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Discussion Questions

In what ways do you think, is the African American resistance to oppression different from and similar to resistance of other people?

How does our sensitivity to criticism impede the problem-solving process, and how might we nurture ourselves so that we could learn to receive criticism in a healthy and productive way?

Dr. Johnson raised a number of questions regarding specific problems which need to be addressed in the African American community, in this episode.  Your reflection and responses to these questions are welcomed:

 

‘Listen, what is the promise, what are the promises and what are the limitations of voting and achieving political office, as a method for successful struggle to achieve the realization of our particular values?

What are the possibilities and the limitations of protest?  

What are the possibilities and limitations of various forms of protest, such as picketing, such as marching, such as economic boycott, such as selective buying; what can we hope to achieve with the application of these methods in a given situation?  

What, for instance, are the best methods to deal with particular manifestations of our struggle, given the nature or given the problem that it is concretized in any particular moment?  For example, what are the best methods for dealing with the disintegration of public education and the classroom, or the public school-to-prison-pipeline?  What is the best approach for that?  


What’s the best approach for coming to terms with the new sharecropping, as Black people are disproportionately imprisoned, even for nonviolent crimes, for excessive amounts of time, are farmed out to major corporations to do cheap labor in the prisons for these corporations?  

What’s the best method for approaching prison privatization that renders those people who do not have the money to provide good defenses, are left to the mercy of the system, and are then farmed out to private industries and are left relatively unprotected, because…it’s so easy to throw human beings away in the current climate of stigmatization and dismissal?  



Suggested Reading

Dr. Matthew V. Johnson opened this episode with a glowing reference to and recommendation of There Is a River: The Black Struggle for Freedom in America, by Vincent Harding.  In part, he said:

“This is probably one of the finest books that you will read on African American history anywhere.  It ranks, for a different set of reasons, right up there with John Hope Franklin’s From Slavery to FreedomThere Is a River, dispels the notion or the idea that the struggle was something invented by African Americans during the Civil Rights period; that African Americans struggling for freedom, for liberation, for dignity, for equality, was something invented during the 1950s and 60s, in Alabama…it was a profoundly spiritual book…it reads with the poetic and spiritual depth of a classic in any language or literature, and you can’t help but to be moved, not only by the content, but by the form, as Vincent Harding describes for us, documents for us, details for us, this river, this ongoing struggle that he uses the metaphor of a river to describe, that moves and snakes its way through our collective history, and at various levels and in various ways, our individual lives, and connects us to our earliest ancestors, who courageously walked into the darkness of the Diaspora, without giving up the capacity to dream, without surrendering the capacity to hope, who held onto the value and dignity of life, against overwhelming forces of disintegration, who continued in spite of everything reasonable, to believe in their humanity, and their ultimate liberation, freedom and flourishing, and whose dreams, prayers, hopes and aspirations we continue to live on today.”


 

 



One Amazon.com reviewer put it this way:

 “Vincent Harding has introduced to us a well researched and well presented picture of the opposing forces to America's economic system based on slave and cheap labor. He chronicles the parallel between the systems of oppression and the systems of resistance against oppression. The River of resistance will forever run through a society where opportunity is squelched by the formation of inequality.

“He removes the fictionalized view of the plantation and the relationship between master and slave and replaces it with documented reality.

“Where there is oppression there is resistance to that oppression. This reality has been lost in the Hollywood depictions of slave uprisings, and the "run away slave". It is made clear that Harriet Tubman did not "run away" she was part of a well thought out and masterful organized effort to abolish slavery. There are many well researched and documented instances of organized resistance as well as individual acts of rebellion. These make up the river of resistance that flowed and continues to flow in the presence of human bigotry and oppression. This is a must read for individuals and groups of all races, cultures and nationalities who want to understand their own motives and actions against economic and social tyranny in America and abroad. Mr. Harding makes it quite clear that there are well thought out schemes and timing which are present with both the oppressor and those resisting and overturning oppression.

“This is not a novel, but a text book well worth studying. He does not sensationalize nor create images of heroism. I have three copies of this book and refer to it often. Mr. Harding is a gifted researcher and scholar.”

By Sabida (See Review on Amazon)

 

 

 

SOUL AFIRE with Dr. Matthew V. Johnson
    “The Fire This Time:  The Struggle 2012 and Beyond"

Episode 011 – 10-10-12

 

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Context:

“Whether intentional or not, it was a profoundly spiritual book,” said Dr. Matthew V. Johnson, in referring to Vincent Harding’s book, There Is a River: The Black Struggle for Freedom in America.  “While it is an excellent, a fantastic history, it reads with the poetic and spiritual depth of a classic in any language or literature, and you can’t help but to be moved, not only by the content, but by the form, as Vincent Harding describes for us, documents for us, details for us, this river, this ongoing struggle that he uses the metaphor of a river to describe, that moves and snakes its way through our collective history, and at various levels and in various ways, our individual lives, and connects us to our earliest ancestors, who courageously walked into the darkness of the Diaspora, without giving up the capacity to dream, without surrendering the capacity to hope, who held onto the value and dignity of life, against overwhelming forces of disintegration, who continued in spite of everything reasonable, to believe in their humanity, and their ultimate liberation, freedom and flourishing, and whose dreams, prayers, hopes and aspirations we continue to live on today,” he continued.

“In this moment in history, at this very hour, we are still very much in and a part of and on that river.  We still feel its rhythms, its tide, and we’re certainly captive to its current.  TruthWorks Network is indeed, as a network, it is part of the instantiation of the ongoing flow of that fantastic river that is the African American struggle and the African struggle the world over against forces of colonialism and oppression that is an epic struggle and an epic testimony to the majesty of the human spirit and what it is capable of at the utter extremities of endurance, and at the extremities of the human spirit.  





