Join us at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 3, in the Science Lecture Theatre, for the 2018 Willson Lectureship featuring Rev. Melanie Jones and her presentation, "Saving America, Again: Black Women in the US and the Politics of Redemption." The event is free and open to the public.
The Willson Lectureship is an endowed speaker series at Texas Wesleyan University that was established in 1946 by Mr. J.M. Willson and Mrs. D.M. Willson, and family.
Former notable speakers at Texas Wesleyan include: Eboo Patel, Ph.D., founder of the Interfaith Youth Core; Ndaba Mandela, grandson of Nelson Mandela; Naomi Tutu, daughter of Archbishop Desmond Tutu; Arun Gandhi; and Michael Dowd, author of Thank God for Evolution.
Rev. Melanie Jones is a womanist ethicist, millennial preacher and intellectual activist. She earned a B.A. in Economics and Political Science from Howard University and a Master of Divinity with a certificate in Black Church Studies from Vanderbilt University Divinity School. Currently, she is a Doctor of Philosophy candidate at Chicago Theological Seminary studying ethics, theology and culture. Her doctoral dissertation entitled, “Up Against a Crooked Gospel: Black Women’s Bodies and the Politics of Character in Religion and Society,” interrogates Black women’s body politics and moral formation utilizing approaches in womanist theological ethics, African American religious history and Black aesthetics. For her distinguished research, Melanie was recently named a 2017-2018 Doctoral Dissertation Fellow by The Louisville Institute.
Melanie is a thinking woman of faith advocating for social transformation in the Church, classroom and global community. Currently, she is Visiting Instructor of Ethics, Theology and Culture at Brite Divinity School of Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. She has lectured as Adjunct Instructor at American Baptist College in Nashville, TN, Chicago Theological Seminary and The Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, IL teaching upper-level face-to-face and online courses in humanities, theology, ethics, gender/sexuality studies and writing. Her most recent chapter “When Caged Bodies Testify: Continental and Diasporan African Women’s Memoirs as Sacred Texts” co-authored with Liz S. Alexander in Unraveling and Reweaving Sacred Canon in Africana Womanhood (Rowman & Littlefield Press/Lexington Books) edited by Rosetta Ross and Rose Marie Amenga-Etego was published December 2015. Alongside Liz S. Alexander, Rev. Melanie is the co-curator of #MillennialWomanism Digital Forum, a popular colloquy launched June 2017 on The Black Theology Project (btpbase.org) founded by Jamye Wooten of Kinetics, which gathers relevant perspectives on faith and justice that centers Black millennial women. Melanie’s writings are featured in popular digital and print publications including The Feminist Wire, Chicago Theological Seminary Challenge & Response Magazine, The Forum for Theological Exploration Blog, Alpha Kappa Alpha Ivy Leaf Magazine, Sunday School Publishing Board — National Baptist Convention, USA and Urban Ministries, Incorporated. Sermons by Rev. Melanie are featured online at ROHO (www.roho.io), the new online archive for Black preaching.
Rev. Melanie is Co-Visionary of The Millennial Womanism Project (TMWP) — a collaborative movement toward sustainable initiatives for faith leaders and justice activists and advocates of today and tomorrow. She is committed to justice-seeking and empowering women and girls in the community through organizations such as Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated (former International Second Vice President 2008 – 2010 and general member), Girl Trek (Organizer 2015 – present), and Daughters of the African Atlantic Fund (Director 2017–present). As a third-generation Baptist preacher, Rev. Melanie is the youngest ordained clergywoman at South Suburban M. B. Church in Harvey, IL., where she serves as Associate Minister and leads the women’s ministry under the leadership of the dynamic duo Pastors Michael & Annette Jones. Rev. Melanie is an emerging millennial voice with a global public platform featured on television (Up Front with Jesse Jackson) and radio networks (1390 and 1570 AM stations in metropolitan Chicago and iHeart Radio — wc4y.com). She speaks at civic events, social justice summits, academic seminars, denominational conferences, sorority meetings and preaches in pulpits across the globe, traveling to cities in North America, Australia, Bahamas, Bermuda, Cuba, Ghana, New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates.