With just over 12,000 residents, Perry County Ala., has produced more African Americans with Ph.D. degrees than any other county in the nation. And the Rev. Andrew Young says he knows why: the UCC's American Missionary Association.
"This astounding fact is due to a single AMA school — Lincoln Academy in Marion, Ala. — and the extraordinary community that gave life to it and to which it gave life abundant," Young writes in the forward of "On the Heels of Freedom."
Written by Associate Southeast Conference Minister Joyce Hollyday, the book — released on July 2 at General Synod — is a documentation of the 160-year history of the AMA since its creation in the mid-1800s — including its founding of over 500 new schools in the American South for newly emancipated slaves following the Civil War.
As Hollyday relates in her book, the AMA's educational enterprises were not an easy task, given the overwhelming hostility and opposition that came from almost everyone in the South.
"It is critical that these stories be kept alive because they inspire those of us who are working for justice and freedom in our time," Hollyday said.
Hollyday was assisted in the gathering of stories by the Rev. Susan Mitchell, co-pastor of Sankofa UCC in Atlanta and the Rev. Milton Hurst, pastor of First Congregational UCC in Talladega, Ala.
New York-based Crossroads Publishing sped up the book's release in order to coincide with the Southeast Conference's hosting of General Synod. To purchase, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.