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Historian, Author, and Educator Jasmine Holmes joins Latasha Morrison on this episode of the Be the Bridge Podcast to talk about her books, her Instagram classroom, and her own educational journey. They both share the crucial moments in their journeys of this work and how pivotal having a community of Black women has been to them.

Latasha touches on the trauma that comes from BIPOC not having pain recognized in church and not being seen or heard in predominantly white faith spaces. And together they lament the stronghold white supremacy has on the United States. They dive into the untold stories of Black missionaries and what voices are not highlighted in classical education.

As bridge builders, we can bring truth to the revisionist history happening and bring dignity to the stories often misrepresented. We can choose to lean into conversations like these and be educators and reconcilers in this current cultural climate.

Join in the conversation on our social media pages on Facebook and Instagram and LinkedIn to let us know your thoughts on this episode!

Host & Executive Producer – Latasha Morrison
Senior Producer – Lauren C. Brown
Producer, Editor, & Music – Travon Potts with Integrated Entertainment Studios
Assistant Producer & Transcriber – Sarah Connatser

Quotes:

“We know that anti-woke is really anti-Black.” -Latasha Morrison

“Finding the faithful stories of Black Christians who’ve gone before became this really empowering experience for me, a very transformative experience.” -Jasmine Holmes

“We are fighting tooth and nail not to reckon with the national sin of white supremacy.” -Jasmine Holmes

“The gospel is for everyone. But we completely leave out entire people groups when it comes to the history of the church.” -Latasha Morrison

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Resources Mentioned:

Carved in Ebony book by Jasmine Holmes
Mother to Son book by Jasmine Holmes
His Testimonies, My Heritage book edited by Kristie Anyabwile
Woke Homeschooling
Never Cast Out book by Jasmine Holmes
King Leopold’s Ghost book by Adam Hochschild
Their Eyes were Watching God book by Zora Neale Hurston
Instagram post by Jasmine about Black teachers who fought revisionist history
Reading Everybody Black Challenge
Heritage Mom Blog on Instagram
Crowned with Glory book by Jasmine Holmes
Hidden Figures

Connect with Jasmine Holmes:
Her Website
Instagram

Connect with Be the Bridge:
Our Website
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter

Connect with Latasha Morrison:
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter

Not all views expressed in this interview reflect the values and beliefs of Latasha Morrison or the Be the Bridge organization.

Narrator
You are listening to the Be the Bridge Podcast with Latasha Morrison.

Latasha Morrison
[intro] How are you guys doing today? It’s exciting!

Narrator
Each week, Be the Bridge Podcast tackles subjects related to race and culture with the goal of bringing understanding.

Latasha Morrison
[intro] …but I’m gonna do it in the spirit of love.

Narrator
We believe understanding can move us toward racial healing, racial equity, and racial unity. Latasha Morrison is the founder of Be the Bridge, which is an organization responding to racial brokenness and systemic injustice in our world. This podcast is an extension of our vision to make sure people are no longer conditioned by a racialized society, but grounded in truth. If you have not hit the subscribe button, please do so now. Without further ado, let’s begin today’s podcast. Oh, and stick around for some important information at the end.

Latasha Morrison
Be the Bridge community, I am grateful to have another great guest. I’m just telling you, I just feel so blessed. We should feel blessed. There are some incredible people out here doing some amazing things. There are some amazing books that are being written that’s going to help us, that’s going to equip us, that’s going to grow us. And I feel that this next guest is a part of that. She is doing that. She is doing a lot of educating in her writing and also on the Instas. And so if you’re not following her, you need to make sure you do. But her name is Jasmine Holmes and it’s a pleasure to have you here on the Be the Bridge Podcast. Just to give you a little information about who Jasmine is, she’s the author of Carved in Ebony: Lessons from Black Women who Shape Us and Mother to Son: Letters to a Black Boy on Identity and Home. I can…that right there. I need to buy a few of those. She is also a contributing author for the World on Fire: Walking in Wisdom of Christ when Everyone’s Fighting about Everything, Identity Theft: Reclaiming the Truth of our Identity in Christ, and His Testimonies, My Heritage: Women of Color on the Word of God. So she’s been busy. And she also, listen, I just found this out. She has two books, one book that already came out this year that she’s going to tell us about, and another one that is coming out. Those of you who are listening, if you’re authors or you know the process of writing, the fact that she is here breathing in front of this microphone, I don’t even understand it. And she has three young ones. Jasmine and her husband Philip are parenting their children in Jackson, Mississippi. The M, the I, the crooked letter, crooked letter, I.  I’m telling you. You got to tell us about what’s going on in Mississippi, too. (laughter)

Jasmine Holmes
Oh my goodness, so much all the time.

Latasha Morrison
Yes. So much history flows through Mississippi. And there’s a lot to say about that. I’m following this case that they’re dealing with now. Kind of like, it’s a lynching case. I forget his name. Maybe we could talk about it at the end if you know, I think it’s Rasheem, the young man’s name. But I am so grateful to have you here. Now, we always get the bios but there are things that we miss out when we say that. So tell the Be the Bridge audience a little bit more, maybe something I left out, of who you are and what you do. And you know, I know you are a history teacher. So tell us a little bit about this and how all of this came to be.

Jasmine Holmes
Yeah, it’s it’s been kind of a wild ride since 2020, for sure. So I was a teacher for nine years. I’ve been out of the classroom for the past two years. And it has been so sad. Like every time I’m in the pencil aisle or anything at any store, I’m like, “School supplies, I miss it.” I’m hoping to get back into the classroom. But you know, it’s a really fraught environment right now with everything that’s going on, politically and with education. So I’m just taking a step back and regrouping for sure. My three boys are six, four, and 18 months old.

