This past week, alternative rock band Switchfoot released a music video for their song, “The Sound (John M. Perkins’ Blues).” The video features Mr. Perkins, whom the song was inspired by, and black and white images of political and social movements (such as Civil Rights rallies). The song and video in itself is powerful, and yet the story and man behind it is even more powerful.
John M. Perkins may be unfamiliar to you (and I, until recently), but he has accomplished much. He grew up in Mississippi, born as a sharecropper’s son, and fought a long battle of racism and discrimination his entire life. He became a Christian and turned his hatred towards the white men who treated him with such cruelty into love for all men and a passion for bridging the racial gaps within his community. He is the founder of such institutions as Voice of Calvary Ministries, Mendenhall Ministries, and Harambee Christian Family Center and Preparatory School. He has become a well respected leader and counsel in the area of economics and community based programs.
In his book, “Let Justice Roll Down,” Perkins describes his early childhood, the death of his brother, his coming to know Jesus Christ, the compassion he felt for his people, and his determined efforts to heal the divides created by racism. His book retells some harrowing stories of when he and his friends were beaten by white police officers as well as uplifting accounts of reaching many people with the Gospel. Honest, sad, shocking, and inspiring, “Let Justice Roll Down” will light a fire under anyone who is discontent with the way things are in the world today.