Pax Christi, the Peace of Christ, strives to create a world that reflects this peace by witnessing to the call of Christian nonviolence. Although the majority of members are Roman Catholic, Pax Christi is open to all people who want to work for peace in the spirit of the nonviolent Jesus.
Pax Christi Memphis meets the second Tuesday of
every month at the Quaker Meetinghouse located at 3387 Walnut Grove, Memphis, TN 38111. Additional parking is available on Prescott, or in the Kroger Parking lot across the street.
For more information, or if you need a ride to our meeting, call Janice Vanderhaar at 362-9364, or Terry Hash 849-0983
Building peace, economic & interracial justice through a spirituality of nonviolence
|Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror:|
A PRESENTATION BY JUDGE AND ACTIVIST
The June Pax Christi gathering will feature a presentation on the history and ramifications of racially motivated lynching in our area by US Bankruptcy Court Judge Jennie D. Latta, J.D., Ph.D., and Randell Gamble, local activist and Pax Christi member.
The talk will include information on Ida B Wells, who started her anti-lynching campaign in Memphis as the result of the lynching of Thomas Moss, owner of the Peoples Grocery,
and two of his workers in 1892. The Memphis chapter of the NAACP was organized as the result of the lynching of Ell Persons on May 22, 1917. These are just two of the 21 lynchings that occurred in Shelby County, more than any other county in Tennessee.
Two extraordinary African American men have written about the history and impact of lynching. The first is the late Dr. James Cameron (1914-2006), who was the only known survivor of a lynching in Marion, Indiana on August 30, 1930. Dr. Cameron became a Catholic after this incident and went on to write and speak about his experience. His book is entitled, A Time of Terror.
The second is Dr. James Cone, a professor at Union Theological Seminary in New York, who is best known as an advocate of Black liberation theology. His book is entitled, The Cross and the Lynching Tree. Despite these works, many people are unaware of the history of lynching in Memphis and Shelby County.
In 1989, attorney Bryan Stevenson founded the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, to provide legal representation to prisoners who may have been denied a fair trial. On February 15, 2015, the Equal Justice Initiative issued a report called, “Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror.”
Jennie D. Latta, J.D., Ph.D.
for change. They have organized prayer vigils and listening circles, and have started to gather information about racial violence in Memphis and Shelby County. The goal of this work is to encourage conversation and confrontation of the injustice, inequality, anguish, and suffering that racial violence has created in the past and in the present.
Jennie D. Latta, J.D., Ph.D., is a life-long Memphian, a convert to Catholicism, and a United States Bankruptcy Judge for the Western District of Tennessee. These experiences have caused her to reflect and write about the impact of poverty and racial violence on our community. She is the author of “The Memphis Lynching Log,” which recounts the story of the arrest and lynching of Ell Persons.
Randell Gamble is a native Californian, retired navy veteran, St. Patrick’s parishioner and community activist with experience in race relations and nonviolence. He has been involved with Pax Christi Memphis for more than 20 years, and is former chairperson of the local chapter anti-racist team and a former member of the national catholic peace movement anti-racism team. Randy is actively engaged with issues related to race relations and was featured in the Catholic Peace Voice (2004), CTTT Collection of Stories (2010), and Faith Magazine. His journey of faith has recently led him to the Lynching Sites Project.
A Reflection on the Interfaith Prayer Service held at the Ell Persons lynching site
Pax Christi Memphis was represented by members Randell Gamble, Ed Wallin and Janice Vanderhaar a recent Interfaith Memorial Service at the site of the Ell Persons lynching. Randy offered these comments on their experience there.
It is such a blessing to be a part of the Lynching Sites Project of Memphis, (please see our Facebook page.) I have been able to witness such an outpouring of the Holy Spirit where people are coming together for real conversation on our racial history in America.
The gathering of so many people from different background at the Interfaith Prayer Service was nothing short of God’s Amazing Grace. To hear the two young African American women (students) from Overton High School tell a brief story of Ell Person was incredible. There were so many connections made by this encounter, and I was glad to see young people from St. Agnes Catholic School as well. The song “We Remember,” sung by Antonio Neal was fitting for this 99th Anniversary and offered further proof that “Black Lives Mattered” in the past as well as the present. All of this is the work of racial justice is chronicled in “Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror”, a report that the Equal Justice Initiative (http://www.eji.org/) came out with last year. I have been inspired by their Executive Director Bryan Stevenson who spoke at 1866 Memphis Massacre dedication at the National Civil Rights Museum. I appreciate all of the people that are showing up for the work that lies ahead for the Memphis community. My question is how do we reflect upon the priorities of Pax Christi USA in the context of this moment through prayer, study, and action?