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  • Writer's pictureAustin Channing Brown

This Joy I Have by Austin Channing Brown

"Traditionally, the Black community has relied on a spiri­tuality born of hardship and humanity to declare a phrase popularized by gospel-music artist Shirley Caesar, “This joy I have, the world didn’t give it to me, and the world can’t take it away.” This is not to create a monolith of the Black community; I am in no way suggesting that all Black Ameri­cans have found refuge in the gospel of the Christian church. Instead, I mean only to point out a shared, rooted resilience in joy. Contained in this one sentence is a staunch declara­tion that if the world will take from me, it will do so only once, not twice. It cannot have both tragedy and my joy..."

Read an excerpt of this essay here:

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