The Cross and the Lynching Tree
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Winner of the 2018 Grawemeyer Award in Religion
"One of the Top 11 Religion Books of the Year," The Huffington Post
First Place Winner in Theology, Catholic Press Association
Gold Medal Winner, Independent Book Publishers Book Awards
The cross and the lynching tree are the two most emotionally charged symbols in the history of the African American community. In this powerful new work, theologian James H. Cone explores these symbols and their interconnection in the history and souls of black folk.
Both the cross and the lynching tree represent the worst in human beings and at the same time a thirst for life that refuses to let the worst determine our final meaning. For African Americans, the image of Jesus, hung on a tree to die, powerfully grounded their faith that God was with them, even in the suffering of the lynching era.
In a work that spans social history, theology, and cultural studies, Cone explores the witness of black artists, writers, preachers, and fighters for justice, including Emmet Till, Martin Luther King Jr, Langston Hughes and Billie Holliday.
"Based on impressive research, Cone argues that the lynching tree is a viable reality/symbol for reflection on the cross of Christ. According to Cone, understandings of the cross and lynching tree can mutually inform one another and explain how events of trauma and injustice can still inspire hope for the African American community.” -- Christianity Today
"Once again James Cone demonstrates why he is indispensable as an interpreter of faith, race, and the American experience." —Bill Moyers
"James Cone is a world-historical figure in twentieth- century Christian theology. The Cross and the Lynching Tree is a powerful and painful song for hope in our dance with mortality—a song Cone courageously has led for over forty years!"—Cornel West