My Summer Reading: African Literature – Part 1

Many summers ago, I spent two months at the University of California, Berkeley, reading and studying African Literature. I had just finished a particularly difficult seminary year. I had also just completed graduate school at Notre Dame.  The seminary staff said I could take the summer for retreat and reading. I lived in a largeContinue reading “My Summer Reading: African Literature – Part 1”

When Your Doctor Says “Cancer” Part Three

When I was first diagnosed with low-grade prostate cancer, eight months ago, I noted that I would occasionally forget my diagnosis. Perhaps it was the immersive nature of teaching, the normal turns of a busy life. But I would remember, every few days, and it surprised me. Perhaps the mind only lets us hold newContinue reading “When Your Doctor Says “Cancer” Part Three”

MLK 50 Years: Dr. King’s Final Sunday Sermon at Washington National Cathedral

“Remaining Awake Through A Great Revolution” was the title of Dr. King’s last Sunday sermon. He, of course, did not know it would be his last. But on March 31, 1968, in Washington to advance his new Poor Peoples’ Campaign, he walked up the steps of the Cathedral’s Canterbury Pulpit, to preach this powerful andContinue reading “MLK 50 Years: Dr. King’s Final Sunday Sermon at Washington National Cathedral”

MLK 50 Years: What Killed Dr. King?

Fifty years ago today, on April 4, 1968, Dr. King and his group were preparing to leave the Lorraine Motel for dinner at the home of a local Memphis minister. His longtime friend from Montgomery, Ralph Abernathy, was in their room shaving. The young guys, Jesse Jackson, Hosea Williams, Andrew Young, and others, were inContinue reading “MLK 50 Years: What Killed Dr. King?”

MLK 50 Years: “I May Not Get There with You”

Dr. King knew the movement he led for human dignity and peace was not about him. He knew the movement mattered more than his own individual life. While he knew his part in it, he understood he was only a part of it. It would continue after him and, of course, he was right. ThoughContinue reading “MLK 50 Years: “I May Not Get There with You””

MLK 50 Years: Why Was Dr. King in Memphis?

Being a sanitation worker in Memphis was tough work. Black sanitation workers were paid sub-standard wages. They were not allowed to drive the trash trucks which meant they were exposed to weather all day long. But in February, 1968, just months before Dr. King would come to support them, an incident took place which galvanizedContinue reading “MLK 50 Years: Why Was Dr. King in Memphis?”

2018: Protest, Write, Heal, and Drum

2018 is here. As my American Literature students know, Henry David Thoreau urges us to “live deliberately.” They also know that Langston Hughes wrote repeatedly about the tragedy of “a dream deferred,” part of which can be understood as the need for intensity and focus in pursuing our dreams. One thing I’ve learned in this lifeContinue reading “2018: Protest, Write, Heal, and Drum”

When Your Doctor Says “Cancer” — Part Two

Two months ago today, a urologist at George Washington University Hospital diagnosed me with low-grade prostate cancer. It’s interesting how the mind and heart internalize that kind of information, over time. While this diagnosis is likely very manageable and treatable, my mind has gone to several places with it over these last two months. AsContinue reading “When Your Doctor Says “Cancer” — Part Two”