Executive Produced By Stephen Curry & Viola Davis, New Documentary ‘Emanuel’ Comes to Theaters on June 17 and 19 Only!

A Review of the Documentary That Honors the Emanuel A.M.E. Church Shooting Victims & Highlights the Power of Forgiveness in the Wake of Tragedy...

Hello World,

Tonight, thousands of churchgoers throughout the country will convene at their respective churches for Wednesday Bible Study. Where Sunday Morning Service can be a spectacle in many churches, Wednesday Bible Study is less of a production and as a result, more relaxed. Many of those who show up on Sunday don’t on Wednesday so the gatherings tend to be smaller. In many smaller churches, the members gather in a room that is not the sanctuary and even sit in a circle of chairs. Although the church is primed for visitors on a Sunday morning, a visitor or two may amble in and be welcomed to the fold without much ado on a Wednesday.

Maybe that’s why 21-year-old white supremacist Dylann Roof chose a Wednesday Bible Study to show up at South Carolina’s Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church, the oldest A.M.E. church in the South, to slither in and sit among the people he intended to slaughter. In the Bible, it says the Lord will show up like a thief in the night so we must be ready but the devil knows the Word too. Roof’s slaughtering of 9 Emanuel A.M.E. members, the historical threads that led to what unraveled that fateful day, the astounding forgiveness of Roof by the family members of those whose lives were stolen and more is explored in the documentary EMANUEL. Marking the 4th anniversary of this distinctly American act of terror, EMANUEL will be in movie theaters across the country on Monday, June 17 and Wednesday, June 19 only. I was able to see a screener of this movie, which is from executive producers Stephen Curry and Viola Davis, co-producer Mariska Hargitay, and director Brian Ivie, and I was in a word “moved.”

While the news coverage of the church shooting was rightfully plenteous, EMANUEL was an exhaustive exploration that simply cannot be covered in the constraints of a news story. It has been said that “nothing comes from nothing” and that is true in the case of the Emanuel A.M.E. Church shooting as well. Apparently, Charleston, where Mother Emanuel A.M.E. is located, is called the “Holy City” although the unholy had a safe harbor there. Charleston was the capital of the slave trade and roughly 40 percent of slaves who entered this country entered through this city. In fact, the amount of black people in Charleston was so voluminous that the city had a black majority. Freed slave Denmark Vesey, who helped to found the African Methodist Episcopal Church, planned to lead a slave revolt there until his plan was discovered. Vesey’s church, where he able to galvanize members to revolt with him, was burned after he was executed for his actions.

And then in modern day times, you have Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who was not only senior pastor at Mother Emanuel A.M.E., he was a member of the South Carolina Senate.  (Thank God for progress!) He spoke about black people having the freedom to be what God intended intended them to be and that sometimes death would be required for that freedom to come to fruition.  Saints, it was no accident that Roof choose Charleston and Mother Emanuel A.M.E. church.

Family members of the slain members were interviewed in EMANUEL. I was touched by all of their testimonies by I was most touched by the testimony of the Reverend Anthony Batiste Thompson, who is the pastor of Holy Trinity Reformed Episcopal Church of Charleston. Rev. Thompson was married to the late Myra Thompson, who was killed in the shooting.  Thompson, like Samuel in the Bible, was called to the ministry as a boy. While Samuel heard the voice of God in the house of the Lord, Thompson heard the voice of in a Piggly Wiggly parking lot! He heard someone call his name three times although he was in the parking lot alone. It was after the third time that he realized it was God and that God wanted him to be a preacher.

Many years later, on that tragic Wednesday night, he wondered why his wife Myra was so happy as she readied herself for Bible Study. He said she was “overjoyed” and “floating in the house.” He wanted to ask her why she was so happy because he had nothing to do with it. (Just like a man to say something like that, LOL. My husband is not only source of my happiness and he should be happy that’s true!) He said he decided he would ask her why after she returned from Bible Study so as not to affect her high. He usually hugged or kissed her before she left the house but this time he was in the bathroom just as she was leaving and she was in a rush. She told him to catch her at the car. But he didn’t get to her car on time either. He said after the shooting, he realized why she was so happy and why he couldn’t touch her. “God had already scooped her up.” Imagine that? She was already in the loving arms of Jesus. No earthly love can compare.

