorneys, plaintiffs, organizers and educators, to name just a few roles. So why did early historical accounts of the movement neglect their stories?

There were women propelling national civil rights organizations and among King’s closest advisers. Septima Clark, for example, was a seasoned educator whose strong organizing skills played a consequential role in voter registration, literacy training and citizenship education. Dorothy Cotton was a member of the inner circle of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, of which King was president, and was involved in literacy training and teaching nonviolent resistance.

A man crouching on the pavement cradles an injured woman.
A civil rights marcher exposed to tear gas holds an unconscious Amelia Boynton Robinson after mounted police officers attacked marchers in Selma. Bettmann/Getty Images

Yet women’s organizing during the 1950s and 1960s is most evident at local and regional levels, particularly in some of the most perilous communities across the deep South. Since the 1930s, Amelia Boynton Robinson of Dallas County, Alabama, and her family had been fighting for voting rights, laying the groundwork for the struggle to end voter suppression that continues to the present. She was also key in planning the 50-mile Selma-to-Montgomery march in 1965. Images of the violence that marchers endured – particularly on the day that came to be known as Bloody Sunday – shocked the nation and eventually contributed to the passage of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965.

A sitting woman with gray hair in a gold-colored dress and jewelry.
Civil rights activist Amelia Boynton Robinson attends an awards ceremony in New York in 2011. Marc Bryan-Brown/WireImage via Getty News

Or take Mississippi, where there would not have been a sustained movement without women’s activism. Some names have become well known, like Fannie Lou Hamer, but others deserve to be.

Two rural activists, Victoria Gray and Annie Devine, joined Hamer as representatives to the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, a parallel political party that challenged the state’s all-white representatives at the 1964 Democratic Convention. A year later, the three women represented the party in a challenge to block the state’s congressmen from taking their seats, given ongoing disenfranchisement of Black voters. Though the congressional challenge failed, the activism was a symbolic victory, serving note to the nation that Black Mississippians were no longer willing to accept centuries-old oppression.

Many African American women were out-front organizers for civil rights. But it is no less important to remember those who assumed less visible, but indispensable, roles behind the scenes, sustaining the movement over time.The Conversation

Vicki Crawford, Professor of Africana Studies, Morehouse College

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

HistoryMakers x UrbanFaith Interview

HistoryMakers x UrbanFaith Interview

Ms. Julieanna Richardson went from broadcast and television executive to the founder of an organization dedicated to preserving Black History. She now runs one of the largest organizations dedicated to the location and preservation of African American historical archives, stories, and history: The History Makers. UrbanFaith contributor Maina Mwaura sat down with her to learn about the Historymakers and get her insight on our world and history today.