Stand Your Ground

Watch an interview with Rev Kelly Brown Douglas
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2016 CATHOLIC PRESS ASSOCIATION BOOK AWARD WINNER! - Faithful Citizenship/Religious Freedom

"The author strikes a good balance between political theology and analysis. Names in the news, including Michael Brown, combine with her own personal perspective as a mother to give the narrative poignancy and timeliness. Stand Your Ground raises important spiritual and social questions."--Publishers Weekly

"A clarion call to all in the United States, regardless of race, gender, class or faith, to acknowledge our sordid and painful past and to work together to transform the American dream of equality and opportunity into a reality for all."--Diana L. Hayes, in National Catholic Reporter

“If Trayvon was of age and armed, could he have stood his ground on that sidewalk?”—President Barack Obama

On the Sunday morning after the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s killer, black preachers across America addressed the questions his death raised for their communities: “Where is the justice of God? What are we to hope for?”

In this timely and compelling book, Kelly Brown Douglas examines the myths and narratives underlying a “stand-your-ground” culture, taking seriously the social as well as the theological questions raised by this and similar events, from Ferguson, Missouri to Staten Island, New York.

But the author also brings another significant interpretative lens to this text: that of a mother. She writes: “There has been no story in the news that has troubled me more than that of Trayvon Martin’s slaying. President Obama said that if he had a son his son would look like Trayvon. I do have a son and he does look like Trayvon.”

In the face of tragedy and indifference, Kelly Brown Douglas arms the truth of a black mother’s faith in these times of “stand your ground.”

Rev. Dr.  Kelly Brown Douglas is the inaugeral Dean of Episcopal Divinity School at Union Theological Seminary, New York City. She has served as Canon Theologian at the Washington National Cathedral and Director of the Religion Program at Goucher College, Baltimore, MD, where she holds the Susan D. Morgan Professorship of Religion. Prior to coming to Goucher College she was Associate Professor of Theology at Howard University School of Divinity, Washington, DC, and served as Assistant Professor of Religion at Edward Waters College, Jacksonville, FL.

A native of Dayton, OH, Dr. Douglas was ordained in 1985 at  Saint  Margaret's Episcopal Church—the first black woman to be ordained an Episcopal priest in the Southern Ohio Diocese, and one of only five nationwide at the time.  In 2012 she was the first to receive the Anna Julia Cooper Award by the Union of Black Episcopalians for her “literary boldness and leadership in the development of a womanist theology and discussing the complexities of Christian faith in African-American contexts." Essence magazine counts her “among this country’s most distinguished religious thinkers, teachers, ministers, and counselors."

She is widely published in national and international journals. Her other books include The Black Christ, What’s Faith Got to Do with It? (both from Orbis Books) as well as Black Bodies/Christian Souls, and Black Bodies and the Black Church: A Blues Slant. She is also co-editor of Sexuality and the Sacred: Sources for Theological Reflection.

Book Details

Stand Your Ground
Black Bodies and the Justice of God
Kelly Brown Douglas
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Stand Your Ground Table of Contents 116 Kb
Douglas has done a wonderful job of artfully weaving together some very complicated topics within her theological response to anti-Black, state-sanctioned violence. She provides a snapshot of the historical and philosophical constructions of Whiteness and the Black body, articulates the meaning of justice and hope in the absurdity of stand-your-ground culture, and finally, highlights the centrality of Black religious faith as a connective fabric within America’s reversal of its racial legacy. Stand Your Ground is a timely text for all religious and theological scholars who seek to interpret the meaning, purpose, and response of religious faith to the despairing realities of Black suffering in an increasingly accepted culture of American violence.
Kelly Brown Douglas forcefully contrasts the culture of "stand your ground" and its "grand narrative of Anglo-Saxon exceptionalism" to the black faith tradition that "generates a discourse of resistance that allows black people to affirm their innate and created worth, even when everything around them suggests their utter worthlessness."
Stand Your Ground is essential reading . . . . a foundational text for anyone hoping to understand and change the systems of oppression that do overwhelming damage to black and brown people.... a book of great theological and intellectual importance, a balm for parents raising black and brown children, and a challenge for those raising white ones.
This thoughtful and insightful study is a worthy read.
Douglas offers a book that is remarkably hopeful despite the disheartening realities it engages, an inspiring mark of black theological tradition....intellectually rich, deeply moving, and morally compelling.
In this painful but necessary volume, Kelly Brown Douglas gets to the heart of why violence against Black people is epidemic in the U.S., and what needs to be done to stop it.
Kelly Brown Douglas is an accomplished scholar with a prophetic theological voice that speaks to Christians in the pews and the theological academy.
A challenging and timely commentary on America's original sin: the plunder of the black body. What makes this book unique is Douglas's awareness of contemporary events along with a keen ability to parse out the ways in which the past is connected to contemporary situations.
[Kelly Brown Douglas] presents a serious and urgent invitation to reflection, conversation, and action that churches must not ignore. The United States is indeed at a kairos moment, and it bears the names Trayvon, Renisha, Jordan, Jonathan, Michael, Tamir, Sandra, Rekia, Freddie, Eric, Tanesha, Miriam, and too many others.
Stand Your Ground should be essential reading for American citizens of all races seeking to understand today's often-poisoned racial culture, and especially for those eager to form a faith-based response.
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