Thompson said it was the voice of God, which he originally heard as a five-year-old boy, that told him to forgive Roof and tell him so during a bond hearing just TWO days after Roof murdered his wife. Since then, Thompson penned his book “Called to Forgive: The Charleston Church Shooting, a Victim’s Husband, and the Path to Healing and Peace” which was release this month through Baker Publishing.

Many of the family members of the victims expressed their forgiveness of Roof, which shocked many and angered some. But not all family members were able to instantly forgive Roof. Melvin Graham, who is the brother of shooting victim Cynthia Hurd, has not been able to do so. While expressing admiration for those who forgave, he said, “I’m a work in progress.” I get that.

Other key points in the movie that affected me:

  • Polly Sheppard’s account that Roof let her live so that she that she could “tell the story.”
  • Felicia Sanders, who was a human shield over her granddaughter, watched her son Tywanza Sanders get killed, after he confronted Roof. Tywanza told Dylann that “we mean you no harm” but that did not matter to the terrorist. Thankfully before he passed, Sanders was able to tell her son, “Tywanza, I love you,” and his last words were, “Mom, I love you too.”
  • Charleston’s Chief Coroner Rae Wooten’s examination of the bodies revealed that Roof had ambushed them without warning.
  • Not only was Roof captured and arrested without being killed in the process, he was given Burger King.
  • When President Obama sang “Amazing Grace” at the homegoing for Rev. Clementa Pinckney. Lord knows I miss me some him. Can I get a witness?

There are many astounding accounts such as Felicia Sanders’ pink-paged Bible and Chris Singleton’s wrist-written Scripture, but I cannot give the whole documentary away. But hopefully, I have told you enough to make you want to see it for yourself. I highly recommend doing so…

Below is a trailer for EMANUEL:

EMANUEL focuses on the incredible forgiveness that was demonstrated by the victims and their family members, and how that forgiveness prevented potential backlash by the in response to the racially motivated crime. The movie was made in direct partnership with the City of Charleston and the families affected by the tragedy . The producers of EMANUEL will donate their share of profits from the film to the survivors of the shooting and the families of the victims

For more information on EMANUEL, please visit, www.emanuelmovie.com.

Any thoughts?

The Top 10 Blog Posts and or Articles for Black Christian Women in February 2018

Hello World,

I’m back with my monthly roundup of blog posts and or articles for black Christian women! So below is my Top 10 monthly roundup of blog posts and or magazine/newspaper articles for black Christian women for February ( but you don’t have be a black Christian woman to to check them out 🙂  As usual, let me know if you like my list! Enjoy and share!

1. “See the Newly Unveiled Official Portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama” by Mary Rhodan

Excerpt: The National Portrait Gallery unveiled the long-awaited portraits of former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama on Monday. The Obamas’ portraits were painted by New York based artist Kehinde Wiley and Baltimore-based artist Amy Sherald. They are the first African Americans commissioned to paint official portraits of the first couple for the National Portrait Gallery. The two artists’ works will be on display at the National Portrait Gallery starting on February 13. Aside from the White House, the Gallery is home to the only complete collection of presidential portraits; according to the Smithsonian, it is comprised of more than 1,600 works. See more at: time.com.

2. “Rosa Parks Was My Aunt. Here’s What You Don’t Know About Her” by Urana McCauley

Excerpt: Sometimes I struggle with social media because it seems there’s always somebody belittling Auntie Rosa. I recently saw someone post that my aunt wasn’t really black. Or people say that she was strategically placed on the bus in Montgomery because she was lighter skinned. It’s amazing to me that they would think that. Yes our family ancestry is part African American, part white, and part Native American. Auntie Rosa considered herself black and was treated as black. We have a lot of work to do in this country regarding colorism, but whether you’re light or dark — and this is still true today — you are black in America and you’re going to be treated accordingly. See more at: shondaland.com.

