Professor David Evans, speaking in 2017 during Eastern Mennonite Seminary's School for Leadership Training, will present a colloquium this month on his recent research. January 20 at 4:15 p.m. Titled "Damned Whiteness! White Christian Race Relations in the Black Freedom Era," the lecture will be publicly live streamed on EMU's Facebook page. (EMU file photo)

Seminary professor to give colloquium on race relations activism

Professor David Evans, who is director of cross-cultural programs and teaches history and intercultural studies at Eastern Mennonite Seminary, will present a virtual colloquium on January 20 at 4:15 p.m. His talk is titled “Damned Whiteness! White Christian Race Relations in the Black Freedom Era,” and will be publicly live streamed on EMU’s Facebook page. 

“Organizers of Black freedom movements criticized racial segregation for incentivizing anti-Black violence and institutionalizing inequality,” Evans explained. “White Christian pacifists also opposed segregation, but they viewed it as an affront to their vision for a colorblind society. These pacifists focused on forming fellowship with Black people rather than laboring for freedom with Black people, thereby neglecting the difficult work of dismantling anti-Black policies and disarming white power.”

The presentation will examine “how white antiracism efforts are impaired when white Christians fail to align with Black leadership by analyzing the race relations activism of Dorothy Day, Clarence Jordan, and Ralph Templin in the context of the Black freedom movement,” Evans said.

Evans’s research interests engage the braided realities of racial, religious, and national identities. His current project investigates the practices of white Christian agrarian pacifist resistance to Jim Crowism in the context of Black freedom activism.

He is the co-editor, with EMU professor Peter Dula, of Between the World of Ta-Nehisi Coates and Christianity (Cascade, 2018).  

Evans holds a master’s degree from Wesley Theological Seminary, in the history of Christianity, a second master’s from Drew University in historical studies, and a doctorate degree in historical studies from Drew University Graduate Division of Religion. In concert with his teaching and scholarship, Evans practices a local “eco-lutionary” lifestyle that promotes a sustainable future for the diverse people of the Shenandoah Valley Watershed.