Just Mercy

If I were to add something to our silabus I would add a book or short story that is from the 2000s to show what Black religious texts are nowadays. One of my favorite books that might fit into this category is called Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. Bryan Stevenson is a Black graduate of Harvard Law who defends people who have been treated unfairly by the justice system. The book mainly focuses on his work defending Walter McMillan, who was arrested for the murder of a white women, something that he clearly did not do when looking at all the evidence, but was nonetheless convicted and sentenced to death. It shows the long, painful process of dealing with the racist justice system in the South as a Black lawyer with a Black defendant, even in the 21st century. Although not specifically about religion, the book has a lot of Biblical undertones of forgiveness and does talk about the faith in God that is continued even when it seems like these people on death row for crimes they have not committed have been dealt the worst hand.

The film for Just Mercy just came out last year, starting Michael B Jordan and Jamie Fox could also be used as a visual text for the class. The film has a powerful scene of the inmates on death row singing hymns. I think that having a visual or written text like this book would add to the understanding of the role of racism and religion today. The book is extremely powerful and very well written, making complicated legal terms easy to understand. I think that everyone should read the book, so reading it in class would be beneficial to all. 

Michael B. Jordan and Bryan Stevenson attend Montgomery premiere of Just  Mercy

Here is a picture of Bryan Stevenson and actor Michael B Jordan, who plays Bryan Stevenson in the film version of his book Just Mercy.

Leave a Reply