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Friday, February 4, 2011

Black History Brings Bright Hope As Obama, Lewis and Randolph Recall Selma


John Lewis and David Randolph met face to face and shared memories and hopes on International Forgiveness Day in California in 2009. (See photo)

Light is now being thrown into dark corners of American life by lessons learned
from Black history according to a new book from David James Randolph entitled “More Candles In the Dark: Going From Heartbreak to Healing.” Randolph sees bright hope in a time of social and economic crisis because of lessons learned from the Civil Rights Movement in this new book available from Amazon.com.
He describes his experience in Selma, Alabama where he marched in response to the call of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. after Bloody Sunday when leader John Lewis was brutally beaten and the march turned back. That march is considered a highpoint of the modern Civil Rights Movement but it almost failed. Randolph takes us behind the headlines to events of “Turnaround Tuesday” March 9, 1965, which reveal the spiritual force, courage and creativity of Dr. King and John Lewis and others. Randolph writes, “As we face new challenges it is good to know that history is transformed not only in the shining events when the victors enter the city but in those shadowy moments when people commit themselves to the Cause whatever the outcome” (Pages 76-77).
Barack Obama visited Selma to speak in historic Brown’s Chapel in March of 2007 early in his candidacy for the presidency and declared that in coming to Selma he was coming home. He said, “I’m here because somebody marched. I stand on the shoulders of giants.” After his address he joined in the reenactment of the march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge. This was a defining moment for Barack Obama and for American politics elevating Obama toward the presidency as David Remnick describes in his book “The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama” (Knopf, 2010). John Lewis summed it up on January 19, 2009:”Barack Obama is what comes at the end of that bridge in Selma.”
David James Randolph tells this story as an example of a person and community who in a dark time find ways to be candles in the dark, illuminating, healing and leading the way. Other examples are given in first person testimonies, news reports, stories, and poems along with lessons learned and guidelines for action.

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