“…We have to see what is happening now, not as simply an episode, but as a ripple across a surface of an ongoing struggle that runs sometimes silent, that seems sometimes still, but nevertheless, runs always deep.  And when we put it in perspective, put this moment, this current political situation, in this longer perspective, then I think some things will come into focus for us, and it will help us also to see beyond the temptation for despair and cynicism and hopelessness, however intellectualized they may be, to the possibilities of authentic progress, of an authentic future, authentic hope for our children and our grandchildren, and generations yet unborn.  ‘Fire This Time:  The Struggle 2012 and Beyond,’” Johnson concluded.




Program Chatter


Dr. Matthew V. Johnson began this discussion with a glowing reference to and recommendation of There Is a River: The Black Struggle for Freedom in America, by Vincent Harding.  In part, he said:

“This is probably one of the finest books that you will read on African American history anywhere.  It ranks, for a different set of reasons, right up there with John Hope Franklin’s From Slavery to Freedom…There Is a River, dispels the notion or the idea that the struggle was something invented by African Americans during the Civil Rights period; that African Americans struggling for freedom, for liberation, for dignity, for equality, was something invented during the 1950s and 60s, in Alabama…it was a profoundly spiritual book…it reads with the poetic and spiritual depth of a classic in any language or literature, and you can’t help but to be moved, not only by the content, but by the form, as Vincent Harding describes for us, documents for us, details for us, this river, this ongoing struggle that he uses the metaphor of a river to describe, that moves and snakes its way through our collective history, and at various levels and in various ways, our individual lives, and connects us to our earliest ancestors, who courageously walked into the darkness of the Diaspora, without giving up the capacity to dream, without surrendering the capacity to hope, who held onto the value and dignity of life, against overwhelming forces of disintegration, who continued in spite of everything reasonable, to believe in their humanity, and their ultimate liberation, freedom and flourishing, and whose dreams, prayers, hopes and aspirations we continue to live on today.”

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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Loga Michelle Odom
Dr. Matthew V. Johnson is on the air now discussing the need to maintain the struggle over time, over generations and centuries...to pass the baton. This long-term view includes what we must do to maintain the fire after we have elected specific candidates to office, such as Barack Obama. What would you suggest? How do we keep the fire burning...over the long haul?

SOUL AFIRE with Dr. Matthew V. Johnson
"I'm not sure that I'm ready to blame white folks for Mr. Jealous' failures..." said Dr. Matthew V. Johnson in discussing the way his over-eagerness to please may be at the root of his handling of the Shirley Sherrod incident, for example. "I'm not buying that any black man can be told to do anything against his conscience...and then blame somebody else...that is moral upbringing...I'm responsible for my own decisions, and so is he...you are responsible for that, not white folks!"

SOUL AFIRE with Dr. Matthew V. Johnson
"Black people have really bought into this mamby pamby version of Christianity that requires you to sacrifice your intelligence..." --Dr. Matthew V. Johnson

Loga Michelle Odom
"You can't forgive somebody for something they're still doing." --Dr. Matthew V. Johnson

SOUL AFIRE with Dr. Matthew V. Johnson
Keep the Fire going by joining our Forum discussions and registering for our email newsletter at www.truthworks.ning.com.

 

 

 

 

 

SOUL AFIRE with Dr. Matthew V. Johnson
is a live talk radio program hosted by Dr. Matthew V. Johnson, Sr.  The call-in program Inspires and Incites the personal spirit to come alive and reach for the fire within.  Whether your life moves in the nests of tumbleweed against desert dryness, or flows quietly in the sanctuary of lush foliage of a tropical riverbed, you live in the realm of a claimed or neglected human spirit. SOUL AFIRE is about the human Spirit and how it navigates Blackness.  The program features Dr. Johnson’s weekly commentary, “Spirit Matters."

 

From Matters of Religion to Matters of Politics…Spirit Matters

 

"The most powerful force on earth is a soul afire."

ABOUT REVEREND DR. MATTHEW V. JOHNSON

Matthew V. Johnson, Sr., is a graduate of Morehouse College and earned his Masters and Ph.D. degrees in Theology from the University of Chicago.  He has done post-graduate studies in Psychoanalysis, and is a member in training at the Institute of Contemporary Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis.  In the ministry for thirty years, Dr. Johnson is the Pastor of Church of the Good Shepherd-Baptist located in Atlanta, GA.

 

 

Keep your fire stoked by following Dr. Matthew V. Johnson at these locations online:

 

SOUL AFIRE with Dr. Matthew V. Johnson

Wednesdays 10 pm ET - TruthWorks Network

Listen Live:  http://www.blogtalkradio.com/truthworks

Call In Line: 914-338-1610

Website:  http://soulafire.wordpress.com (Find books & blogs by Dr. Johnson)
Email:  soulafire@truthworksnetwork.com (Matthew V. Johnson)

Email:  saf.lmo@truthworksnetwork.com (L. Michelle Odom)

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/SoulAfire

Twitter:  @ASoulAfire  #SpiritMatters (Matthew V. Johnson)

Twitter:  @Odomanian #RealLoveMatters (L. Michelle Odom)

 

TRUTHWORKS NETWORK

Listen Live:  http://www.blogtalkradio.com/truthworks

Call In Line: 914-338-1610

Social Network:  http://truthworks.ning.com/ (Register for our email newsletter; create and join discussions; receive program updates; blog; add photos)

Email:  TWN@truthworksnetwork.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/TruthWorksNetwork

Twitter:  @TWNtalk #TalkThatMatters

 

 

L. Michelle Odom is Content & Broadcast Producer of SOUL AFIRE with Dr. Matthew V. Johnson

A TruthWorks Network Collaboration, Janice Graham, Executive Producer

#SpiritMatters

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