In 2008 a media firestorm erupted when snippets of Reverend Jeremiah Wright Jr.'s sermons were picked up by media outlets around the world. At that time presidential candidate Barack Obama was a member of Wright's church, Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. Wright's words were frequently used to question the patriotism of Obama. The scrutiny over Obama and Wright's relationship made Trinity UCC a flashpoint in the 2008 campaign.
The Moment tells the inside story of Trinity UCC during this time of turmoil. Carl and Shelby Grant describe “the Moment” as it unfolded, from Wright's first appearances in the media to Obama's resignation from Trinity Church. They also provide helpful background information, including general history of the black church, African American immigration to Chicago, and black politics in the Windy City. In this context, the voices of Trinity UCC members come alive to show the impact of “the Moment” within and beyond the presidential election, illustrating the thorny intersections of religion, race, politics, and the media in the United States.
Carl A Grant —
Carl A. Grant is the Hoefs-Bascom Professor of Education and former chair of the Afro American Studies Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the author of numerous books and a widely regarded scholar of multicultural and social justice education. The Multicultural Research Award from the National Association of Multicultural Education is named in his honor.
Shelby J Grant —
Shelby J. Grant is a founding member of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. He is a former Chicago Public School teacher and principal. He holds an M.A in History, an M.A. in School Administration and Supervision, and an M.A. in Counseling and Guidance (with distinction) from De Paul University.
Grant, Carl A. The moment: Barack Obama, Jeremiah Wright, and the firestorm at Trinity United Church of Christ, by Carl A. Grant and Shelby J. Grant. Rowman & Littlefield, 2013. 174p index afp; ISBN 9781442219977; ISBN 9781442219991 e-book, contact publisher for price. Reviewed in 2013jul CHOICE.
At a critical juncture during the 2008 primary elections, in which then-Senator Barack Obama emerged as the front-runner for the Democratic Party, the seemingly unstoppable momentum he had generated since the Iowa caucus stalled. His former minister, the formidable Jeremiah Wright, had made a series of controversial remarks, raising questions about the minister's patriotism. Obama, the first viable African American presidential candidate, likely could have ridden out the political firestorm Wright created. Instead, Obama's handlers encouraged him to deliver a forceful address that addressed issues of race in the 21st-century US; he also used the speech to sever his relationship with Wright. Carl (education, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison) and Shelby (teacher) Grant, two churchgoers from Wright's congregation, provide many layers of historical and sociological contexts. They explore the impact of the Great Migration and the emergence of the black church and provide interviews with several charter members of Trinity United Church of Christ. Not surprisingly, they arrive at a much more nuanced understanding of Wright's role in liberation theology and Chicago's black church. The book's most powerful and enduring lesson will be to not place great reliance on any one sound bite.
Summing Up: Recommended. Undergraduates, graduates, researchers. -- B. Miller, University of Cincinnati-Clermont