Latasha Morrison
Wow.

Jasmine Holmes
They are adorable. Wonderful. We just found out that my middle son has autism. And it has been so cool to like see, to see his brain in an entirely new light and to just see how fascinating he is. It’s made life really interesting and really full. And then my 18 month old is just starting to communicate, and so that’s really fun. But that’s my like my day to day is really just those three kids.

Latasha Morrison
Yeah, there’s a young lady, I think Moms of Joy Podcast that I follow on Instagram that talks a lot about autism, and just watching her and I follow several people. Because even though it’s not my story, people in my community, people in my life, it is their story. And so just to make myself aware so that as I encounter people, that I understand.

Jasmine Holmes
Yeah, absolutely.

Latasha Morrison
And then to really have empathy. And you know, you know, I know, a lot of times she’s talking about when she’s taking her kids out, her son out and just some of the stares because he’s a little older but he’s not fully potty potty trained. Just different things like that, I think you can be, just that can be a resource for so many other parents that are going through similar things. That you’re not alone in this. And so thank you for sharing that.

Jasmine Holmes
For sure. For sure.

Latasha Morrison
So one of the things you, on Instagram you say that you center Black stories in history, you highlight the faithful – I love that – you highlight the faithful, and you check the footnotes. I want to hear about, okay, and tell us a little bit about like, how do you, what is your process in what you share? Because I’m like, “Okay, she is giving like a full on history lesson.”

Jasmine Holmes
Yeah. (laughing)

Latasha Morrison
And it’s so funny, because there’s a couple of things that you were sharing about, I was like, “I just wrote about that.” You know? And we talk about a lot of those things in our Academy and in our trainings. But this is like, I don’t understand if people understand the wealth of information that they’re getting from you. Because you are reading, I mean, a lot of books to give highlights of this, like, you know, of the highlights. And you’re doing a lot of the work for people. (laughter) And you’re putting it together so beautifully on Instagram. Tell us when you say you check the footnotes. Tell me a little bit about that.

Jasmine Holmes
So I grew up in a very sheltered, white evangelical context. So like, my dad is a pastor at a church where, you know, I always say, like, I was the only Black girl in the room. There were probably like two or three of us. But you know, it felt like you were the only Black one in the room.

Latasha Morrison
Right.

Jasmine Holmes
And we got a very skewed education. Right? A very, like “The Civil War wasn’t fought over slavery. Some slaves were really happy. And some masters were like, not that bad.” And as a Black woman there is sort of this complication of, and I try to be really gentle with my younger self, because I was surviving in the circumstances that I was in. And so as I say this, I’m saying it with compassion for who I was and compassion for anybody else who’s in the same place. But there kind of becomes this, “I’m proving that I’m kind of a reasonable Black person, because I can be unemotional about this part of history. I can say the hard things that are like true.” And I remember when I first started checking the footnotes and being like, “Oh, these things that I always thought were true were not true.” And one like, really simple one was, you know, I would always argue with the professor of mine in grad school, for like, an hour, we were on a field trip at the art museum, and he and I were going back and forth. And he was like, “The civil war was fought about slavery.” And I was like, “No, it was fought about states’ rights.” And little scrawny white man was like, “It’s over slavery.” And I was like, “No, it’s states rights.” And he goes, “Jasmine. States’ rights to do what?”

Latasha Morrison
Exactly. (laughter) What did the states want to do?

Jasmine Holmes
What they want to do. (laughter). And I literally was like, “Something about tariffs or some…” And he was like, “Tariffs on what? Taxes on what? Where did the goods come from? Where did the…” So he just kind of, it was this moment where like, not in that moment was I humbled enough to kind of be like, “Oh, you’re right.” But I went back home. And I started reading and I was like, “Oh, the states actually said exactly why they seceded.” Because they weren’t, they weren’t embarrassed. They weren’t ashamed of what they were doing. Like they were very open about it. And throughout American history, that’s something that I have learned as a, you know, I’m a lay person. Right? I’m a teacher. I’m not a scholar in the sense that I’m like, I have advanced degrees in history or anything of that nature. But just as a layperson, something that I’ve noticed over and over again, is that in American history, these things that we are ashamed of now, people weren’t ashamed of them. And so they were actually really clear with exactly what they meant and exactly what they were talking about, and exactly who they thought of as Americans.

Latasha Morrison
Yeah, that is so good. And this just seems like when you hear it, like, because I’ve heard that story. Growing up in North Carolina I didn’t hear as much until I moved to Texas.

Jasmine Holmes
That’s where I’m from. (laughter)

Latasha Morrison
Okay, it makes sense. Because like, I don’t know what kind of history they’re teaching in Texas. And I can imagine that it’s gonna, everybody needs to tune in. Because like…but one thing I would say is that there’s so many books now, if they’re not being all banned, you know, I’m not sure, that’s a whole nother conversation.

Jasmine Holmes
Oh yeah.

