God’s Prophet in Non-Violence
Local pastor writes book on Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King
Donovan M. Smith | 5/28/2014, 12:08 p.m.
Legacies can become embellished or blemished in time, an even greater reality when one remains an icon in death as he was in the physical.
The globally recognized leader Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is such an example. An advocate for justice through non-violence and unshakable Christian faith, King navigated some of the worst acts of racism in America, from the hangings of everyday black citizens to the murder and the fervent economic exploitation of black Americans.
Rev. Dr. LeRoy Haynes Jr., a Portland minister who has been on the front lines of injustice issues nearly his entire life has explored King’s life in his new book “God’s Prophet in Non-Violence.”
The pastor of Allen Temple CME Church and the chair of the Albina Ministerial Alliance’s Justice and Police Reform committee, Haynes hopes his book drives home the story of King’s own radical methodologies to refresh or enlighten readers in a society still dealing with systematic racism.
Haynes explores how King’s message of non-violence and Christian faith was applied and how his methods are applicable today in an era where overtly racist laws are no longer on the books, but the symptoms of oppression against people of color largely continue.
At 78-pages, the brevity of “God’s Prophet” lends itself to an easily digestible read, one that manages to recount some misconceptions about the late King, while also paralleling some of the leader’s philosophy with the author’s own life.
Haynes, 64, was born in Dallas, Texas. Like King, his own activism extends back to the Jim Crow discrimination laws of the South; and for him, the Ku Klux Klan was not just horror tales from the past, but realities he remembers today.
As early as 13-years-of-age, Haynes was participating in demonstrations for civil rights, including organized sit-ins with his family and getting arrested for civil disobedience. His early years would set him on a path of resistance against white supremacy and fighting black oppression that would see him explore militant and non-violent tactics.
Haynes managed to get accepted into the University of North Texas as a student in the 1960s. While there, he’d join with an organization on campus called the Student Nonviolence Coordinating Committee (SNCC).
At the time, the group was under the leadership of Stokely Carmichael who would later go on to found the All African People’s Revolutionary Party. Carmichael changed his name about a decade before his passing in 1991 to Kwame Toure and is credited with coining the phrase“Black Power.”
The SNCC would merge with the local chapter of the Black Panther Party, an ever-growing national movement that also called for the liberation of black Americans through organizing, but was not hesitant to meet violence with violence when it came to the terrorism directed towards blacks, either by authorities, racist hate groups or others.
At the time, the growing Dallas chapter was being mentored by another famed Black Panther, a former political prisoner and godfather to Hip Hop, 2pac,: Geronimo Pratt.
Haynes says the Black Panther Party, founded by Oakland natives Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale in 1966, also represented a new idea of militancy that was beginning to emerge in the nation at the time, especially among the marginalized.