3. “‘Black Panther’ brings unexpected boost to makers of African inspired clothing” by Nedra Rhone and Shelia M. Poole

Excerpt: In Wakanda, the fictional African country from which Black Panther hails, the prints, colors and cuts of African clothing are woven throughout whether in an action scene, a street scene or a backdrop to other significant moments. Atlantan Carl Ulysses Bowen was one of tailors on the “Black Panther” film. Ulysses , who owns a tailoring and custom clothing business in Buckhead, said he added some of his own touches to the clothes designed by Ruth Carter. “I drew my inspiration from African culture and different African tribes within that culture,” said Bowen, who graduated from Morehouse College in 2005. He perused videos and looked at African history and photography books. He also scoured the internet. See more at: myajc.com.

4. “Ayesha Curry Is Pregnant, Expecting Third Child With Stephen Curry” by Emily Longeretta

Excerpt: The couple are already the proud parents to daughters Riley, 6, and Ryan, 3. The CoverGirl spokesperson met Curry, 29, when they were 14 and 15, attending the same church youth group. The went on to marry in 2011. See more at: usmagazine.com.

5. “Stephanie Paul stays true to Haitian heritage” by Yash Bhika

Excerpt:  In Bayshore Drive in Naples, Florida, lies the Naples New Haitian Church of the Nazarene. The church is owned by Paul’s dad, Renauld. This is where she spent a good portion of her childhood. Paul would learn how to sing gospel songs, which she still sings to this day. Just as she was able to express herself inside her church, she also had the love and support of her family. It is in Naples where she grew up as the youngest of nine siblings. Her siblings are Lo, John, Jean, Matt, Josie, Nephtalie, Da-anna, Eunice and Dann. There is a 25-year age gap from Paul’s oldest sibling, Lo, to her. All of her siblings participated in sports either at the collegiate or the high school level. They all played basketball and Paul was able to learn from them. Despite such a large discrepancy in ages between the children, the love for each other was always there. See more at: redandblack.com.

6. “‘We Mean Business or No Washing’: The Atlanta Washerwomen Strike of 1881” by Brandon Weber

Excerpt: In the 1880s, twenty years after the “official” end of slavery in the United States, African Americans continued to suffer extreme oppression and violence. Lynchings were common and “separate but equal” Jim Crow laws gave African Americans minimal access to schools, the military, and labor unions—the kinds of institutions that helped other Americans move toward prosperity. It was in this context that a group of African American washerwomen in Atlanta organized themselves to demand better wages and working conditions. “The Washing Society,” as they called themselves, struck in the summer of 1881, taking on the business and political establishment of Atlanta, Georgia. The action served to remind the city’s white majority whom they depended on for the clothes they wore. The strike—a group of black women organizing against omnipresent discrimination to demand recognition and respect for their work—stands out in union history as a most unlikely success. See more at: progressive.org.

7. “Lillian Thomas Fox was a journalist and champion for her race” by Dawn Mitchell 

Excerpt: History refers to Lillian Thomas Fox as a journalist and club woman, which seems to be a slight on a woman so far ahead of her time. As a black woman at the end of the 19th century, she became a champion for public health for the Indianapolis black community.Fox was born in 1854 in Chicago to Rev. Byrd Parker, an AME minister, and Janet J. Johnson, a schoolteacher. Fox’s father died in 1860, and her mother married Robert E. Thomas. The family moved to Wisconsin. Lillian took his last name. See more at: indystar.com.

8. “4 ways that black Catholic sisters rewrote the American story” by Diane Batts Morrow

Excerpt: As we observe Black History Month in 2018, examining the early history of the Oblate Sisters of Providence can teach us several important lessons. The sisters proved exceptional in 19th-century America: They were black and free in a slave society that privileged only whiteness; female in a male dominated society; Roman Catholic in a Protestant society; and pursuing religious vocations in a society doubting the virtue of all black women. Organized in Baltimore in 1828, this pioneering black sisterhood dedicated themselves to educating black girls. The Oblate Sisters confronted many challenges in their early years. Most white people did not believe that black people could lead virtuous lives and rejected as impossible the idea of a black Catholic sisterhood. See more at: catholicphilly.com.

9. “Doing a New Thing – A 21st Century Vision for AME HBCUs” by Tiffany Brockington

Excerpt: Arguably, the two most important black spaces in America are HBCUs and the Black Church.  The importance and connection of both is outlined in the new documentary, “Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Historically Black Colleges and Universities.”  The title of this documentary is attributed Richard Wright Sr., and serves as a directive which influenced not just the arc of the film, but several historically black campuses.  See more at: hbcudigest.com.