Latasha Morrison
But that really can help you. Because if you take a pause, and you really think about what we’re being told and the disservice, and who it disserves when we’re telling these basically just blatant lies about history. Because if you own it, I mean, we know that the truth sets us free. And so, you’re really in bondage when you’re living a lie. There’s nothing to gain out of that. And so we know that from our faith. But why are so many in the faith falling for what I call the okey dokey. Like, you don’t separate these things. You know? So, you know, when you went home and you started reading, you know, what was the thing? When did it start to shift for you? Because, you know, for me, I think these are conversations I always had growing up with other Black people. I wasn’t, you know, there were times where, okay, in Girl Scouts, I’m the only Black person or different things. But my community was very diverse. And, you know, the churches my grandparents went to were all Black. So there was a safety net for me. But for you, how, what was that, where did it start clicking for you? And you started saying, like, “Wait a minute, I’m missing something.” Was the conversation with your white teacher, was that one of the times in your life?

Jasmine Holmes
Yeah. That was one of them. And then meeting and marrying my husband was another one. Because it’s one thing to be the daughter of a Black man and a sister of a Black man. But to love a Black man really brought some things into sharper relief. But my real like, fork in the road moment was, I had just had my firstborn son when the shooting, when Philando Castile was murdered in Minneapolis. And we lived in the neighborhood where he was murdered. And I was on Facebook, when the live video, the live stream video popped up. And my husband was out of the house. So he had left me to go get some food or something and was gone. I was nursing my baby, I’m on Facebook doing whatever, this video pops up. I didn’t see the video, like the feed had just been disrupted when I kind of like, tuned in. And I just remember that being the first time where I felt a really visceral fear, for the baby that I was holding, for my husband who was out of the house. And this person who had always prided herself in being like, “Oh, I’m just not, you know, I don’t get emotional. I wait for the facts.” And I kind of had like an emotional and emotional response. And honestly, even looking back, you know, this selfishness of this matters now because I’m in a situation where I have these two Black men that I love very much, who I feel are in danger now. That was my first real moment. And so as my son got older, and as I just started reading more. I’m a voracious reader. And so picking up things and reading and, you know, being homeschooled, you are taught to check the footnotes. Right? But I just had very limited books that I was reading. So when the books actually had more thorough footnotes, I would read the footnotes and I would be like, “Okay, this footnote is getting brought up a whole lot. So I’m gonna get online and I’m gonna read this source document.” And then, “This footnote keeps getting brought up a lot. So I’m gonna get on and I’m gonna get this book.” And so a lot of it was just this self directed, just yearning to know and understand, especially because I had been complicit in spreading things that weren’t true.

Latasha Morrison
That’s so good. And I’m glad that you’re telling this story. Because, to me, it gives hope for a lot of people. You know? And so many people who are part of the Be the Bridge community, that is their story where, you know, I was once blind, but now I see. You know, in the sense as it relates to this, when we talk about justice and righteousness. And so I think, you know, for me it was like the, I think the murder of Trayvon Martin was just a turning point for me where, okay, I’m not just going to have these conversations in the closet with other Black people because I’m afraid of hurting someone else’s feelings or losing friends or not being liked. If we’re going to be in community and we’re a part of the same church, I want you to care about the things that I care about. And I want to know why you’re not talking about this. You know, and then I want to understand why you have that perspective about this challenge. Like, for me, that was the what you would say, the catalytic moment for me.

Jasmine Holmes
Yeah.

Latasha Morrison
And there’s no, once you see there’s no unseeing.

Jasmine Holmes
There’s no turning back.

Latasha Morrison
There’s no turning back.

Jasmine Holmes
No.

Latasha Morrison
And, I mean, I think Jasmine, you give a lot of hope when you say that you’re homeschooling. I know, several people who, you know, Black people who are homeschooling now because of the conditions of the education system right now, and there’s so many curriculums. My friend Delina, she does Woke Homeschooling

Jasmine Holmes
Oh yeah. I just got their youngest for my little boys.

Latasha Morrison
Yes! You know, before people co-opted the name. But we know in our community, we understand what it means. And so when you’re saying that, we know that anti-woke is really anti-Black?

Jasmine Holmes
Yes, absolutely.

Latasha Morrison
Absolutely. Clearly it is. And so when you’re saying that, and you’re trying to kind of gaslight people into what this word truly means, and I think you just even…I don’t know if you did a lesson even on that, but we can talk about that a little bit. But you know, there are people doing some amazing things and communities and then people actually using her, I mean, white people, all people that are using this to supplement. Because we know that this is not going to be taught at school. And I’m a product of that. So you know some of this, you know with the school stuff, it does scare me. But in a way, it’s like it’s never been taught in school.

Jasmine Holmes
Never, never.

Latasha Morrison
It’s never been taught in school. But it contributes to the disunity that we have, the apathy that we have, the violence that we have, the trauma that we have, it contributes to all of that. But one of the things you say, you highlight the faithful. And you talk about, you dedicate your latest book to the faithful Black women in your life who consistently interrupt the message of shame. I love, I love that. Can you expound on that a little bit?

Jasmine Holmes
Yeah, um, one of the major things when I was growing up was, I read so many biographies. I loved biographies. I love biographies of missionaries, especially. So, Gladys Aylward, Mary Slessor, you know, all these people. No Black people, all the white people. And so it wasn’t, I was an adult when I realized that Black people had been missionaries at the exact same time as David Livingstone, in the exact same region as David Livingstone. Like I had no idea. And so finding the faithful stories of Black Christians who’ve gone before just became this really empowering experience for me, a very transformative experience. And it’s why I wrote Carved in Ebony, because it was just all of these women and all of these periods of history where Christians had been loud and vocal in their resistance to enslavement and in their resistance to white supremacy. I feel like a lot of times with Christians when it comes to facing the reality of our history, we feel like, maybe I won’t say we, but many people feel like, if we uncover too much, then it shines a bad light on Christianity. Because so often Christians were complicit in these things. But because of the way that God works, there’s always a remnant. There are always Christians speaking the truth, there are always Christians standing against, you know, and so I’m always trying to find, “Okay, who were they? What were they doing?” And maybe we can get some better heroes in here. Maybe we don’t have to make excuses for Jonathan Edwards or George Whitfield. Maybe there’s other options for us to look to.

