Meet KU's Authors: Randal Maurice Jelks
(Professor, African and African American Studies, American Studies)

Letters to Martin: Meditations on Democracy in Black America

WED SEP 14, 2022, 6:30 PM

Letters to Martin contains twelve meditations on contemporary political struggles for our oxygen-deprived society. Evoking Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” these meditations, written in the form of letters to King, speak specifically to the many public issues we presently confront in the United States — economic inequality, freedom of assembly, police brutality, ongoing social class conflicts, and geopolitics.

Professor Randall Jelks invites readers to reflect on U.S. history by centering on questions of democracy that we must grapple with as a society. Hearkening to the era when James Baldwin, Dorothy Day, Reinhold Niebuhr, and Richard Wright used their writing to address the internal and external conflicts that the United States faced, this book is a contemporary revival of the literary tradition of meditative social analysis. These meditations on democracy provide spiritual oxygen to help readers endure the struggles of rebranding, rebuilding, and reforming our democratic institutions so that we can all breathe.

This speaker series, a partnership with the Lawrence Public Library, provides audiences with an opportunity to hear KU researchers talk informally about books they have recently published, taking us behind the curtain to explain why they embarked on these projects, what they found, and why their projects matter.

  • Erika Lynn Adair
  • Jason Yearout
  • D. Johnson
  • Johnny Flash

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