We’ve reached the 50th anniversary of Selma’s Bloody Sunday and the Selma-to-Montgomery Voting Rights March and yet the United States faces fresh challenges on its road toward racial healing and equity, justice and reconciliation. The challenges descend from the irreconcilable conflict between democracy and slavery in the nation’s founding; they are historically and profoundly political. They also are profoundly moral and spiritual. To aspire to meet these challenges is an act of faith—in the moral arc of the universe, in the promise of America, and in the potential of the force John Lewis has called the Spirit of History to redeem the soul of the nation.
That Spirit of History moved mightily in the civil rights movement. At the heart of its power lay the philosophy and discipline of nonviolent resistance to injustice. The story continues to make a way out of no way as it moves hearts and opens minds.
I write from extensive experience with The Faith & Politics Institute’s Congressional Civil Rights Pilgrimages to Alabama. For seventeen years we’ve watched Congressman John Lewis lead his Congressional colleagues through the history of the civil rights movement in his native state and, with his movement colleagues, tell the story. – Reverend Doug Tanner, Founder and Senior Advisor, The Faith & Politics Institute