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The Power of Memory in a Culture of Terror

By Angela Sims

Hardback, 208 pages $29.95
Published: 15th October 2016
ISBN: 9781602582668
Format: 8.5in x 5.5in

Subjects: All History, All Theology, American History, Church History

Lynched chronicles the history and aftermath of lynching in America. By rooting her work in oral histories, Angela D. Sims gives voice to the memories of African American elders who remember lynching not only as individual acts but as a culture of violence, domination, and fear.  

Lynched preserves memory even while it provides an analysis of the meaning of those memories. Sims examines the relationship between lynching and the interconnected realities of race, gender, class, and other social fragmentations that ultimately shape a person’s—and a community’s—religious self-understanding. Through this understanding, she explores how the narrators reconcile their personal and communal memory of lynching with their lived Christian experience. Moreover, Sims unearths the community’s truth that this is sometimes a story of words and at other times a story of silence.   

Revealing the bond between memory and moral formation, Sims discovers the courage and hope inherent in the power of recall. By tending to the words of these witnesses, Lynched exposes not only a culture of fear and violence but the practice of story and memory, as well as the narrative of hope within a renewed possibility for justice.




Chapter 1. Echoes of a Not So Distant Past: African Americans Remember Lynching

Chapter 2. Courageous Truth Telling: Historical Remembrance as an Ethical-Theological Mandate

Chapter 3. Faithful Witness: Oral Narratives and Human Agency

Chapter 4. Unrelenting Tenacity: In the Shadow of the Lynching Tree

Chapter 5. Lessons, Concerns, Hopes: Embodying an Ethic of Resilient Resistance




"In this astonishingly sober and sage work, ethicist Angela Sims baptizes us by immersion in the memories of lynching. The African American elders whom she interviews are as godparents to us all—unwrapping memories and holding up the horror, uncovering the history the nation represses, dispensing terrible knowledge. This is theology as elegiac and embodied protest against the erasure of memory, against the cost of forgetting."

—M. Shawn Copeland, Professor of Systematic Theology, Boston College

"Lynched brings a novel and innovative approach to the study of the horrific history of lynching in the United States. Angela Sims has gathered a gold mine of information contained in the oral histories of elderly African Americans which forms the basis for Lynched. The respondents’ memories about, and reckoning with, lynching provide rich texture to the burgeoning literature that documents and analyzes a shameful period of American history."

—Stewart E. Tolnay, S. Frank Miyamoto Professor of Sociology, University of Washington

“We need to remember the horror of domestic terrorism that black people have experienced for centuries in the United States, the land of their birth. Remembering and resisting are the only ways to stop terrorism today. We are in debt to Angela Sims and her interviewees for this important work of remembrance, which should inspire us to never forget and never stop resisting.”

—James H. Cone, Briggs Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology, Union Theological Seminary

Angela D. Sims is Dean of Academic Programs, Robert B. and Kathleen Rogers Chair in Church and Society, and Associate Professor of Ethics and Black Church Studies at Saint Paul School of Theology.

Publication Details:

 Hardback , 208 pages
 8.5in x 5.5in

  HIS036060, REL067000, SOC001000
 Baylor University Press

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