Randal Maurice Jelks - "Letters to Martin" - Julian DeShazier

Thursday, January 27, 2022 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Randal Maurice Jelks & Julian DeShazier

Dr. Randal Maurice Jelks will discuss Letters to Martin: Meditations on Democracy in Black America. He will be joined in conversation by Rev. Julian DeShazier.

Presented in partnership with McCormick Theological Seminary and University Church

Virtual Event


About the book: Letters to Martin: Meditations on Democracy in Black America (Chicago Review Press, Jan 11, 2022) evokes Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail and contains twelve meditations on many of the public issues currently faced by citizens in the United States —economic inequality, freedom of assembly, police brutality, ongoing social class conflicts, and geopolitics. Hearkening to the era when James Baldwin, Dorothy Day, Reinhold Niebuhr, and Richard Wright used their writing to address the internal and external conflicts that the United States faced, this book is a contemporary revival of the literary tradition of meditative social analysis.

About the author: Randal Maurice Jelks is a professor, a documentary producer, and award-winning author. He was an executive producer of the documentary I, Too, Sing America: Langston Hughes Unfurled and he currently teaches American Studies, African Studies, and African American Studies at the University of Kansas. His writings have appeared in the Boston Review and the Los Angeles Review of Books, and he also serves as co-editor of the academic journal American Studies.

About the interlocutor: Julian DeShazier is the Senior Pastor at University Church. As a national speaker, advocate and emcee, Julian “J.Kwest” DeShazier has appeared on BBC, FOX, NPR and Dr. Maya Angelou’s “Oprah & Friends” radio program. J.Kwest is also an Emmy Award-winning musician, featured in the video “Strange Fruit,” a commemoration of the Billie Holiday song and a meditation on racial violence. The Chicago native and graduate of Morehouse College and the University of Chicago Divinity School is a Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow since 2020 and was also recognized by Crain’s Chicago Business as one of “40 Under 40” leaders in Chicago. Named by the Center for American Progress as one of “10 Faith Leaders to Watch” in 2018, he serves as the inaugural chair of the Community Advisory Council for University of Chicago Medicine; as associate director of the Office of Experiential Education at McCormick Theological Seminary; and is a former adjunct professor at the University of Chicago Divinity School. In 2021, Julian was inducted into the Morehouse College Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel Board of Preachers. Julian is a regular contributor to On Scripture and Sojourners, where he is also a board member. He and his wife, Mallorie, have two fierce daughters, Dania and Genevieve.

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