Latasha Morrison
Yeah.

Jasmine Holmes
And so that’s kind of one of the major thrusts of my work. And then the dedication for Never Cast Out definitely came from, I just have a community of Black women in my life who constantly disrupt the messages streamed in my life. I was a little bit late, hopping on for the podcast, because one of my friends is having like a professional crisis and like two other Black women, it’s like a group chat. And we’re all in the group chat together like, “Girl, no, hold your head up, like, we’re going to get through this.” And it’s always that way. That’s something that I didn’t have growing up. And so it’s something that’s been such a balm as an adult.

Latasha Morrison
Right? And it’s such a rich experience like the connectedness. I have a text group, also. And one of the things that, you know, this text group that I’m in, at one point it was probably about 20 women. It’s probably like 12 of us now. But, you know, I remember at the start of, probably around Charleston, you know, everybody checks in each other saying, “I’m not going to my church today.” Because majority of us at that time were either in predominately white churches or either in multi-ethnic or multicultural churches. But we had left, but a lot of us had come out of a predominantly African American church, you know, tradition. And so a lot of people were talking, like, “I’m not going to church today.” And it was like, okay, of all things when we’re in pain, we should be going to church, but most people were saying they’re staying home or they’re going to a different church. And it was because we knew that we were not going to be seen or heard or recognized in our pain and in our trauma. And it wasn’t, there wasn’t going to be a balm, you know, like it was going to be like business as usual. And now that whole group, like no one in that group goes to a predominately white church anymore. Some people have found other churches, some people are still looking. But I’m just like, wow. Like, when, like, what? Like, this is something that I don’t know if the church as a whole is going to be able to reckon with until 20 years down the line, where really the churches that are really growing are like African American churches or multi-ethnic, multicultural churches. You know? But this resistance to that, what would you say about that? Like, what is something that, you know, have you had this experience yourself with your friends and why do you think this is happening? 

Jasmine Holmes
This is when I started sounding like the preacher’s daughter that I am. White supremacy has such a stronghold.

Latasha Morrison
Yeah, yes.

Jasmine Holmes
It’s demonic. And whenever I say that people are always like, “Okay, Jasmine.” But I’m like, “No, it’s literally demonic.”

Latasha Morrison
It’s a sin.

Jasmine Holmes
It’s a sin. And it has a chokehold on, it has a chokehold on us. I mean, even if we’re not, you know, carrying tiki torches in Charleston, the inability to look it in the face and call it what it is and to move away from it in repentance, that’s a stronghold.

Latasha Morrison
Yeah.

Jasmine Holmes
Yeah, it’s evil. Like, it is evil. It is from the pits of hell. And it is, I think so much bigger than we want to realize, and so much bigger than we want to articulate. Particularly at church, right? Because people hear the phrase white supremacy, and they’re like, “Oh, my gosh. Well, I’m not a racist. And I don’t hate Black people. And I don’t…” It’s like, you know, there’s such a bigger picture. There’s such a bigger picture than than what you’re seeing. And one of the reasons why you can’t see it is because this is such a stronghold. Like this is such a national sin. And I think that we have so much focus on other things that are going on nationally and culturally. But we are fighting tooth and nail not to reckon with the national sin of white supremacy. Like we’re like, “Oh, my gosh, I’ll do anything not to have to look that in the face.”

Latasha Morrison
Yeah. Oh, and don’t even say it. Because if you say it, you’re making me feel some kind of way. And you know, but it’s like, in any other thing, we have to name our sin.

Jasmine Holmes
Absolutely.

Latasha Morrison
And so and that’s the one thing, there’s certain words that I’m like, “Okay, I’m not gonna put my banner in that word.” L Like, I’m not going to put my banner in woke. Like, you know, there’s certain things I’m not. But I am going to say white supremacy, you know, the system of white supremacy. I am going to say that because we have to name that sin and what it embodies, the indifference that fuels hate.

Jasmine Holmes
That’s such a good word.

Latasha Morrison
We have to name it. It others people. And we have to be able to recognize it. And that’s one of the things that, you know, within our community that we teach. And so if I’m saying white supremacy, and you think I’m saying I’m saying something about you personally, you have to take pause and say, “Okay, why am I identifying with this?”

Jasmine Holmes
Right, right.

Latasha Morrison
And ask questions and be curious about it rather than shutting it down and deflecting or denying or denounce…all the things! Well we want you to denounce, but I mean, those are just things that we’re saying. Take pause and really understand how these systems have been set up. And we know that through history…and I think you’re doing a good job of walking people through just some of the history and letting them know some of the unknowns, some of the hidden figures within our history. What is someone that has stood out that you have learned about, you know, especially in the missionary field and within the history of the church that has stood out to you? That like, “Oh my God, I wish I would have known this coming up.” You know? “This would have done a lot for my self worth, my self esteem, my faith.” You know, I mean, just think we’re leaving out entire people groups of people. The gospel is for everyone. But we completely leave out entire people groups.

Jasmine Holmes
We do.

Latasha Morrison
When it comes to the history of the church.

