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Spotlight Magazine Story

Pariah to Professor

By: Lily Dale

“Excuse me sir, but you’re going to have to leave.”
The words of the police officer standing behind him struck feelings of fear and confusion in William Powell.

 
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What is the Becoming the Beloved Community?

The Beloved Community is a term that was originated by philosopher-theologian Josiah Royce, founder of the Fellowship of Reconciliation in the early part of the 20th century. 


Later on, December 20, 1956, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,
addressed civil rights movement supporters when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled segregation on public buses was unconstitutional. Dr. King envisioned the Beloved Community as a “society based on justice, equal opportunity, and love of one’s fellow human beings.” He emphasized ending segregation was not the only goal but rather, "the end is reconciliation, the end is redemption, the end is the creation of the Beloved Community.” 


When the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr sounded the clarion call for the Beloved Community --
 segregated Black and White Churches in the Deep South played an integral role in the civil rights movement, impacting the cultural-social-economic-political landscape of the nation and in particular the state of Alabama and the rest of the Deep South.


The religious and cultural landscape of the Deep South was never exclusive to Black Christians and White Christians but unfortunately not all cultures and faith communities were equally recognized in the public domain and by some religious institutions. Today in the 21st century, the cultural and religious demographics in Alabama and the United States are changing.


According to an August 2021 news story in the U.S. News & World Report, “Mirroring a trend across the country, Alabama showed an increase in racial and ethnic diversity in the new Census numbers. The percentage of people who identify as white dropped while the state saw an increase in the Hispanic population and a doubling of the percentage of people who identify as multiracial.”

This is a digital space to share narratives; stories and opinions about history/herstory and how residents in Alabama and world citizens are intentionally collaborating to "Become" the Beloved Community.


-Dr. Joan R. Harrell

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On May 25, 2020, the world witnessed George Floyd, a handcuffed African American man, cry out in pain because a white police officer named Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd's neck for 9 minutes.


A high school junior, 17-year old, Darnella Frazier, saw police doing something she felt she had to document with her smart phone and posted the video of George Floyd's fatal arrest on Facebook. Children, youth, and adults from all levels of society around the world, heard Floyd, cry out, "I can't breathe." He died. His death sent a clarion call across the United States and around the world; sounding the moral compass alarm, and waking local, national, and international neighbors to critically exam how Black people in particular are murdered because their bodies are racialized and marginalized.


On June 23rd, the communities of Auburn University, Lee, and Macon counties answered the worldwide call to action for all members of humanity and gathered in a virtual dialogue; to take a critical look at how we are treating each other in the year 2020, as we yet, strive to Become the Beloved Community in the Midst of Racism, Inequality and COVID-19. Click to watch

Driven by making an impact and inspiring change, our Community Movement is always expanding our understanding of contemporary issues and developing campaigns pushing for positive solutions. Learn more about our focus below.