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So glad to see Keeping Hope Alive being featured by Orbis Books in their January Newsletter.

I hope you can all get a copy of my new edited for yourself, school and church library. it is an important living legacy document for many generations to read. 


Dear Friend,

“My dear loved ones, the hour draws ever nearer when I shall give my soul back to God.” So wrote Franz Jägerstätter, an Austrian farmer, as he awaited execution for his refusal to take an oath to Adolf Hitler. The story of this recently beatified saint is the subject of “A Hidden Life,” the acclaimed new film by Terrence Malick, which is based on our own Franz Jägerstätter: Letters and Writings from Prison, edited by Erna Putz, and translated into English by Robert Krieg.

Many reviews have noted the timeliness of this story of a man who followed his conscience at a time when lies and hatred were the currency of the land, and who willingly paid the ultimate price for his faithfulness. See the film, then read the book!

The troubling rise of anti-Semitism has made another new book unfortunately timely. Jesus Was Not Killed by the Jews: Reflections for Christians in Lent is edited by Jon M. Sweeney, with contributions by a range of Jewish and Christian clergy and scholars and others with long-time engagement in Jewish-Christian dialogue. They include Walter Brueggemann, Massimo Faggioli, Bishop Richard J. Sklba, Rabbi Abraham Skorka, and Amy-Jill Levine. (Exercising my editor’s prerogative, I even included my own reflections.) Together they untie many of the historical, theological, and exegetical knots that underlie age-old Christian misunderstandings and scapegoating of Jews and Judaism. They also present practical, pastoral, and spiritual practices to help Christians move beyond a toxic history.

Keeping Hope Alive: Sermons and Speeches of Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr. (edited by Grace Ji-Sun Kim, with an afterword by Eddie S. Glaube, Jr.) is a wonderful reflection of a life spent uplifting the marginalized and calling the powerful to account. Rev. Jackson is a living icon of the struggle for civil rights, peace, and the promise of true democracy, and the speeches include his historic orations at the Democratic Party Conventions of 1984 and 1988. But they also include talks around the world, from South Africa and New Delhi, to Chicago and Washington, DC—sometimes challenging, sometimes consoling, but always giving hope. “We’ve come a long way since slavery times,” he writes in a moving conclusion, “but we’re not finished yet. Running for freedom is a long-distance race.”

Finally, we are happy to be releasing the paperback edition of the late James H. Cone’s memoir, Said I Wasn’t Gonna Tell Nobody. Dr. Cone, the “father” of Black liberation theology, died in 2018. In this powerful book, which J. Kameron Carter calls “his master work, his last and first, his final song,” Cone recounts the story of how his theology emerged from his own life struggles, from the tumultuous upheavals of the 1960s, and from the quest to understand Christ’s liberating message in relation to African American suffering and the struggle against white supremacy. His work, and his struggle, continue.


Robert Ellsberg

Orbis Author of the Month: Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.

The Reverend Jesse Louis Jackson, Sr., founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, is one of America’s foremost civil rights, religious and political figures. Over the past forty years, he has played a pivotal role in virtually every movement for empowerment, peace, civil rights, gender equality, and economic and social justice. On August 9, 2000, President Bill Clinton awarded Reverend Jackson the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

Born on October 8, 1941 in Greenville, South Carolina, Jesse Jackson graduated from the public schools in Greenville and then enrolled in the University of Illinois on a football scholarship. He later transferred to North Carolina A&T State University and graduated in 1964. He began his theological studies at Chicago Theological Seminary but deferred his studies when he began working full-time in the Civil Rights Movement with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was ordained on June 30, 1968 by Rev. Clay Evans and received his earned Master of Divinity degree from Chicago Theological Seminary in 2000.

For his work in human and civil rights and nonviolent social change, Reverend Jackson has received more than 40 honorary doctorate degrees and has lectured frequently at major colleges and universities including Howard, Yale, Princeton, Morehouse, Harvard, Columbia, Stanford and Hampton. Reverend Jackson has also received numerous honors for his work in human and civil rights and nonviolent social change. In 1991, the U.S. Post Office put his likeness on a pictorial postal cancellation, only the second living person to receive such an honor. He has received the prestigious NAACP Spingarn Award in addition to honors from hundreds of grassroots, civic and community organizations from coast to coast.

Reverend Jackson married his college sweetheart Jacqueline Lavinia Brown in 1963. They have five children: Santita Jackson, Jesse L. Jackson, Jr., Jonathan Luther Jackson, Yusef DuBois Jackson, Esq., and Jacqueline Lavinia Jackson, Jr.