By Greg Elliott
Published: February 25, 2015

Dr. Vanessa Northington Gamble began her research on Dr. Virginia M. Alexander (1899-1949) because she is an unsung hero in the field of medicine. Dr. Alexander founded the Aspiranto Health Home in her own house in North Philadelphia, where she operated an integrated, socialized medical practice that provided much needed medical care to the black community; she did important research on the “social, economic, and health problems of North Philadelphia” with startling results; she worked on the Race Relations Committee of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting to integrate...

By Bayard Rustin
Published: February 19, 2015

The following letter was written by Bayard Rustin in 1943. AFSC is fortunate to have a copy in its archives, which you can find on our website. “Letter to His Draft Board” was republished in the book Black Fire (Quaker Press of Friends General Conference) in 2011, and last year, Quaker Press published a children’s book about Bayard Rustin entitled,...

By Lori Fernald Khamala
Published: February 12, 2015

A gunman who had posted anti-religious messages on Facebook and quarreled with neighbors was charged with killing three young Muslims in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, on Wednesday, February 11, 2015.

The victims were newlyweds Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, a University of North Carolina dental student, and his wife Yusor Mohammad, 21, and Yusor's sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19.

 All were involved in humanitarian aid programs. Barakat, an American citizen of Syrian origin, wrote in his last Facebook post about providing free dental supplies...

By Barrington Dunbar
Published: February 11, 2015

Note: For Black History Month, we will be honoring some of the many Black Quakers who have contributed to the world of Friends and beyond. Barrington Dunbar (1901-1978), like many others, challenged white Friends to take a more active approach in addressing racism and white supremacy. He asked Friends to show their support for the Black Power Movement even though its violent rhetoric often felt alienating to pacifist Friends. Although we cannot know what Friend Barrington would have to say about current events, it is easy to imagine him challenging white Friends to support the Black...

By Brant Rosen
Published: February 5, 2015

In my previous post, I explored the ways that Quakers and Jews have been historically connected and proposed a deeper spiritual connection between our respective faith traditions. As a rabbi who now works for AFSC, I can say without hesitation that my spiritual life has greatly benefitted from my encounter with Quaker thought and practice. The more I dwell in these two religious communities, the more I am able to discern important parallels between them.

I’ve found particularly fertile ground in my...