(NY Times On Religion) Seeking Lynching Stories as Accounts of Faith

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For close to two years, Ms. [Angela] Sims has traversed the country in search of such memories, the recollections of African-American elders about lynching. From New Jersey to California, through Alabama and Oklahoma, she has recorded nearly 85 men and women speaking on a subject most had been determined to avoid, a degradation never to be reawakened.

Ms. Sims has sought to elicit and so defang the sense of shame. As an ordained Baptist minister and a professor of ethics and black church studies at the St. Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, Mo., she is gathering the accounts to preserve the historical record and to grasp the faith that allowed lynching’s witnesses and survivors to persevere.

“I’m listening for what salvation and redemption might look like,” said Ms. Sims, 54, during a break between interviews. “I’m listening for how grace might play out and for notions of forgiveness.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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