JUSTICE-MAKING AND THE BELOVED COMMUNITY: MAPPING EMANCIPATORY LANDSCAPES AND THE PUBLIC ROLE OF THEOLOGIANS AND RELIGIOUS SCHOLARS
AbstractThis article focuses on the religious world view and organizing strategies of United States activist, Joan Southgate who, at the age of 72, mapped out and completed a three-stage, 519 mile walk to North American Underground Railroad sites. Following this 2002 walk, Southgate founded Restore Cleveland Hope (RCH) in Cleveland, Ohio, to combat racism and other social ills. In their organizing efforts, Southgate and other community members envision and work to establish a "Beloved Community" of radical inclusivity that fuses Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision of the Beloved Community with notions of community found in Toni Morrison’s 1987 novel Beloved. In this article, I draw upon Southgate’s mapping strategies to establish a framework in which to discuss the public role religious scholars can play in giving voice to local religious activists and practitioners by mapping, analysing, and interpreting their emancipatory efforts.
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