An Ongoing Dilemma

By Lindse` M. Owens, (GCTS MACO 2020)



A typical Wednesday night of a Seminarian could very well involve church bible study, late night research papers, catching up on reading assignments or just simply spending time with family. A group of more than 50 individuals students & non-students gathered October 18, 2017, 6:30pm at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary to view a documentary entitled I Am Not Your Negro. The Institute for The Study of The Black Christian Experience (ISBCE) along with the Black Student Association, Hispanic Student Association and The African Student Association sponsored Dinner & Discussion on the Hamilton Campus to give attendees an opportunity to engage in conversation on the documentary’s content as it relates to contemporary issues of race, class, and gender in an increasingly divided country.

I Am Not Your Negro is a documentary directed by Raoul Pec based on James Baldwin’s incomplete and unpublished 1979 work, Remember This House which was to be a personal account of the lives and assignations of three of his very close friends: Medgar Evers, Malcom X and Martin Luther King, Jr. Baldwin only completed 30 pages of his manuscript before his death in 1987. Peck, continued Baldwin’s work in this documentary.

During the post-viewing discussion there were a few moments of awkward silence, faint emotions of pain, and a number of interesting comments about the disadvantages of color in our nation.

The documentary captured America’s ongoing racial dilemma, both of the past and even into the present day with personal experiences and even a few reminders through graphic videos and photos.

Attendees also discussed and questioned, more importantly, how we, as followers of Christ, speak with a voice that not only articulates the challenges but will inspire change in our increasingly divided nation?


Leading the discussion was Dr. Emmett G. Price III, Professor of Worship, Church & Culture, Dean of the Chapel, and Founding Executive Director of the Institute for the Study the Black Christian Experience (ISBCE) at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.

Dr. Price provided an intimate, safe and healthy space that allowed students to speak openly and honestly about their thoughts and personal experiences regarding the topic.

This was an important conversation with action steps about race, class and gender with a focus on how the church, institutions, organizations and people can lead moving forward. Much work is still ahead, but a small step has been taken.