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Byron Williams
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Rev. Byron Williams is one of the leading public theologians in the nation. He is a columnist, author, and the former pastor of the Resurrection Community Church in Berkeley, CA.

He is now President and CEO of the Kairos Moment a progressive theological think-tank in Winston-Salem NC.

He is the author of the bestselling 1963: The Year of Hope and Hostility, which won the 2014 International Book Award for US History. His previous book, Strip Mall Patriotism: Moral Reflections on the Iraq War, is a series of essays covering a four-year span in what is arguably America’s worst foreign-policy decision.

In 2010 and 2011, Williams' work was nationally recognized by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), which nominated him for “Columnist of the Year.”

Williams has spoken across the country and appeared on numerous television and radio news programs, including CNN, MSNBC, ABC Radio, Fox News, and National Public Radio.

Entries by Byron Williams

Why Are Selma's Perceived Oscar Snubs an Issue?

(3) Comments | Posted January 20, 2015 | 5:31 PM

The so-called "Big 5" Academy Awards consist of:

• Best Picture
• Actor in a Leading Role
• Actress in a Leading Role
• Directing
• Writing (either Original Screenplay or Adapted Screenplay)

The failure of the movie Selma to garner 4 of the 5...

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Claiming Islam Does Not Make it So

(15) Comments | Posted January 15, 2015 | 10:46 AM

Last year, Frank Ancona, the Ku Klux Klan's Imperial Wizard, told NBC 12 in Virginia, "We don't hate people because of their race. I mean, we're a Christian organization."

What may appear to many as absurdity run amok, Ancona's statement raises the question: What constitutes a "Christian organization"?

Does one...

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Death of a King Could be the Rebirth of the King Narrative

(2) Comments | Posted January 7, 2015 | 2:20 PM

The third Monday in January is when America commemorates the King holiday. It is a strange phenomenon, uniquely American in that we honor heroes in a manner that causes the least amount of discomfort.

Though counterintuitive, it is to bemoan Hollywood for historical inaccuracies, but opt for the Hollywood...

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The True Hero of Selma

(3) Comments | Posted December 31, 2014 | 9:13 AM

How should we judge former President Lyndon Johnson based on the newly released and widely acclaimed movie Selma? Was he a reluctant, foot-dragging politician, or one of its heroes?

Some close to the Johnson legacy feel the movie that depicts the bloody civil rights campaign in Selma, Alabama that led...

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Joe Cocker Spoke Directly to My Soul

(1) Comments | Posted December 24, 2014 | 9:21 AM

The first time I saw Joe Cocker live, it was one of the most memorable experiences in my musical inventory. When he sang the Beatles,' "With a Little Help from my Friends," it marked the emotional crescendo in what became a symbiotic relationship between audience and performer.

With everyone...

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When Racism Intersects With Absurdity

(10) Comments | Posted December 18, 2014 | 11:02 AM

Racism is one of those unique words in our lexicon that embodies a slippery slope of understanding, belying a comprehensive definition.

One says it, what do they mean? Another hears it, what did they hear? As a result, charges of racism can sometimes intersect with absurdity.

If reports...

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Leaderless Movements Are Impossible to Maintain

(3) Comments | Posted December 11, 2014 | 10:00 AM

Question: What were the historical contributions of E.D. Nixon, Joseph McNeil, James Farmer, William Anderson, and Fred Shuttlesworth?

Answer: They were among the leaders who organized civil right movements in Montgomery (1955), Greensboro (1960), Freedom Rides (1961), Albany (1962), and Birmingham (1963) respectively.

It is no accident that the...

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Even When Amicable, Divorce Is Still Difficult

(1) Comments | Posted December 3, 2014 | 3:33 PM

Divorce is difficult, regardless of the reason. It is especially hard when one still has an intense love and devotion for the other, which happens to be the case for me.

I don't take divorce lightly; the vows that I took represent a commitment that transcends the contract that...

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Ferguson's Grand Jury Decision Could Produce the Seeds of Change

(0) Comments | Posted November 26, 2014 | 11:35 AM

"To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time" -- James Baldwin

Invariably, the aforementioned quote is resurrected during moments of crisis such as Ferguson, Missouri, to demonstrate that little has changed in America. Fertilized by frustration,...

