RAAN had the singular privilege of sitting down with Civil Rights leader and community development expert, John M. Perkins. Dr. Perkins grew up as a sharecropper’s son in rural Mississippi. He fled to California after his brother was killed by a White police officer. Following his radical conversion to Christianity he returned to Mississippi to share the Gospel and work for community uplift.
John Perkins has written numerous books, founded the Christian Community Development Association, and leads the John M. Perkins Foundation for Reconciliation and Development.
In part 1 of our interview with Dr. Perkins he talks about:
Growing up as a sharecropper on a plantation in the Jim Crow South
“My mother died of a disease that on her [death] certificate spoke of dying of malnutrition. So, my mother died of starvation.”
“If you were a big hard-working family your boss would protect you to a certain degree. Unless you did something bad, But You could do it Black folks and it didn’t matter. But if you did something to White folk it mattered.”
Economic Development in Black Communities
“I question education that doesn’t deal with the reality of oppression. The reality of injustice is economic is stewardship. How do we steward God’s earth? And utilize that earth to enhance the quality of life in our community.”
“I began to [ask questions] early on at the plantation. How was it so easy to exploit us? And I still ask that question? Why are there so many Payday Loans in our neighborhood?”
Personal and Social Gospel Transformation
“I had made it within the community and then I came to know Jesus Christ and I discovered my deepest longing. I think that’s where God meets us at. I think He meets us at our deepest longing. That’s what makes it Good News.”
“Right now I’m 82, and I’m wanting to call out and encourage this new, emerging generation that has a better, clearer vision of justice and injustice.”