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VIRTUAL EVENT: Book Talk: Black Samson: The Untold Story of an American Icon

Thursday, October 22, 2020 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm
Registration is requested
Free and open to the public

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Virtual Event: Black Samson: The Untold Story of an American Icon

with Nyasha Junior and Jeremy Schipper, moderated by David Waters

Before Harriet Tubman or Martin Luther King was identified with Moses, African Americans identified those who challenged racial oppression in America with Samson. In Black Samson: The Untold Story of an American Icon, Nyasha Junior and Jeremy Schipper tell the story of how this biblical character became an icon of African American literature. Along the way, Schipper and Junior introduce readers to a cast of historical characters -- many of whom became American icons themselves -- including Fredrick Douglass, Ida B. Wells, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, Malcolm X, Huey P. Newton and others.

From stories of slave rebellions to the Harlem Renaissance to the civil rights era and the Black Power movement, invoking the biblical character of Samson became a powerful way for African American intellectuals, activists, and artists to voice strategies and opinions about race relations in America. As this provocative book reveals, the story of Black Samson became the story of our nation's contested racial history.

Dr. Nyasha Junior is an associate professor in the Department of Religion at Temple University in Philadelphia. For the 2020-21 academic year, she is a visiting associate professor of Women’s Studies and African-American Religions at Harvard Divinity School. Dr. Junior holds a Ph.D. in Old Testament from Princeton Theological Seminary. Her research and teaching focus on the intersections of religion, race, and gender. Dr. Junior’s public scholarship has appeared in The Washington Post, Buzzfeed, Religion and Politics, and other media outlets. She is a member of the Society of Biblical LiteratureHer current research project is on evangelist Jarena Lee.
Dr. Jeremy Schipper is a professor in the Department of Religion at Temple University in Philadelphia. His research focuses on the Hebrew Bible. He was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship for his current research project, Denmark Vesey's Bible (Princeton University Press, forthcoming). He has published in a number of leading journals, including Journal of Biblical Literature, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, Catholic Biblical Quarterly, and Vetus Testamentum among others. 

David Waters is Minister for Education and Membership at King’s Chapel in Boston. A former Chief Navy Counselor, he holds degrees from Parkland College, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, and Harvard Divinity School. As a Swartz Scholar at HDS, he combined his interests in religion, literature, and culture with an exploration of scholarship and teaching as ministry, and reading and writing as spiritual practice. His work examined a series of interconnected short stories by Virginia Woolf, asking how these stories—and the method of their composition—work to shape us religiously, spiritually, and ethically. When not reading, writing, preaching, David enjoys good eating, distance running, and hearty laughter. He is enormously grateful for the King’s Chapel community and for the opportunity to be in their midst as one who serves.

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