|James Cone August 5, 1936 - April 28, 2018|
Since Brother Cone’s recent death (4-28-18) I’ve been in a deep reflective mode rereading and reanalyzing this now honorable Ancestor’s great works. Many refer to Brother Cone as the father of Black Liberation Theology, from my perspective James Cone did not open the door to Black Liberation Theology he was a dedicated proponent of it; he continued in the vein of his freedom-fighting liberation theology forefathers the likes of David Walker who wrote ‘The Appeal’ (1829) and Henry Highland Garnett who gave one of the greatest speeches ‘An Address To The Slaves Of The United States’ (1843).
The two greatest Black Christian theologians in my life time has been Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and James Cone, both articulated that the message of liberation was at the core of the gospel. Brother James Cone vigorously articulated throughout his life of God’s radical identification with the liberation of Black people in the United States. Brother Cone’s first book was ‘Black Theology & Black Power’ (1969), continuing with ‘A Black Theology of Liberation’ (1970), and ‘God of the Oppressed’ (1975).
Cone’s most recently published book 'The Cross and the Lynching Tree' (2011) won the 2018 Grawemeyer Award in Religion, the following is a quote from the book:
|“The lynching tree so strikingly similar to the cross on Golgotha should
have a prominent place in American images of Jesus’ death. But it does not. In
fact, the lynching tree has no place in American theological reflections bout
Jesus’ cross or in the proclamation of Christian churches about his Passion.
The conspicuous absence of the lynching tree in American theological discourse
and preaching is profoundly revealing, especially since the crucifixion was
clearly a first-century lynching. In the “lynching era,” between 1880 to 1940,
white Christians lynched nearly five thousand black men and women in a manner
with obvious echoes of the Roman crucifixion of Jesus. Yet these “Christians”
did not see the irony or contradiction in their actions.” - James Cone|