How African Americans Emerged from Slavery with a Hunger for Education

From Plantations to Churches to the Classroom, Ex-Slaves Tirelessly Pursued Public Schooling

The focus of my research and writing is women’s involvement in higher education, especially women from the Pentecostal and Holiness faith traditions. While conducting research on African American female seminaries, I found myself reaching back to a very rich yet little-known history of educational efforts by African Americans both during and after slavery. The narratives of those days should remind us just how stubborn and enduring the hunger for education has been in American life.

In the United States, slave masters were intent on keeping their slaves illiterate. Two events drove …

My Antidote to L.A’s Madness Lies Less Than 100 Miles Outside the City

Finding Peace in a Benedictine Abbey Transplanted From China and Thriving in California’s High Desert

Driven. Rushed. Anxious. These adjectives describe me and many of the nearly 4 million people with whom I share the malls, freeways, and surface streets of Los Angeles. Some days, …

God Calls My Name, but the Church Won’t Let Me Answer

The Roman Catholic Ban on Female Priests Is Leaving Women—and Thousands of Parishes—Idle and Powerless

“What do you do when God calls you and the church blocks you from answering?” a journalist once asked me.

It was the pithiest articulation I’d ever heard of the …

Singing Hallelujah with Hundreds of Angelenos

Why You’ll Find me at the Claremont Sing-Along Messiah on Sunday (For the 32nd Year in a Row)

On Sunday, the wood-paneled concert hall at Pomona College will be filled with people from Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, and Riverside counties singing George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah.” I’ve taken …