Jasmine Holmes
And there’s this whole Black missionary group in the Congo in the 1890s. And before I started reading, I didn’t know who King Leopold of Belgium was. I had no idea. I didn’t know that he was responsible for the deaths of over 10 million Congolese people. I didn’t know.

Latasha Morrison
We don’t even talk about it.

Jasmine Holmes
No, I had no clue.

Latasha Morrison
That was like the first Holocaust.

Jasmine Holmes
It was!

Latasha Morrison
More people died in that, but we don’t even talk about it.

Jasmine Holmes
While he was sending out messages to the rest of the world and being like, “I’m doing all these missionary endeavors and I need money for it.” People were just sending…I mean, the entire, the phrase crimes against humanity was used for the first time by a Black reporter who was talking about what’s going on in the Congo. And like, we have no idea.

Latasha Morrison
It was brutal.

Jasmine Holmes
And there were Black missionaries on the ground, like on the ground doing crazy things. Like Maria Fearing was trading a pound of salt for a child’s life type of stuff, just like saving lives and translating the Bible into this dialect that’s it’s never been translated into when as a child growing up in slavery in Alabama, she wasn’t even allowed to read the Bible. Come on! Like we should know this. We should, everybody should know that. It should be like David Livingstone. Right? Like it should be just common knowledge.

Latasha Morrison
Yeah. There were eyewitnesses.

Jasmine Holmes
So many! And they left so many written accounts.

Latasha Morrison
History has receipts. Yeah. So while you know, and then we, but then what we do, I think just which is like a double stab in the heart is we put these people on pedestals and we make monuments of people and not telling the full truth and the disservice that that does. And when we look at the country now and we see some of the challenges that are happening, we’re like, “What’s wrong with you?” And you can’t separate that from the history and the brutality that the Congo has experienced. And when you look at the resources that come from the Congo, when you look at the resources that come from Africa, most countries that are considered the developed countries, whatever, they are considered developed countries because of the oppression of other people.

Jasmine Holmes
That part.

Latasha Morrison
The stealing of other people. And some of you are listening to this, and this may be hard for you to hear. But I would advise you to lean into this and read about the missionary that she just talked about. There’s a book called The Ghost of Leopold. Look this up. And even sometimes, even when we try to look up stuff, you can’t just Google. You know? And if you Google, you have to go down, because you’ll see a lot of the great things just propped up about people and then there are things you have to keep digging to…I’m just doing that with something, just some study in dermatology, like just talking about the medical field. And how there’s this man that’s propped up as a hero in the field. And I mean, he’s basically doing eugenics.

Jasmine Holmes
Oh, my gosh. And same thing with gynecology.

Latasha Morrison
And today!

Jasmine Holmes
Oh gosh.

Latasha Morrison
So this is important. So I would advise you not to deflect, not to dismiss, but to lean in and to verify. Because most of the things that we’re talking about in our books, in our writings, there are scholarly documents on there. There are eyewitnesses to this. There’s documentation. One of the things you, I think you had just posted. I’m just jumping around here. But as we’re talking about this, you just posted about just some enslaved narratives. What led you to do something and to post about that and to tell that story?

Jasmine Holmes
So you’re going to think that I’m absolutely crazy. Because, so I had the book that came out in February.

Latasha Morrison
Okay.

Jasmine Holmes
And I have the book that’s coming out in September. And I have a manuscript that’s due in September as well. (laughter) This week was spring break, too, so I’m just like looking at my computer like, “I should be writing, but these children are on the loose.” So the book that I’m writing that’s coming up is dealing a lot with like firsthand accounts and eyewitness stories. I just really wanted to bring stories to life. And I was talking to, one of my best friends is a historian. And she is always, I’m always sending my stuff to her and being like, “I was, you know, am I saying it right? Is this okay?” And she’s always telling me, “You are a historian, be confident in that.” I’m like, “I know, but I don’t have like, you have an actual PhD. I’m just out here. I’m just out here making it do what to do, like by myself.”

Latasha Morrison
Right, right.

Jasmine Holmes
But I told her I wanted to write this. And I said, “I don’t know, like, do you think that I could?” And she goes, “This is the perfect opportunity to use WPA narratives.” And she is, so her work focuses on enslaved women in the ways that they defined freedom in the wake of the Civil War. So the way that they literally, one historian calls it voting with their feet, decided to just get up and leave and led to the Emancipation Proclamation. Because Abraham Lincoln was like, “We got to do something about this.” And so that’s what her work focuses on. And she focuses on a lot of narratives that were overlooked in the 60s and 70s and even into modern day. Because people didn’t take the eye witness experiences of the formerly enslaved seriously. And also weren’t able to read between the lines whenever they were talking to white interviewers and maybe kind of downplaying some of the things that they experienced. 

AD BREAK

Latasha Morrison
Yeah, I know. What’s the one of the interviewers? Oh my goodness. Their Eyes Were Watching God. What’s her name?

Jasmine Holmes
Oh, Zora Neale Hurston.

Latasha Morrison
Yeah, she was one of the interviewers and even some you can see even the self hate that comes across as you’re reading it. And that’s really hard to read. Because when this is all that you know, when this brutality is all that you know, and you’ve been told that you are nothing, that you are evil, that you are barbaric. A lot of people have ingested that. You know? That self hate, that indifference. And they will say, you know, “They have to do this to us to control us.” 

Jasmine Holmes
Definitely. Yeah.

