From Prison to PhD

Image result for michelle jones harvard

https://d1n0c1ufntxbvh.cloudfront.net/photo/c91deb14/25887/740x/ found at https://www.themarshallproject.org/2017/09/13/from-prison-to-ph-d-the-redemption-and-rejection-of-michelle-jones

From Prison to PhD.: The Redemption and Rejection of Michelle Jones

By ELI HAGER SEPT. 13, 2017

Michelle Jones was released last month after serving more than two decades in an Indiana prison for the murder of her 4-year-old son. The very next day, she arrived at New York University, a promising Ph.D. student in American studies. In a breathtaking feat of rehabilitation, Ms. Jones, now 45, became a published scholar of American history while behind bars, and presented her work by videoconference to historians’ conclaves and the Indiana General Assembly. With no internet access and a prison library that hewed toward romance novels, she led a team of inmates that pored through reams of photocopied documents from the
Indiana State Archives to produce the Indiana Historical Society’s best research project last year. As prisoner No. 970554, Ms. Jones also wrote several dance compositions and historical plays, one of which is slated to open at an Indianapolis theater in December.

N.Y.U. was one of several top schools that recruited her for their doctoral
programs. She was also among 18 selected from more than 300 applicants to Harvard University’s history program. But in a rare override of a department’s authority to choose its graduate students, Harvard’s top brass overturned Ms. Jones’s admission after some professors raised concerns that she played down her crime in the application process.

Elizabeth Hinton, one of the Harvard historians who backed Ms. Jones, called her “one of the strongest candidates in the country last year, period.” The case “throws into relief,” she added, the question of “how much do we really believe in the possibility of human redemption?

Read the entire article here.

A Prison Sentence Ends. But the Stigma Doesn’t.

OP-Ed By JAMES FORMAN Jr. SEPT. 15, 2017

Michelle Jones served 20 years in prison for a heinous crime: murdering her 4-year old son. During her two decades behind bars, Ms. Jones compiled a record of accomplishment that would be remarkable even for someone who had never been locked up. She published a scholarly article on the first prisons for women in the United States. She wrote a play that will open in December in an Indianapolis theater. She led a team of incarcerated women whose efforts won the Indiana Historical Society’s prize for best research project for 2016. Not best research project
by prisoners. Best project. Period.

All of this helped Ms. Jones gain admission to N.Y.U.’s doctoral program in
American studies, where she started last week. But Ms. Jones’s stunning record wasn’t good enough for top administrators at Harvard University, as this paper reported on Thursday. In a rare move, they overturned the history department’s admission recommendation and rejected Ms. Jones.

Read the entire op-ed here.

Restoring the Social Justice Identity of the Black Church

Restoring the Social Justice Identity of the Black Church

By Robert S. Harvey 

“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

In the days of past, the clarion call and mission of the black church was two-fold: it served as a beacon of hope for the lost-soul seeking grace and mercy, but it also functioned as an oasis for all issues affecting the community. The black church served as a voice in the wilderness, crying out that equality and justice belonged to all persons, despite race, social status, or lived experience. The church operated as a twenty-four hour, full-service institution, affecting change spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, and socially.

Therefore, the question becomes, what can the black church do to restore its identity as a city of refuge and a beacon of hope? Above all else, the black church must return to its first love, the social, compassionate, and liberating gospel of Jesus the Christ. The black church must stand on the teachings of Jesus despite the pressure and magnetism of contemporary societal fads to mitigate the work of the cross for the influx of capital expansion.

The black church must focus on living the commission of compassion, while also continuing to preach a message of freedom, justice, equality, and hope for all persons from all walks of life. It cannot become so entangled with a message of riches that it overlooks the crucial issues of daily life— deteriorating , unaffordable housing, rising unemployment, marginal healthcare, and several others.

Read the entire editorial HERE.