All posts tagged: Bryan Stevenson

Nothing Can be Changed Until it is Faced

Last week, President Obama named the A.G. Gaston Motel (a National Trust National Treasure), the 16th Street Baptist Church (site of a bomb attack in 1963 that killed four young girls), and other places near them as part of the new Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument.  Made on the eve of celebrating the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, the president’s designation was a good reminder of the importance of why we protect places that tell difficult stories from our past. A few weeks ago I finished reading a powerful book that harkened back to the work and writings of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow:  Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness is a work that demands a response from the reader and is not easily dismissed. In the book’s foreword, Cornel West alludes to the link between Alexander’s work and Dr. King’s core beliefs.  King called for us to be “lovestruck with each other, not colorblind toward each other. To be lovestruck is to care, to have …

A Wider, More Generous, More Imaginative Perspective: Preservation in 2017

(Note:  This post originally appeared – in a slightly edited form – on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Preservation Forum blog.) 2016 was a time of reflection and anticipation for many Americans, including preservationists. We celebrated the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service and the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act, but we also used this year to anticipate the future. Moving past those milestones, we have the opportunity—some would say the obligation—to rethink preservation and seek our place of relevance in the changed political and social climate of 2017. Many people contributed to our convenings on the future of preservation. Out of those conversations, we envisioned a preservation movement that grounds its work in human needs and aspirations: “A people-centered preservation movement empowers people to tell their stories and to engage in saving the places that matter to them; plays an increasingly important role in creating sustainable, resilient, equitable, and livable communities; and works collaboratively with a wide range of other fields to fulfill fundamental human needs and achieve essential …

The power of identity

I’ve been reading two important books in recent weeks. Both have challenged some of my deeply held assumptions.  Both books and their authors have received extensive coverage in the media. And while I didn’t originally plan for this post to come out on the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend, perhaps it is only fitting that I spend this time on America’s racial history as we honor one whose life work was spent on correcting injustice. One book was not written with a white audience in mind, while the other is clearly intended to open the eyes of the those who see the civil rights movement as a three-day event:  “On Day 1, Rosa Parks didn’t give up her seat on the bus. On Day 2, [the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.] led a march on Washington. And on the third day, we signed all of these laws.”  Both books – in their own ways – have affirmed for me that the work I can do to help build a more complete American identify can …