Latasha Morrison
You know? And it’s hard to read those things. And then you look at, there’s a lot of people that are doing these interviewers that are still a part of that same system.

Jasmine Holmes
Oh, yeah.

Latasha Morrison
You know, they’re doing this because they needed a job during the Great Depression. And so even the way they’re communicating to them, you can feel that in some of the writings and some of the recordings, a lot of it is recording the broken language and all of those things.

Jasmine Holmes
And even like making it more broken. You know what I’m saying? Like w-u-z and w-a-s sound the same?

Latasha Morrison
Yeah.

Jasmine Holmes
But in the recording of the conversation, they’re using the w-u-z spelling. Like there’s a ton of stuff that just sounds really similar if you have a southern accent, that they’re taking the opportunity to make a caricature out of the people whose stories they’re recording. Or sometimes their descriptions are like, “Oh, he looks just like what you would expect a house Negro to look like.” Or, “Oh, she had really like pale skin,” or “Oh, he looks just like the old renderings of these Black gentlemen or Black…” Like it’s very, some of it is just really stereotypical the way that they talked about the people that they’re interviewing.

Latasha Morrison
Right, right. I’m telling you. One of the things you also talked about Black teachers who fought revisionist history. And I’d love to hear you talk a little bit more about that topic and what you shared. I think it’s such a timely message. When you think about what’s happening to teachers. I’m like do we understand we would not be the country that we are now without teachers? And there are less people going into the teaching field. Like what, you know, like, what are we, what is the game plan? And maybe the game plan is really to make people ignorant, to make people dependent. So I think this is something that we are going to really have to, we can’t just depend on the school. You know? The school system or teachers. And I think teachers are being very creative. I see a lot of teachers who have like basically retired, and they’re doing history lessons like yourself on the internets and doing a phenomenal job. You know? Reaching more people that way than they would have in the classroom. When you talk about revisionist history, tell us a little bit about what you shared.

Jasmine Holmes
So it kind of goes back to what we were saying before about how people were not making any secret of what they thought or why they thought it. And so after the Civil War, moving towards the 20th century, there were a lot of white Daughters of the Confederacy who were outright saying, “We don’t want our southern children to feel bad about the confederacy. So we need to make sure that when we teach about Civil War, we teach that slavery wasn’t that bad, that we succeeded because the state’s rights, that northerners imported slaves too. So whatever.” And just a lot of the very similar arguments and argumentation. And you know, there’s letters that they sent, there’s textbooks that they wrote, there’s all these I mean, there’s a paper trail of them just really trying to, under the guise of teaching their students patriotism, teaching them white supremacy. And so then you have these Black teachers who are coming up in these other schools and are teaching true history, really trying to render an accurate portrayal of history. And also trying to instill in Black students a pride in their people and a pride in their own history. You know, people like Leila Amos Pendleton and Edward A. Johnson and Drusilla Dunjie Houston, and, you know everybody knows Carter G. Woodson. And people who just wrote textbooks, wrote learning resources, wrote, like they just took it upon themselves. And I feel such a kinship to so many of them because aside from Carter G. Woodson, who has a PhD in History, of the rest of them we’re just teachers who were like, “Something’s gotta give. Like something’s gotta be done about this in the classroom. I have to write my own resources to introduce to these children and to help give them a better foundation in who they are.” LaGarrett King talks about how it was basically a fight for their humanity to teach these students that they’re made in God’s image and that they have value and that people who’ve gone before them who look like them also have value and have done valuable things for American history. And, you know, by today’s standards, all of these works are incredibly patriotic, like more patriotic than I’d be feeling sometimes. So it’s not even like, you know, that they’re trying to tear down America or anything of that nature. They’re really trying to show these Black children that America is also their birthright.

Latasha Morrison
I wanted you to explain classical education. Because sometimes we hear that and we’re like, “Oh, that’s better.” Like, you know, classical is better or it seems inclusive. But, you know, I hear people say, “Oh, they’re classically trained,” when they’re talking about an actor. And I had a Black British woman say, you know, like, “That’s not inclusive.” This is what classically trained, and how we can put that on a pedestal and not realize that the classically trained is missing so much diversity from others in that. Can you explain that to our audience what classical education is? And I mean, I’ve just had a lot of run ins with with people who are in schools classically trained, you know, like, that’s the one of the schools that they were doing the debate on slavery where you have to be for and against slavery. First of all, that I mean, that makes my blood boil that you would see any debate into the enslavement of human beings, chattel slavery, and what that generational slavery. That someone could even fathom, but it shows you how we have romanticized slavery. So explain that, what classical is, and then I want you to explain the Reading Everybody Black Challenge.

Jasmine Holmes
Yeah, so it dovetails really well actually. Because classical education, it has a lot of elements, but the major one is the entering into the conversation with the great books, with the great thinkers, with the great philosophers. And the great books, great thinkers, great philosophers that are in the canon don’t look like me or you.

Latasha Morrison
Right, right.

Jasmine Holmes
And so it’s a lot of really prizing and conserving Western thought. And by Western thought, really, it’s white.

Latasha Morrison
Yeah.