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Something Has Indeed Happened in the Motorcade Route

(34) Comments | Posted November 22, 2014 | 9:59 AM

Friday November 22, 1963 Sam Pate, a reporter for KBOX Radio, Pate was on the Stemmons Freeway in a mobile news cruiser covering President Kennedy's trip to Dallas. Here is his now famous coverage of that fateful day:

The president's car is now turning onto Elm Street and would only...
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A Misreading of Lombardi

(0) Comments | Posted November 19, 2014 | 12:01 PM

There is a famous quote widely attributed to former Green Bay Packer football coach, Vince Lombardi: "Winning isn't everything; it's the only thing."

When asked about the statement years later, Lombardi took a more nuanced approach, "Winning isn't everything. The will to win is the only thing."

Lombardi saw...

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What Does It Say That Two-Thirds of Americans Did Not Vote in the Recent Midterm Elections?

(0) Comments | Posted November 11, 2014 | 11:52 AM

At his post-midterm election press conference, President Barack Obama noted that two-thirds of the electorate did not vote.

How could it be in a democratic republic that 66 percent of the people trusted 33 percent to stand proxy for their interest? Can we cavalierly blame voter suppression tactics for...

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Democrats Have No One to Blame But Themselves

(56) Comments | Posted November 5, 2014 | 2:42 PM

After the midterm election results, if you were Republican it was a good night. Some undoubtedly awoke with a headache from the endless flow of Champagne and gleeful celebration -- the thrill of victory.

If, however, you were a Democrat, the night obviously did not fare as well. Like...

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Difficult to Ignore That the Overarching Issue in Civil War Was Slavery

(38) Comments | Posted October 27, 2014 | 7:44 PM

National Public Radio has been featuring a series titled "The Race Card Project." It is an examination of the peculiar phenomenon that maintains an arrested development within the nation's soul.

Recently, host Michele Norris was in Virginia speaking with those who proudly uphold their allegiance to the legacy of the...

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Posner's Dissent Cast Shadow on the GOP's Future

(0) Comments | Posted October 15, 2014 | 5:30 PM

When future legal scholars look back on the significant moments of 21st-century jurisprudence, they may well see fit to include Judge Richard Posner's recent dissent on Wisconsin's voter identification law as worthy of inclusion.

Like Justice John Harlan's famous dissent in the infamous Plessy v. Ferguson decision, Posner's dissent...

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Economic Numbers Are Always Supported by How We Feel

(0) Comments | Posted October 14, 2014 | 1:27 PM

How is the economic record of President Barack Obama since taking office? In our contemporary "shirts versus skins" political approach, I suspect the answer depends largely on how one examines the numbers.

When the president took office unemployment was at 7.8 percent; in the third quarter of 2014 it...

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Change Is a Comin!

(0) Comments | Posted October 2, 2014 | 12:46 PM

This has been one of those monumental weeks in life. I reached the midpoint as a quinquagenarian.

No longer can I rationalize 50 as the new 40, ignore the endless series of unwanted solicitations from AARP, or pretend that athletically there is no difference between me now...

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Democracy Is Not Always a Benefit to Those on the Economic Margin

(0) Comments | Posted September 25, 2014 | 12:52 PM

Since the Cold War, America has, and rightfully so, advertised the superiority of democracy. But what exactly does that mean?

Is it simply a matter of voting? Is democracy one of those things difficult to define, we just know it when we see it?

Nowhere is "democracy" mentioned in...

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NFL Arrogance Has Temporarily Made Rice a Standard-Bearer Against Injustice

(0) Comments | Posted September 17, 2014 | 6:28 PM

It has been a bad few weeks for the National Football League. The global sports leviathan, whose dominance is unquestioned, has suffered from the type of missteps usually brought on by acute arrogance.

It is arrogance rooted in a linear focus for success that can render one blind to...

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The NFL's Implausible Deniability

(0) Comments | Posted September 9, 2014 | 4:35 PM

Winston Churchill once observed, "You can always count on America to do the right thing -- after they've tried everything else."

Churchill's backhanded compliment seems equally applicable to the National Football League in its handling of Ray Rice.

In what may be the biggest public relation blunder since then...

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