Thursday, February 12, 2015

Beyond "Selma": Faith and the Freedom Movement -- online class registration continues through THURSDAY, Feb. 26


An eight week online course* on
religion, racial justice, nonviolent action, and community
in the Civil Rights Movement

February 18-April 12, 2015
accepting registrations through February 23 26!

* See also the bottom of this announcement 
for a local Boston version, 
live and in person!
Have you seen the movie "Selma"?

Whether you have or not, how much do you know about the long and fruitful years of struggle that make up the Civil Rights Movement?

(Some prefer to call it the Freedom Movement.)

You know about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., but have you read his "Letter from Birmingham Jail"? Or the "I Have a Dream" speech in its entirety, including the parts that don't usually get quoted? Or any of his sermons?
Do you know how he understood the connection between racial injustice and poverty, between poverty and war? What happened when he began to oppose the war in Vietnam? 

How were his Christian faith and his formation as a minister vital to his civil rights leadership? 
How was religion woven into the Civil Rights struggle?

Why and how did the music matter?

Do you recognize other names besides Dr. King's? Ella Baker? Bayard Rustin? James Lawson? Fannie Lou Hamer? Diane Nash?

What about the movement dimension of the Civil Rights Movement?
And the communities where popular movements for freedom and justice arose and grew? 

You've heard of the Greensboro Sit-ins, but what about the large wave of sit-ins in Nashville? And the involvement of Nashville students in the Freedom Rides?

Christianity was woven into the Freedom Movement, but there's more to the story. Why and how did Malcolm X and others choose Islam as their path of faith and practice? How did their identities and lives as Muslims help to maintain their integrity as African Americans?

Who were some of the Catholic and Jewish participants in the Civil Rights movement?

Readings, music, film!

The course takes place on a blog which is accessible only to those people who have registered for the course. The technical part is fairly simple if you are used to being online and your friendly instructor is available to help you trouble-shoot if you run into any problems.

We'll watch some movies and movie clips (some are free and accessible online and those will be required; others are commercially accessible and participants will be encouraged to see them) and listen to some music, and of course, there will be reading! Not as much as in a college class, and you don't have to be college-educated to take the course. You do have to commit two to four hours a week (not all at once - you're in control of how and when) to reading, watching, and listening to the resources and to thinking about them. You may wish to spend more time than the minimum required, but that is up to you.

I am mixing the media because we all learn in different ways and because film and music teach us as much as reading. Together the reading, music, and movies will give us a more textured sense of this important period in U.S. history.


This course is open to all
regardless of religious or academic background.

"Beyond 'Selma': Faith and the Freedom Movement" is a good program for the Christian season of Lent, but you don't have to be a Christian observing Lent to take this class.
The course will include, in an easily identifiable thread, some reflections (questions, spiritual exercises, meditations) geared specifically toward those who are observing Lent and Holy Week, and Easter Week, but that "Lenten thread" is not required and is there as an option. This is a class and primarily a community of study and learning.
Registration and fees

Registration is now open.
Regular rate: $250
Discounted rate: $175
Benefactor rate: $350
To register, write me, Jane Redmont, at if you plan to pay by check: I will acknowledge your registration and send you the mailing address. I will also notify you when I receive your check.


If you are paying by credit or debit card or PayPal, simply register and pay by using the PayPal button below. (You can use this button and its secure connection to pay with a card even if you don't have a PayPal account.)

The PayPal payment will record your name and e-mail address and serve as your registration. You will receive an acknowledgment from me within 24 hours.

Payment is non-refundable and due upon registration.
If you are in a situation of financial stress, please write me and we can arrange for a discount or scholarship.
If you wish to help make more scholarships possible, just check and pay the "benefactor" rate below.

Registration fees (choose one)

 Focus Days

The course begins on Wednesday, February 18. (This is Ash Wednesday in the Western Christian Calendar.) It ends on Sunday, April 12.

Focus days throughout the course are Monday and Friday.

A "Focus day" is
1. The day on which new materials and resources are posted and available to you for reading, viewing, or listening.
2. The day you can begin asking or answering questions about that material or commenting upon it.
You will then have until the following focus day to do your reading, listening, watching, and reflection, on your own schedule.
This gives you flexibility and enables you to adapt the course to your own life and way of learning.
Once you register and are signed on to the course blog, you will receive more details. We are keeping the structure simple and regular so that you can get used to it easily.

There are no formal papers, no exams, and no grades, and our goal is to be a community of learning and conversation. There are a few requirements:
* Do the reading/watching/listening assignments.
* Use the course blog's comments sections to share your responses to the material.
* Read other course participants' comments with an open mind and heart.
* Write a paragraph or two as the course begins and a page or two after the course is over to reflect on what you have learned.
* NOTE: A "Live and in person" version of this course for people who live in the Boston area will be available if at least five people are interested.
Meetings will be held once a week in the Roslindale neighborhood of Boston. Write me here if you are interested. The cost is the same as the online course, but a delicious homemade vegetarian dinner is included at every meeting! If we get snowed out, you can follow the course online -- but it goes into early April, so we should be fine most of the time.

Jane Redmont is also offering an online retreat 
on the life and wisdom of Thomas Merton 
for Lent and Holy Week,
beginning February 18.
See here for further information and registration.

About Jane Redmont
teacher and facilitator of
Beyond 'Selma': Faith and the Freedom Movement

Jane Redmont designed a new course in African American Religion and Theology for Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina in 2005 and taught the course there for seven years, often more than once a year because of its popularity.

A graduate of Oberlin College, Jane received her M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School and studied for the Ph.D. in theology at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. During her time in North Carolina, she chaired the Bishop's Committee for Racial Justice and Reconciliation of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina. She is the author of two books, Generous Lives: American Catholic Women Today and When in Doubt, Sing: Prayer in Daily Life.

Jane is in the ordination process in the Episcopal Church, into which she was received in early 2002. For 25 years before that, she was a  pioneer among women in professional ministry in the Roman Catholic Church, serving as a campus minister at SUNY-Stony Brook, as the first woman chaplain at St. Paul's University Catholic Center in Madison, Wisconsin,  and as Social Justice Minister at Boston's Paulist Center, and as a popular speaker and committed social activist. She has also directed and served as a consultant to nonprofit organizations addressing intergroup relations, public health, and the causes and consequences of poverty, especially in cities.

A preacher and spiritual director, Jane has lectured and led retreats and workshops around the U.S., including Texas, California, Hawaii, Michigan, Wisconsin, New York, Massachusetts, North Carolina, and several other states. Raised in France in a family of American journalists, she lives in Boston, Massachusetts, where she currently spends a lot of time shoveling snow.

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