She was the queen of “tongue and lung” with the “gift of gab”

Zora Neale Hurston’s full signature in black ink.
Zora Neale Hurston’s full signature in black ink.
Image from

The Old Testament book of 2 Kings tells a story of when some marauders came to attack a team of gravediggers, the diggers hurriedly tossed the body of a dead man into the same grave with the prophet Elijah’s bones. When the dead man touched the bones of the prophet, his life was restored and he stood on his feet.

I suspect Zora appreciated this story, it has a slightly whimsical tone paired with a miraculous occurrence.

As the dead man was revived by contact with the past prophet, I felt the same revival as I engaged with, as biographer…


Building a theology of lament in a breathless & racialized land

A Black man in a mask protesting in a crowd in Charlottsville after George Floyd’s death.
A Black man in a mask protesting in a crowd in Charlottsville after George Floyd’s death.
Image: . Used with permission.

God calls us to lament, then love.

My dear friend recently shared a story with me. A woman she knows was bringing water to peaceful protestors demonstrating outside St. John’s Church after George Floyd’s death. Officers tear-gassed the crowd to clear these bodies so Donald Trump could get the now viral photograph of himself holding up a Bible. This woman saw a man who had been hit in the neck with a tear gas canister. He was gasping for air and in critical condition. …


Don Gathers as Activist & Witness

A masked and protesting Don Gathers holding a megaphone.
A masked and protesting Don Gathers holding a megaphone.
Photo by . Used with permission.

Don Gathers was on the streets of Charlottesville on August 12, 2017:

That Saturday when we got called to race down to Water Street. It was like a bomb had exploded in the intersection. There were bodies literally everywhere. Just blood and broken bones just all over the place. I stood there on the corner while the EMTs and paramedics worked just feverishly trying to save Heather. And it might sound weird but I literally saw the life leave her body. I was done. I was finished. They had won. I was through. That took everything out of me.

Before…


Violence is not the ultimate answer but neither is a dismissal of pain

Protestors stand before a burning Third Police Precinct building in Minneapolis after the death of George Floyd.
Protestors stand before a burning Third Police Precinct building in Minneapolis after the death of George Floyd.
Minneapolis’ Third Police Precinct after the death of George Floyd. Photo / Getty Images.

There is a parallel between parenting and protest.

I do not mean that the parents of the world don weapons, shields, and signs and head out to maintain familial peace, leading to cries for “law and order.” We are not at war against our children.

I mean that our goal as parents is similar to what the goal should be when trying to understand and talk about the protests and riots of the Black Lives Matter movement.

This movement is large — the , in fact. This movement is .

And this…


Charlottesville’s former Vice Mayor and current co-chair of Our Black Party talks monuments, politics, & family

A head shot of Wes Bellamy at Charlottesville’s free expression chalk wall on the Downtown Mall.
A head shot of Wes Bellamy at Charlottesville’s free expression chalk wall on the Downtown Mall.
Photo by . Used with permission.

It was July 8, 2016 when Dr. Wes Bellamy got married, just four months after Zyahna Bryant sent her letter to The Daily Progress and published to remove the Robert E. Lee statue and rename Lee Park. This was Bellamy’s first year on the Charlottesville City Council, the council which would take up Bryant’s call and did indeed vote to remove the monument. July 8 was also, to the day, exactly one year before the Ku Klux Klan came to Charlottesville to protest the potential removal of the Lee statue. …


Redefining the Power of the Black Vote

The words “Our Black Party” against a black background.
The words “Our Black Party” against a black background.
Our Black Party’s logo. Used with permission.

“History is not the past. It is the present. We carry our history with us. We are our history.” -James Baldwin

A new political party is making history, and they know they are doing it.

“We have to be very clear,” . “Before you were a Democrat, before you were a Republican, before you were an independent, you were Black.”

co-chairs Dr. Wes Bellamy and Hyattsville, MD mayor Candace Hollingsworth are sick and tired of being sick and tired. Their plan to hold elected officials accountable is simply put but intricately done: “We’ll vote…


Black Lives Matter Shows the Heart of the Pro-Choice and Pro-Life Debate

Pro-choice women holding signs in front of the Supreme Court building.
Pro-choice women holding signs in front of the Supreme Court building.
Image from at Getty Images

For years my wife tried to buy me books. Sometimes she cheated a bit and looked at my Amazon Wish List or flat out asked me what I wanted. But on the occasions when she tried to find a book I might like for Christmas or my birthday without knowing for sure I would like it, the effort failed. But I cheered on the desire.

Last summer she crushed it by finding Ian McEwan’s novel Machines Like Me, a story about an alternate 1980s London where artificial intelligence has developed to the level where you can order lifelike robots —…


A conversation with one of the nation’s foremost young activists

Zyahna Bryant speaking into a micriphone before the Charlottesville statue of Robert E. Lee.
Zyahna Bryant speaking into a micriphone before the Charlottesville statue of Robert E. Lee.
Photos:

My favorite image of Zyahna Bryant is one of her standing before Charlottesville, Virginia’s statue of Robert E. Lee. The 19-year-old activist seems to face it down as well as anyone who might oppose her demands to have it removed.

It began in 2016, when Bryant, then a freshman at Charlottesville High School, started a petition to remove the monument. Her work culminated in the city council voting for its removal, followed by the Unite the Right rally in the summer of 2017 that drew white supremacists to the city’s streets. A counter-protester, , was murdered that day.


The President Is Neither Machiavelli’s Prince Nor Erasmus’

Trump behind a podium at a rally, surrounded by supporters with signs.
Trump behind a podium at a rally, surrounded by supporters with signs.
Image from Gage Skidmore on

Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale has a category for some of its post-apocalyptic survivors, people living under a government that suspended and then abolished the Constitution, people oppressed by a regime that organizes its society around a human’s ability to reproduce.

“true believers,” and they are scary.


Why Conservatives Should Embrace the Black Lives Matter Movement

Image from James Mumford’s . Used with permission.

Three years ago on August 12 my friend was on the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia. The Alt Right, neo-Nazis, and other white supremacists as well as antifa, Black Lives Matter folk, and other antiracists gathered, clashed, and protested against each other’s very existence. The signage alone in the crowds was overwhelming, aside from the automatic weapons, flamethrowers, shields, and spears. At one point of high tension my friend looked around and noticed signs for and against the LGBTQ+ community, signs for and against women, signs related to Marxism and anarchy.

My…

Sam Heath

Husband, father, teacher, Charlottesville resident. Speak truth to power.

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