10. “A Harlem Woman With A Wardrobe Worthy Of A Deeper Look” by Channing Hargrove

Excerpt: On Friday, Turner’s wardrobe went on display once again, this time at the Projects+ Gallery in Saint Louis, Missouri. Open now through March 31, the exhibit features a series of black and white photographs of Turner’s pieces by Dario Calmese, which explore the role of Black churches “as activators not only for imagination but as crucibles for the construction of self” within the African American community. Calmese, whose father was a pastor, has a personal connection to to Turner’s story. “Growing up in the church, the ritual of getting dressed for Sunday morning is a heavy thread in the fabric of my childhood memories,”he told Vogue. Through the photos, it’s evident that Turner has a similar collection with clothing. See more at: refinery29.com.

If you know of any black Christian women bloggers and or writers, please e-mail me at jacqueline@afterthealtarcall.com as I’m always interested in expanding my community of black Christian women blogs and websites. As I noted before, while this is a roundup of interesting blog posts and or magazine and newspaper articles for black Christian women, you don’t have to be one to appreciate these pieces  🙂.

Any thoughts?

 

 

Georgia Gubernatorial Candidate Films Political Ad in Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church During Martin Luther King Ecumenical Service…

Hello World,

You can always tell when it’s election season at my small church in southwest Atlanta…When random men or women start showing up and standing up boldly during the introduction of visitors portion of the service, you know that candidates are making their rounds throughout Atlanta’s black churches, ground zero of where to garner the black vote. Because our church is small, we know who is visiting and or campaigning. But’s that okay because the doors of the church are open to everybody and all political candidates are welcome from all parties as most churches, as 501(c)(3) organizations, will not back any particular candidate for any post.

But what has never happened and will likely never happen due to our size is a political candidate having himself or himself filmed while worshiping with us and using that footage for a political ad. Last week, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Democrat gubernatorial candidate Stacey Evans released a video on her Instagram account in which she was shown worshiping at Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church during the Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Ecumenical Service held on the national holiday. With a bluesy harmonica version of “Life Every Voice and Sing” the black American national anthem, as the soundtrack, Evans was shown walking in the sanctuary with the door being held for her, speaking with people in the pews, with her eyes closed and head bowed down in prayer, clapping, etc. Ebenezer’s pastor Dr. Warnock was shown in the pulpit area, the “Songbird of the South” Dottie Peoples sang in a shot. And then the crescendo of the ad is when her visage fades as Dr. King’s likeness comes into full focus…The words “Bringing Hope Back to Georgians” is the final message. Don’t believe me? See the political ad for yourself below…

Even with permission, this ad would have not been the move…Oh, so you comparing yourself to Dr. Martin the Luther the King Jr. in Atlanta? Oh, so you orchestrated a civil rights movement that is responsible for many if not most of black America’s civil rights? Oh, so you won a Nobel Peace Prize? Oh, so you are on a par with a martyr?

I mean that is the implication by the end of the ad even if that was not the intent. While we may have our first black princess across the pond in Meghan Markle  in a few months, as comedian Rickey Smiley recently said on The Wendy Williams Show, there are three families who have achieved royalty in the black American community – the Kings, the Jacksons and now the Obamas. You would do well to steer clear of any of them in black America if you’re trying to get black votes…

But the clincher of this spectacle is that the Evans campaign did not get permission of Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church for filming this ad. Where dey do dat at? Don’t believe me? See the official statement for yourself below….

The black church is the ultimate in sacred spaces in the black community and to parlay that experience for political capital is already a tricky thing…When political candidates show up at my church, we already know that they are not necessarily there to worship and may not even believe what we believe and we not even see them again until the election season, but we welcome them anyway because we do want to get a sense of who may be running the community in which our church is located. But this ad has gone too far. Turn to your right and turn to your left and say, “Neighbor, don’t use me in your political ad without permission.” Smh…And Ms. Evans may be a great governor but if she keeps on like this, she likely won’t get there…

Any thoughts?