Jasmine Holmes
Thought. And that’s one of the core tenets of classical education. Now, I will have a caveat because I know and I know that a lot of Be the Bridge people are homeschoolers who use Charlotte Mason. Charlotte Mason is a classical strain, right? Like, that’s one type of classical education. And so I wasn’t teaching in the Charlotte Mason strain. I was teaching in the Association of Classical Christian School strain, which some classical educators kind of looked down their nose at us. And they’re like, “That’s neoclassical education.” So there’s all of this, like, there’s all this different lingo and language. Heritage Mom Blog on Instagram, Amber, she’s a Charlotte Mason mom. And she describes herself as like Charlotte Mason with an afro. I love her. And I love how she really cultivates a list of great books and great thinkers that are more reflective of the diversity that we Have in the world. She works really hard in that. And so they’re just several Charlotte Mason home schoolers in particular that I follow that are just a balm to my soul after a decade in classical education.

Latasha Morrison
Oh, wow. Well, I’m so glad that the Lord gave you free. (laughter)

Jasmine Holmes
Yes, he did.

Latasha Morrison
Out of that. But then, you know, I look at what you’re doing now. Like you said, “I hope to one day go back in the classroom.” And I’m like, you have created your classroom. You know? You are educating through the writings that you’re doing. Through your books that you’re you’re writing, through how you’re educating your family. So you are a teacher, like you are teaching the masses. You’re probably reaching more people now than you would have within the classroom. And you’re helping those who are blind to the fact that they are missing information. You know? So, I mean, you know, I mean, I love it. I loved it, the fact that you’re like, “Wait a minute, like, I’m missing something here, and I’m gonna do something about it. And I’m not just gonna sit silent or sit in shame or because I didn’t know. But I’m gonna make sure that others know what I didn’t know.” Tell me a little bit about the book that you have coming out, Crowned with Glory: How Proclaiming the Truth of Black Dignity has Shaped American history. I know it’s probably, we’ve talked about it a little bit, but just more in detail.

Jasmine Holmes
It’s about Black Christian resistance to chattel slavery in all of its forms. And so we talk about Nat Turner’s revolt. And then we talk about free people in the North who were abolitionists. We talk about people in the South who ran away. We talk about this whole thing in the south of like, where people ran away for a few days called lying out, but then they came back. We talk about…it’s kind of a survey, right, like a historical survey. But I hope that it also reads like a story. I you know, I am a fiction writer at heart. I have, when I was a little girl, when you would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would be like, “A writer and a teacher.” But I was supposed to be writing the next great American novel. We’ll see if that ever actually happens. But that’s what I’m supposed to be doing. But I do have a lot more moments of storytelling in Crowned of Glory that I’m really excited about. 

Latasha Morrison
Right, right. And then the first, the book that she just came out with the one, Never Cast Out: How the Gospel Puts an End to the Story of Shame, that one right there. Tell me a little bit more about that particular book.

Jasmine Holmes
That one was interesting, because I actually approached the publisher to sign me for Carved in Ebony, the book that came before it. And they were like, “Ah, we’re not sure it’s a good fit.” And Carved in Ebony was my first and only time ever having multiple publishers interested in my project. And so that was my book where I was like, “Oh, I’m fancy. I got options.”

Latasha Morrison
Yeah! (laughter)

Jasmine Holmes
So they knew that I had to options. And so they were like, “Hey, I don’t feel bad saying no to this book. We want you to write this other book.” And my editor for that, Ashley Gorman, had been reading my writing for years. And she was like, “I see a common thread of you really grappling with shame. And I would love you to write a book about that.” And really, it was her holding my hand. I would have never written that book otherwise. But it has a lot of personal testimony about shame and how it’s impacted my life. And really how the gospel of Christ has been the answer to not eradicate it completely. Because I don’t know that I’ll get there before glory, but turning the volume down a lot.

Latasha Morrison
Yeah, yeah. I love it. I love what you’re doing. I think you give hope to a lot of people that have been missing information within their upbringing, but how God can redeem that.

Jasmine Holmes
Oh yeah.

Latasha Morrison
And restore that. And look at you now! And the pathway that you’re creating, not just for others, but also for your children. And so it’s gonna look different for them than what it looked for you. And God will use it. Like you said, I always tell people I say, “You know what, there’s not, we’re not going to convince everyone. Everybody’s not gonna get it. Everybody’s not gonna get it.” And so once you resolve that with yourself, that everybody’s not going to get it, you also resolve but you know what there will be some. There will be a remnant. And you talk about the remnants. Like this whole thing that you’re talking about, like, that blew my mind. Like you said, there were other missionaries on the ground that look like me, that were trying to talk about what was happening in the Congo. And I know, this probably repeats itself throughout history, but we’re given one version of history. You know, that revisionist history, where those stories are not told, their stories are hidden. And, you know, you think about the the movie Hidden Figures and how so many people knew that story. I mean, Katherine Johnson was still alive. Her family, you know, living and breathing. I think she only recently passed.

Jasmine Holmes
Oh, just. I think it was 2020. It was recent.

Latasha Morrison
Yeah. You know, but that story that so many people hadn’t heard of. And there’s so many stories just like that, that people need to be taught. Because it makes us better. It makes us whole. And so we should know that and understand that. And just if our history makes you feel bad, you have to ask yourself why. And how do I get over it? It’s not really our problem. But it’s like, how do I get over this feeling of shame and guilt where we have this like collective justice together, this collective lament to say, “You know what? This is bad. But this is what this could look like on the other side to make sure that this doesn’t happen again.”

Jasmine Holmes
Absolutely.

Latasha Morrison
There’s something to that. What are some things now that you may be lamenting? What is something that you’re lamenting right now?

