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The Canonization of Emmett Till

You led a life of heroic virtue never renouncing the covenant of your skin even under torture or water. In Mississippi, apart from the natural order, they filled you with gashes and holes— you wore a Pentateuch of wounds. Tears across the country cleft valleys, melted rocks that were to last for ages. You will be remembered as a national saint; thousands visit your coffin enshrined at America’s mausoleum. You share a feast day with St. Moses the Ethiopian the patron saint... Read More

My Body for You: Meditations on Sacrifice as a Theme in Contemporary Art

(Click on the image to open Bruce Herman’s art exhibit in a resizable browser.)   Sacrifice is a dirty word. It is smeared with the blood of a thousand brutal religions and the ritual mob violence of much human history. Another dirty word is martyr, which seems to suggest a suspicious air of superiority or sanctimoniousness. So why am I drawn to these words—sacrifice and martyrdom? I have an intuition that there is a connection between beauty and sacrifice, between... Read More