Racial Justice Study Group: Module Two

Racial Justice Study Group: Module Two
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Starting Date / Time: 12/10/20, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

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[email: info@seattlebuddhistcenter.org]

We meet monthly from 7-9p on Zoom (free). All are welcome, with shared agreements established. Join at any time!


As a Buddhist community, opening our hearts and minds to the lived experiences and complex relationships between blacks and whites throughout the history of the United States, which was literally created with the labor of predominantly African slaves, can help with understanding, healing, and guiding our efforts towards advocacy for change and racial justice in the present.  The SBC has an ongoing study group that meets monthly to explore this history of race relations and how it impacts and shapes our society and country in the present.  The planning group selects a variety of resources, including reading materials, podcasts, videos and other media that are positively-engaging, informative, and thought provoking!

Topics for Discussion

The study is structured chronologically. Module One started with three sessions on Slavery.  Module Two includes four sessions to address Reconstruction, Racial Cleansing, the Great Migration, and the Harlem Renaissance. After this module, we will continue with themes that bring this history forward to the present, including the Civil Rights movement and the continuing legacy of systemic discrimination impacting African Americans today.  If there is interest, further study may be expanded to focus on the history and legacy of racial injustice involving indigenous peoples and immigrant populations, which are also powerful forces in shaping race relations to the present day.  Many of us are realizing how inadequate our formal education was on these topics!  Discussing with others allows for deeper reflection and integration of the material.  Join at any time!


Required materials



The book we have selected to read in this 4 month session is The Warmth of Other Suns, The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration, by Isabel Wilkerson.  By Wilkerson’s account, this historically influential migration of over 6 million African Americans from the rural South to the cities of the North, Midwest and West dated from 1915 to 1970.  In its entirety, the book is about 540 pages, so rather than asking you all to read the whole thing, we are going to attach copies of excerpts of the book for each of the 4 classes – or roughly 35-40 pages of reading each month.  The narrative of Wilkerson’s book tracks the journeys and lived experiences of 3 unique individuals.  The one we’ve chosen to focus on is Ida Mae Brandon Gladney, whose journey started in Mississippi and ended in Chicago.  If you’re interested in buying/reading the whole book, it is available in paperback from Phinney Books for $16.51 (supports independent book stores) or on Amazon for $10.77.

Supplementary resources to peruse if you so choose

Video documentaries
  • “Buried in the Bitter Waters, the Hidden History of Racial Cleansing in America” by Elliot Jaspin
  • “The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism” by Edward E. Baptist

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