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Martha Simmons and Frank A. Thomas

9.11.01: African American Leaders Respond to an American Tragedy

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"In times of terror, the African American pulpit has spoken with its clearest voice," writes Martha Simmons, co-editor (with Frank A. Thomas) of 9.11.01: African American Leaders Respond to an American Tragedy. Say "amen," somebody. This collection is everything that most other books on September 11 have tried to be but failed: cogent, piercing, inspirational, gritty. It includes sermons and essays by Gardner Taylor, T.D. Jakes, Delores Carpenter, Jesse Jackson and Calvin Butts III, among others. One essay in particular deserves mention: Peter Gomes's "Outer Turmoil, Inner Strength," delivered at Harvard University on September 23, may go down in history as one of the most eloquent, sensitive Christian responses to the attacks.