In Honor of Alonzo Twine: My First Piece for the Good Men Project
Just in time for the 100th anniversary of the death of Alonzo Twine this Sunday, October 26, 2014, my first piece for a great site called the Good Men Project went up this afternoon. The essay reexamines the life of this forgotten African American intellectual and first person in South Carolina to embrace the Baha'i Faith, who was ruled insane because of his conversion and sent to die in the State Hospital. It is the story of a young black man whose high aspirations and educational and professional attainments could not protect him from a society that systematically devalued the lives of black people. And it draws a line from Twine's death a century ago to today, when despite the dramatic changes brought about by the civil rights revolution, too many Americans are still unwilling or unable to see the beauty and inherent worth of their fellow-citizens of African descent.
Please read the essay and feel free to comment and share as widely as possible. I hope it will be a contribution, however small, to the current discourse on race and justice in the United States, and thereby a worthy tribute to a man who gave his life for the Baha'i Faith and the promise of a new kind of nation a century ago.
For further reading on Alonzo Twine, see chapter one of my forthcoming book, No Jim Crow Church: The Origins of South Carolina's Baha'i Community.