April 21, will mark my 37th year in the ministry (technically, April 20th was the date of the Sunday I preached my first sermon).
As an 18 year old, that event can be considered the culmination of my search for purpose for my life. I knew that I wanted to serve God by serving people. I was particularly concerned with the plight of black Americans, and before I finally yielded to the call to enter the preaching ministry, I sought to understand mid 1970's America, the cauldron of race relations, poverty, politics and faith and how it meshed as best I could.
I didn't have any formal discussions with my parents or grandfather (who was also my pastor), I - well I kind of took off exploring on my own. I read. I watched documentaries on the Civil Rights Movement and read periodicals from that period, going back nearly 15 years. I memorized the names and contributions of the leaders and sought to put it in context.
And I also attended lectures. One of which was a lecture by Angela Davis.
Angela Davis was a young university professor, intellectual and stood trial for 13 weeks charged with buying guns for her lover, George Jackson, one of the Soledad Brothers, in a failed prison escape that resulted in the death of four people, including a federal judge.
She was acquitted, but Angela Davis became an icon for the black liberation struggle in the '70's.
The most I knew about Davis at the time was that she was controversial. She was a revolutionary and that she represented what was an important figure in contemporary black history.
Now there is a documentary about Angela Davis that premiered April 5th and is on my must see list! 'Free Angela Davis and All Political Prisoners' by Shola Lynch, is a chance to revisit that point in history and to rediscover Davis' importance. It will also be interesting to revisit period which represents a curious irony between how citizen dissent was viewed when expressed by minorities and. how it is viewed when it is expressed by whites today. Unfortunately Dallas isn't listed among the theater's where its being shown currently, but I'll get to see it somehow.