Quakers extend Discussions on Race series


Emboldened by the success of its recent series of Discussions on Race, Third Haven Friends Meeting has added a fifth discussion to the series.

At 6 p.m. Friday, April 13, the community is invited to join the Quakers for a complimentary supper of soup, bread, fruit and nonalcoholic beverages in the Third Haven common room (parish hall), at 405 South Washington Street.

At 6:30, those in attendance will see Against All Odds: The Fight for a Black Middle Class. This documentary is written, directed and narrated by journalist Bob Herbert, an accomplished reporter who has worked at the New York Daily News, NBC and the New York Times. It examines the extraordinary difficulty African-Americans have faced in their efforts to establish and maintain a middle class standard of living. Nearly 40 percent of all black children are poor. And the black middle class remains proportionally much smaller and far less healthy than the white middle class. With a compelling narrative, dramatic historical footage and a series of deeply personal interviews, Bob Herbert shows why this is still the case a half century after the heyday of the civil rights movement, and more than a century and a half since the 13th Amendment abolished slavery.

Against All Odds traces the history of blacks in America, going back to slavery, Reconstruction, Jim Crow and the Great Migration of 6 million people to northern cities during and after the Second World War in search of a promised land. Among those he interviewed are Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings, the son and grandson of sharecroppers.
Herbert documents the obstacles that have held blacks back ever since emancipation: landowners who cheated their sharecroppers, company stores that kept them in debt, mass incarceration, segregation, discrimination, ghettoes, redlining, violence (including lynchings), inferior schools and chronic relegation to low-wage jobs.

“Against a backdrop of crime, poverty, violence and disastrous relations with law enforcement,” Herbert asks, “where does the middle class fit into this picture?”

Originally released just six months ago, Against All Odds is a hit with users of the Internet Movie Database (imdb.com). Out of a possible 10 points, they gave it a rating of 9.1.

Attendance will be limited, as in the past, to 50 people. So if you plan to show up, do yourself a favor and sign up. To register or for more information, contact Pete Howell at piratepete@goeaston.net or 410-924-5752.

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