About Jesse

    A veteran newspaper reporter, Jesse tells stories of regular people living with passion, struggling against injustice or simply practicing their faith. Through songwriting, magazine journalism and essays, Jesse aims to describe the human condition, especially the search for transcendence.


    The Atlantic

Open & affirming for #BlackLivesMatter

United Church of Chapel Hill has been trying to attract people of color for decades. In the 1960s, pastor Dewitt Myers hosted Martin Luther King Jr. in his home in spite of threats from the KKK. And for more than 20 years, the church has supported United Voices of Praise in partnership with a black Pentecostal Holiness church in nearby Durham. The mixed-race gospel choir rotates between Sunday services at the two churches and has toured across the United States and Europe. But it was the Open & Affirming covenant that brought people of color.

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The rainbow tunnel: A Durham gentrification story

In the urban renewal of the 1960s, the Durham Freeway disrupted Hayti, the city’s once-vibrant black-owned business district and the neighborhoods it served. Today, skyscrapers are rising downtown, changing the faces of downtown Durham. Even if those realities are far from her own experience as a rising second-grader, Molly Sprague’s tears were very, very real.

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