Jasmine Holmes
Right now, I think a lot about the Black maternal mortality rate in Mississippi. It is abysmal. I think that we had passed Louisiana for the bleakest stats. I think Black women in Mississippi, regardless of socio economic status, because people love to bring that up, are four times more likely to die in childbirth then their white counterparts. And I have given birth to two children in Mississippi. And it is such a, you know, while Christians are celebrating the fact that in my state abortion is I mean, we in there. Like, Christians have gotten what they desired from abortion legislation in my state. But then to sit back and watch while the Black maternal mortality rate and the Black fetal mortality rate are going through the roof. I lament that. I lament that.

Latasha Morrison
I lament that with you. Because I think we’re sometimes more concerned about birth than life. And, that’s a big thing. I was just actually, right before you were talking, I was looking at a stat, like how it’s increased since 2021.

Jasmine Holmes
It has. Yes.

Latasha Morrison
And we have the highest, in general, mortality, infant mortality rate than any other developed country. So this is connected to our healthcare system, this is connected to access, this is connected to racism. You know, and when you start talking about the communities that are impacted by this the most, and so we have to bring attention to this. You know, because like, you cannot just be settled like that, “Okay, there’s no abortion, but this is what’s happening on the other side of this.” So we have to be concerned about it all. And so, you know, what are some things that are bringing you hope in this season?

Jasmine Holmes
I just met a Black doula. And I just was so excited. I’m done having children, unless the Lord does some supernatural act to supersede medical interventions that we have done. (laughter) We’re done. We’re finished. But I love births so much. And so, yeah, just meeting a Black doula, and doulas and midwives are a huge part of ending this crisis, of seeing to this crisis. You know, we see such better outcomes when doulas and midwives are involved. And when my children are older, I would love to become a doula. Another thing that gives me joy, my little boy, we’ve been reading a bunch of like Black history graphic novels lately. And my oldest is six. And we were sitting at the doctor’s office the other day, and he saw this picture of like Harriet Tubman. And he was like, “Who is that?” I was like, “Oh, that’s Harriet Tubman.” “Tell me something about her.” I told him a little something. He goes, “Man, you just know everything about Black history, don’t you?” I loved it so much. I was like, “He thinks I know everything.” Like he’s just like, “Wow, you love that, don’t you?” I was like, “I do.”

Latasha Morrison
I mean, and she was a woman of faith.

Jasmine Holmes
She was! She was.

Latasha Morrison
Just a couple of days ago, I want to say that they celebrated Harriet Tubman day, that’s recognized in certain cities just for her contributions to this country. She served as a general also, along with her, you know, going back because of the horrors of enslavement and what she had been a part of and witnessed. That’s why she kept going back. You know, and then the crazy thing about her is when you say, when people say, “Okay, this country was founded on Christian principles or Judeo Christian values,” I would push back on that. But we don’t have time.

Jasmine Holmes
Don’t put that on Jesus. Don’t put that on Jesus.

Latasha Morrison
Exactly. Please don’t. But this lady when you look at the wanted posters for her, they called her Moses.

Jasmine Holmes
Yep.

Latasha Morrison
And it just shows you how far from the Christian faith that the so called Christians have become. And when you read, you know, The Autobiography of Frederick Douglass and you know, like I don’t know anything about this country’s Christian values.

Jasmine Holmes
Yup, yup.

Latasha Morrison
You know, the slave holding Christian. Like how he talks about when his, you know, the slave master when he became a Christian, they were excited that he was going to live into what Christian values should be by setting them free or being kind and just and generous, demonstrating the fruits of the Spirit, but yet became more cruel.

Jasmine Holmes
Even crueler. Yeah.

Latasha Morrison
And so there’s something that we have to reckon with with that. And I think many of us, not just our Black brothers and sisters, but I think all of our brothers and sisters, you know, including our white brothers are reckoning with that. People are leaning into this conversation. People are wanting to know. I think the thing that we have to do as leaders in this work is to give people the how, you know, of what to say, what to do. Because I think some people become paralyzed when so much stuff is happening culturally, people don’t know what to do. And so, I like conversations like this. I like meeting other activists, educators, whatever, just people, the body of Christ, like whatever you want to call us. You know? Reconcilers, whatever it is, but just where we can really have this collective strategy of how we lead people toward restoration.

Jasmine Holmes
Yeah. Absolutely.

Latasha Morrison
And true redemption. So thank you so much for coming out here and, you know, sharing your wisdom with our community. It’s Jasmine Holmes, you can follow her on Instagram. We’ll have everything listed in the show notes. And her book that’s coming out is Crowned with Glory: How Proclaiming the Truth of Black Dignity has Shaped American History. You can also read some of her latest books, Never Cast Out: How the Gospel Puts an End to the Story of Shame and then Carved in Ebony. Such richness that God is using you to demonstrate and to do for such a time as this. So thank you for being in the work with so many that came before us and with so many who are here with us now. So it takes, what you say, it takes a village. It takes an army.

Jasmine Holmes
Mmm Hmm. Mmm Hmm.

Latasha Morrison
So thank you for giving up your time today.

Narrator
Thanks for listening to the Be the Bridge Podcast. To find out more about the Be the Bridge organization and or to become a bridge builder in your community, go to BeTheBridge.com Again, that’s BeTheBridge.com. If you’ve enjoyed this podcast, remember to rate and review it on this platform and share it with as many people as you possibly can. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Today’s show was edited, recorded, and produced by Travon Potts at Integrated Entertainment Studios in Metro Atlanta, Georgia. The host and executive producer is Latasha Morrison. Lauren C. Brown is the Senior Producer. And transcribed by Sarah Connatser. Please join us next time. This has been a Be the Bridge production.