Matthew Vega is a Ph.D. candidate and research fellow at the University of Chicago, where he studies theology, race, and class. In addition to writing his dissertation, Matt is currently co-authoring a chapter on the multiple legacies of Martin Luther King, Jr. and watching the NBA.

Posts By This Author

Vincent Lloyd's Dictionary of Black Dignity

by Matthew Vega 12-22-2022

Protestor on a loudspeaker. Credit: Unsplash/Clay Banks.

Black Dignity is a must-read for anyone struggling against domination in a world constituted by anti-Blackness. For Lloyd, domination is the arbitrary exertion of one’s will over another, and its “primal scene” is the master/slave relation. For Lloyd, his use of the language of “domination” points toward a specific kind of relation that permeates the world: anti-Black violence. Lloyd specifically says the purpose of the book is “to get a sense of this new language of Black dignity, to explore how the hashtags could be filled out, linked together, and oriented toward the struggle against domination in general and anti-Blackness in particular.” Morally stimulating, energizing, probing, and clear, Black Dignity demonstrates Lloyd’s ability to weave together and synthesize Black political and religious thought.

Libraries Are Tools for Revolution

by Matthew Vega 11-02-2021

African-American children line up outside of Albemarle Region bookmobile, Northhampton County, N.C. Image made available through the Public Library History Files collection at the State Library of North Carolina.

In keeping with the Black radical tradition and the story of the Israelites plundering the Egyptians before they fled Egypt (Exodus 12:35-38), I see my job as a library fellow to be transgressive insofar as I encourage students to "steal Egyptian gold." Libraries are not just places to check out books but spaces where transformative visions can be cast, organizers and students can meet, and institutional knowledge can be turned upside down. Much like the late Black Mennonite, Vincent Harding, or modern Black intellectual Fred Moten, I believe it is the work of scholar-activists to figure out ways to be in but not of institutions. In other words, we must figure out ways to redistribute Pharoah’s spoils for the sake of the mixed multitude.

Black and Palestinian Christians' Struggle for Freedom

by Matthew Vega 06-14-2021

The first time that I visited Palestine was during my senior year at a Christian liberal arts college. It was one of those “Holy Land tours.” You know the type: visit the sacred sites, avoid political chatter, and return with photos of you or someone you know getting baptized in the Jordan River. Hashtag blessed.