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Find Out More, Session 11: Privilege Is A Blessing We Give Away To Be In Community

In "Windows and Mirrors," a Tapestry of Faith program

Juliette Hampton Morgan

Juliette Morgan's public support of desegregation cost not only her social status and family relationships, but also her livelihood. These losses are probably why she took her own life. When the mayor of Montgomery, Alabama failed to convince the city library management to fire Morgan, in July, 1957 he cut the funds that paid for her position. Morgan resigned from her job. The next day, she killed herself by an overdose of pills. She left a note which said, "I am not going to cause any more trouble to anybody."

Examining Privilege and How to Give It Away

Privilege, Power, and Difference ( New York : McGraw-Hill 2001), by Allan G. Johnson, is a short book which, according to a review on the Amazon website, offers "an easily applied theoretical model for thinking about systems of privilege and difference. Writing in accessible, conversational prose, Johnson joins theory with engaging examples in ways that enable students to see the nature and consequences of privilege and their connection to it." Reviewers posting on the Amazon website recommend the book for its presentation of the systemic nature of privilege, particularly in relation to race, gender and affectional orientation.

In her memoir, Unafraid of the Dark (New York: Anchor, 1999), the Rev. Rosemary Bray McNatt tells of her childhood and illuminates how privilege works in our society. Rev. McNatt is an African American Unitarian Universalist minister who grew up in Chicago in the 1960s. Her mother used Aid to Families with Dependent Children to help the family survive. Rosemary was sent to a Catholic school, where nuns observed her potential and directed her into a liberal high school. Rev. McNatt went on to Yale, became editor of the New York Times Book Review and earned an M.Div. from Drew Theological School . She now serves the Fourth Universalist Society in New York City as minister.

Linda Stout is a white lesbian who identifies herself as having grown up in a low-income, working-class family. In Bridging the Class Divide and Other L essons for Grassroots Organizing, (Boston: Beacon Press: 1996), she provides guidance on language, organizational models, decision making, strategic planning, marketing and fundraising from the perspective of a working-class activist who frequently finds herself working with middle-class people who want to organize low-income and working-class people. Stout is a founder of the anti-racist Piedmont Peace Project, 704-938-5090.

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Last updated on Thursday, October 27, 2011.

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