Danielle Brooks gives honest sacred portrayal of Mahalia Jackson in a Lifetime biography released this month.

Precisely because the current generation of Americans barely recognize the seismic impact of her overarching, protean talent, her name is seldom mentioned as being among those artists who definitively and powerfully shaped the parameters of spiritual life in our nation. So, when the name of Mahalia Jackson is evoked either in conversation or during the course of comparisons about whose contributions to high culture is worthy of valued designation, listeners are likely befuddled or made inquisitive: Asking who was Mahalia Jackson? And then they query, what discrete demands did she impose upon the our aesthetic sensibilities?

Mahalia Jackson gave Black…

Republicans in State Houses Across the United States Are Supporting Voter Suppression Change In The Wake Of President Donald Trump’s Claims of Voter Fraud (Photo: AP)

If the theory exists that an inevitable advance toward fuller democracy is often offset by periodic reversals that threaten to plunge the body politic into veritable civic chaos, then we are witnessing that kind of upheaval in our country currently.

When President Trump lost the presidency late last year, he left office on unequivocally belligerent terms. Trump swore he had been victimized by a conspiratorial voter cabal whose malfeasance proved his contention that corruption was endemic to our election process. …

Rev. Raphael Warnock’s Success in Georgia U.S. Senate Run-off Signals Teachable Moments On Race And Possibilities for a Multiracial Democracy (Photo: AP)

Perhaps what we are witnessing in the aftermath of yesterday’s double Georgia U.S. Senate election run-offs is a political parable. Parables are stories that lead to revelation — or narratives that disclose elusive truths, but which make understanding more lucid. Political parables can tell us who we are as citizens and anticipate what possibilities are ahead.

The senate races in Georgia have, since the November 2020 elections, captured the attention of the nation in the soon to be post-Trump presidency. Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock have functioned in their state — and across the nation — as representative…

Orlando Thomas, a Boston-based university student, stands at protest at the doors of Faneuil Hall in Boston. (Photo: Ken Rivard)

The curious among us have assuredly asked: what is violence? Is it an obvious thing requiring no deep thinking to define it? Or is it more complex than that — more like an ideology marked by intractable worldviews, group histories, differing perspectives or the source of disparate social and political hierachies?

Some argue that violence is embedded in our DNA. Others contend its a learned behavior. The political philosopher, Reinhold Niebuhr, in his classic text, Moral Man and Immoral Society, has said that the quest humans have for elite status motivates violent propensities, contending also that: “The moral attitudes of…

Aziza Robinson Goodnight and Asia Jackson stand protesting Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s refusal to remove the name of a white supremacist from the iconic Faneuil Hall. (Photo Credit: The New Democracy Coalition Archives)

The city of Boston was recently confronted with an opportunity to clear the racially toxic air that hovers over Faneuil Hall and its adjacent Market Place in Boston. What did the city do? It punted.

Earlier this month, the city cashed a 2.1 million check from the New York-based Ashkenazy Acquisition Corporation. The corporation was two years late on its annual payment in-lieu-of-taxes agreement. The city had threatened to break the lease. Instead, they pressured the company and took the money.

Given the symbolic shame that Faneuil Hall brings to the city, there certainly was an opportunity to do more…

While visting Philadelphia last week, Former President Barack Obama Urged Black Men to Vote in the November 3rd Election and ‘Get A Seat at the Table.’ Photo: NYMAG.COM

On a warm April day in 1899 W.E.B Dubois — the great scholar and Civil Rights advocate — waned in lugubrious despair as he glared through the widow of a grocery store in Atlanta to see the detached knuckles of Sam Hose on display in a jar. Hose had been lynched.

In 1998, James Byrd’s body parts were found splayed across the roads near Jasper, Texas after a trio of white men dragged his body three miles while in molten states of racial hatred. Byrd’s right arm and head were severed from his body.

In 2015, Freddie Gray, a Black…

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is bewielderedly mired in the morass of Boston racism. (Photo Credit: The Boston Herald)

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh was fooling no one yesterday— especially Blacks in the city — when he stepped to the podium at city hall to suggest he was interested in addressing systemic racism.

Implicit in Walsh’s latest policy ploy is the intimation he has long been concerned about the festering presence of systemic racism that has been a fixture in his administration. Yesterday’s faux press conference focused on police department reform that stemmed from a stinging Boston Globe report this week that found the city woefully wanting around the issue of equity within the department’s ranks. At the hastily called…

Former Vice President Joe Biden (D) and President Donald Trump (R) Trade Insults at the First President Debate in Cleveland, Ohio (Photo Credit: Dallas Morning News)

Last night’s presidential debate was not a presidential debate at all. Instead it was cacophonous sound and fury signifying nothing. It was a 90-minute forum full of dispiriting pontifications where two candidates purporting a desire to lead the free world rolled in the mire before the media klieg lights, reducing themselves to acerbic chortling and noxious name calling. It was supposed to be a measured discourse between worthy opponents — an extended dignified discussion over national policies and statecraft. It was anything but that.

The millions of Americans who tuned in last night hoping to finalize their decision-making before November’s…

Kevin Peterson, the writer of this opinion essay, is protesting over the police murder of Breonna Taylor during a public rally in Boston, Massachusetts (Associated Press Photo)

The Breonna Taylor ruling last week effectively allowed the police accused of her murder go uncharged for a horrendous crime that should not have ever happened.

The judicial farce was yet another example of bias against black lives that has become commonplace and that reinforces the stark racial divisions that characterize American political and civic culture. This historic racial division began in the poisoned womb of slavery and extends now into the final year of the first term of the Trump administration.

When the ruling was handed down — identifying that only one of the three Louisville police officers would…

President Trumps he had done more for Black Americans since Lincoln (Photo Credit CNBC)

President Donald Trump launched the Republican National Convention Monday with a laundry list of claims on how he has made American great again — especially for Black Americans. Much of his nearly hour long meandering over issues concerning African American well-being was sound and fury signifying nothing.

Among the most egregious of Trump pronouncements from Charlotte, North Carolina where a portion of the convention is be held are the achievement he touts about changing the climate of Black American since elected in 2016.

Of his promoted reforms on criminal justice Trump said: “It was us, us, together that criminal justice…

Kevin C. Peterson

Kevin Peterson is founder of the New Democracy Coalition and Convener of the Fanueil Hall Race and Reconciliation Project. He is a social and cultural critic.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store