Civil Rights and the Church: Lessons for the Future


David Chappell, author of A Stone of Hope, will examine the different perspectives northern liberals and southern activists rooted in black churches had toward the civil rights movement. Northern liberals believed democratic ideals would inevitably win over segregationists, while many African-American activists proudly drew inspiration from the prophetic tradition of the Old Testament to foment social change. The story of the civil rights movement is a clear demonstration of how faith not only informs politics but also stimulates it. Panelists will join Dr. Chappell in analyzing the history of the relationship between religion and public policy. There will also be time set aside for a question and answer period with the audience.


David L. Chappell, author of A Stone of Hope: Prophetic Religion and the Death of Jim Crow

Ruby Sales, Director, Spirit House

Hilary O. Shelton, Director, Washington Bureau, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

Moderated by

Melody Barnes, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress




Tuesday, 29 June 2004
Program: 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
Breakfast will be provided.



National Press Club
Holman Lounge
13th Floor
529 14th Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20045


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About the participants:

Melody Barnes is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress focusing on domestic policy issues, including civil rights, women's health and gender equity issues, and the judicial confirmation process. From December 1995 until March 2003, Ms. Barnes served as chief counsel to Senator Edward M. Kennedy on the Senate Judiciary Committee. As Senator Kennedy's chief counsel, she shaped civil rights, women's health and reproductive rights, commercial law, and religious liberties laws, as well as executive branch and judicial appointments. Ms. Barnes’ experience also includes an appointment as Director of Legislative Affairs for the U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and serving as assistant counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights. During her tenure with the Subcommittee, she worked closely with Members of Congress and their staffs to pass the Voting Rights Improvement Act of 1992, which was signed into law.

David Chappell is an associate professor of U.S. Social and Intellectual history at the University of Arkansas and author of A Stone of Hope: Prophetic Religion and the Death of Jim Crow. In the early 1980's, Chappell worked as a research assistant for Seymour Hersh and wrote position papers for Jesse Jackson's l984 presidential campaign. His articles have appeared in Journal of American Studies and African American Review, and his reviews in the Washington Post, Newsday and In These Times. He is also the author of Inside Agitators: White Southerners in the Civil Rights Movement. He has received grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation. Chappell was a Fulbright Lecturer in Moscow in 1993. Chappell earned his B.A. from Yale in 1982 and a Ph.D from Rochester in 1992. Has been teaching American History at University of Arkansas since l993.

Hilary O. Shelton is director of the Washington Bureau of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The Washington Bureau is the federal legislative and national public policy division of the over 500,000 member, 2,200 membership unit, national civil rights organization. In this capacity Hilary is responsible for advocating the federal public policy issue agenda of the oldest, largest, and most widely recognized civil rights organization in the United States too the U.S. Government. Hilary's government affairs portfolio includes crucial issues such as affirmative action, equal employment protection, Access to Quality Education, stopping gun violence, ending racial profiling, abolition of the Death penalty, access to comprehensive healthcare, voting rights protection, federal sentencing reform and a host of civil rights enforcement, expansion and protection issues. Prior to serving as director to the NAACP Washington Bureau, Hilary served as Federal Liaison/Assistant Director to the Government Affairs department of The College Fund/UNCF, also known as The United Negro College Fund in Washington, D.C. Hilary holds degrees in political science, communications, and legal studies from Howard University, the University of Missouri in St. Louis, and Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, respectively.

Ruby Sales is a civil rights veteran, historian and activist from Jemison, Ala. In the 1960s, while studying at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, Sales became involved with the state's Freedom Summer voter registration drive. She currently serves as director of Spirit House, a nonprofit organization she launched in 2000 in Washington, D.C. Spirit House is focused on community organizing and spiritually based community building. Sales has also served as director of the Citizens' Complaint Center in Washington, D.C., director of Black Women's Voices and Images and director of Women of All Colors. She has taught courses on the civil rights movement and African American women's history at the University of Maryland. Sales has written several articles and has appeared as a commentator on national television programs.

The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just and free America that ensures opportunity for all. We believe that Americans are bound together by a common commitment to these values and we aspire to ensure that our national policies reflect these values. We work to find progressive and pragmatic solutions to significant domestic and international problems and develop policy proposals that foster a government that is "of the people, by the people, and for the people."

The National Center for Urban Ethnic Affairs was founded by the late Monsignor Geno Baroni in the l960's to work with mninority and ethnic populations on issues of civil rights and poverty in the major cities of America. Dr. John Kromkowski, prefessor of politics at the Catholic University of America, is the President of NCUEA.