Civil rights leader Ruby Sales will visit Charlottesville at the end of November to participate in a public conversation on social justice and spirituality hosted by Virginia Foundation for the Humanities (VFH).
The event, “Every One of Us: A Conversation with Ruby Sales on Race, Spirituality, and Public Life,” will take place on Wednesday, November 29, from 6:00-7:30 PM at the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center at 233 4th St. NW in Charlottesville.
This conversation between Sales and Charles Marsh, professor of religious studies and director of the Project on Lived Theology at the University of Virginia, will engage Charlottesville community members on critical issues of race, spirituality, and public life. Justin Reid, director of African American Programs at VFH, will serve as moderator. This free, community event has been made possible by funding from the Office of the Executive Vice President & Provost at the University of Virginia.
Ruby Sales is a nationally recognized civil rights leader and public theologian who brings the wealth of African American spiritual traditions to her theological innovation and social activism. As a teenager in 1965, she participated in the Selma to Montgomery marches led by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Later that year, activist Jonathan Daniels, a white seminarian and recent VMI graduate, died while shielding Sales from gunfire. As founder and executive director of the Georgia-based SpiritHouse Project, Sales builds authentic communities to advocate for racial, economic, and social justice. Her contributions as a freedom fighter are featured in the Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture. While in Charlottesville, Sales will also meet with local community leaders and lead a master class for UVA undergraduates.
In a statement about the program’s selection by the Office of the Executive Vice President & Provost, vice president for academic affairs Archie Holmes said, “We sought creative programming, in partnership with the Charlottesville area community, that uproots the conscious and unconscious biases and misbeliefs that lead to racial tension. VFH’s event featuring Ruby Sales will do this in a unique and challenging way.”
Charles Marsh will speak from direct experience as a Christian raised in the heart of the segregated South. He is a leading thinker on the relationship between politics and religious life and the author of several books on the civil rights movement and Christian theology, including his most recent Strange Glory: A Life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Moderator Justin Reid directs African American Programs at VFH, where he advances a complex and nuanced telling of African American history through the development of educational resources, including a database of historic sites.
Matthew Gibson, VFH executive director, described the event as “an opportunity to reflect on the legacy of social, political, and religious movements in the South, as we work towards a more inclusive and just society through deepened understanding of the human experience. Ruby Sales embodies the weaving together of humanistic thought and civic engagement that VFH seeks to inspire.”
Registration for this free event is encouraged but not required.
For more information and to register, visit: VirginiaHumanities.org/events/ruby-sales/
In addition to a grant from the Office of the Executive Vice President & Provost at the University of Virginia, support for this free event has been provided by the Black Student Alliance at UVA, the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies at UVA, the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, the Office of the Vice President and Chief Officer for Diversity and Equity at UVA, and the Project on Lived Theology at UVA.
In early 2018, VFH will host “upstander” training led by the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities for students to learn about addressing racial biases, also funded by the Office of the Executive Vice President & Provost at UVA.