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Let Justice Roll Down

4.42  ·  Rating details ·  1,567 ratings  ·  214 reviews
His brother died in his arms, shot by a deputy marshall. He was beaten and tortured by the sheriff and state police. But through it all he returned good for evil, love for hate, progress for prejudice and brought hope to black and white alike. The story of John Perkins is no ordinary story. Rather, it is a gripping portrayal of what happens when faith thrusts a person into ...more
Hardcover, 219 pages
Published December 6th 2006 by Regal Books (first published January 1st 1976)
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Average rating 4.42  · 
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 ·  1,567 ratings  ·  214 reviews

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Joe Woolworth
Nov 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
Challenging and shocking book. Shocking because I was sheltered from this kind of racism in my life and didn't realize that it still existed so strongly in our country. After moving to Mississippi for a couple of years, I was shaken with the realization that these old injustices were not yet resolved. This book is a strong reminder of the work yet to be done and the leadership of a man who had all the reasons in the world to hate and chose to love.

Perkins is a hero.

Great truths:
• The idea that a
This is my book for February Black History Month.

John M. Perkin’s brother returned home from serving in the Army in World War II. He was murdered by a white deputy marshal in Mississippi, because he was talking too loudly with his girlfriend while waiting for a movie to begin. The deputy was not charged with a crime. Perkins and his brother were raised by his grandmother and aunt. Their father had abandoned them.

Perkins was drafted into the Army, and while serving in Korea he applied himself to
Natalie Vellacott
Dated but interesting

This Christian biography dates back to the mid 1900's and events during Segregation in America. Although Segregation was being ruled unlawful in many areas, this account proves that many whites resisted these laws and continued as before.

I struggled with the style of this book and there was a lot of unnecessary detail. I lost interest towards the end.

The best part of this book is the exposure of nominalism in the black church in America. Indeed, the author had grown up sur
Jason Herrington
Jun 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
This is the story of John Perkins, who grew up close in Mendenhall, MS just a few hours away from where I grew up. Tells of his early life, coming to faith in CA & return to MS to help those in his hometown. Perkins’ faith guided his work for justice in racist, small town MS. He recounts some of the horrors of growing up black around Mendenhall in the mid 20th century, as well as some of the victories that were won for the black community during that time. I really appreciated this short biograp ...more
Nichole Tompkins
Jan 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an incredible story for any American to read and understand racism in the deep south. The book is a redemptive story and exemplifies the desire for justice that everyone has. It’s a great read but is geared more towards readers of faith, the ending encourages us to let justice roll on.
Andy Heckathorne
Jul 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Best book I’ve read so far on matters of race and faith. If you’d told me this book was written in the year 2020, I would have believed you - it couldn’t be more relevant.

Dr. Perkins skillfully tells stories of his own life while simultaneously defining and clarifying the relationship that economics and social status has with religion, bigotry and systemic racism. Perkins describes how his search for meaning eventually led to Jesus Christ as our ultimate model who overcame hatred and suffering w
Joshua Sloan
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“If sin can exist at every level of government, and in every human institution, then also the call to biblical justice in every corner of society must be sounded by those who claim a God of Justice as their Lord”
Aug 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobooks
Wish I had read this years ago. I’d say it should be required reading for most every white Christian in America. But especially white Christians raised in the south. It is especially timely as our country is again being challenged think about race issues in deeper ways. This is a book helping me to do that. The issues are complicated. But I can’t ignore the ways in which the white Evangelical church did little to help improve inequalities between whites and blacks … and worse, did more to secure ...more
Jeff Lochhead
Aug 20, 2022 rated it it was amazing
A few quotes that stood out amongst many...

"True Christian change works more like an old oak tree in the spring, when the new life inside pushes off the old dead leaves that still hang on." (72)

"Yeilding to God's will can always be hard. And sometimes, it really hurts. But it always brings peace." (82)

"Does the gospel--that is, the gospel as we presently preach it--have within itself the power to deal with radical attitudes? The thing that hit me was that the supposed presence of the gospel was
Teté Simim
Apr 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To be quite honest, I had no idea how this book ended up on my bookshelf. I grabbed it and was very curious but almost put it back because it had no cover. However, I decided to read it simply based on the title "Let Justice Roll Down". Immediately my curiosity became curiouser.

For such a small book, it had so much to say. It brought me to tears multiple times. Not only because of the raw truth of what it was like for a black man (black families, black persons in general) during [pre-] civil rig
Melody Schwarting
Dec 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
A giant in the Civil Rights movement, John Perkins here tells his life story, through the 1960s (he's still alive). Born and raised in rural Mississippi, Perkins witnessed his brother die after being shot in the stomach by law enforcement, though his brother had done nothing except have black skin on a Saturday night. The Perkins family, by John's acknowledgment, were troublemakers--they didn't attend church, and were the county's bootleggers.

After moving to California with his wife, following h
Baylor Heath
Sep 08, 2022 rated it really liked it
John's words in recounting being beaten and horrifically tortured by white officers who falsely imprisoned him:

"I can't forget their faces. It was like looking at white-faced demons. Hate did that to them. But ya know, I couldn't hate back. When I saw what hate done to them, I couldn't hate back. I could only pity them. I didn't ever want hate to do to me what it had already done to those men."

In this first memoir of his, John Perkins recounts his early experiences of racial injustice, his salv
Jul 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Egregious injustices like those faced by black Americans in the mid-century south naturally call forth responses from incredibly diverse ideologies. Many of the responses to the inexcusable violation of human rights in places like Mississippi came from ideologies largely at odds with biblical Christianity. Even the Christian reactions came in forms such as James Cone's liberation theology, which was more than questionably orthodox. It is something to be ashamed of that most men and women of my f ...more
Unchong Berkey
Jun 21, 2020 rated it liked it
John Perkins, born in 1930, grew up in poverty in Mississippi, enduring racism, the death of his brother at the hands of a corrupt sheriff, and the overall hardships that characterized life for a black family in the racist deep South of the times. He was involved in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s and became a champion for racial reconciliation after coming to faith in Christ. Perkins’ words at the end of this memoir:

“Oh I know man is bad—depraved. There’s something built into him that ma
Dec 16, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: christian, memoirs
Published in the 70s, this memoir gives a snapshot of the life of John M. Perkins, whose childhood in Mississippi was marked with poverty, racism, and pain. God later saved Him and put in Him a desire to share the gospel & serve the community in Mississippi. He was treated abominably and unjustly, and in this book, he describes the wrestling of emotions in his heart. Jesus is victor, however, and wouldn’t let hate win. “The problem is spiritual,” Perkins wrote, “black or white, we all need to be ...more
Dec 16, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Primarily what stood out to me as an important message in this was the Christian’s need to think biblically. Time and again John Perkins would encounter white Christians who did not have the simple biblical understanding of loving ALL whom God has created. No matter the color.
Unfortunately we all allow society to distort our way of thinking. In one form or another. May we all make a conscience effort to think more like Christ has set out in his Word for us to speak today.

This was referenced in
Jul 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian
Both an evangelism classic (originally published in 1976) and primer on racial reconciliation, I'm grateful to read of Perkins's journey and experiences, and to better appreciate this amazing man. This past year has been historic for so many reasons, not the least of which is confronting the continuing racism so inherent in this country.
Key quotes for me:
"I do not understand why so many evangelicals find a sense of commitment to civil rights and Jesus Christ an 'either-or' proposition."

"If sin c
Jun 11, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A compelling life, a generous spirit, an honoring fortitude, Dr. Perkins’s lifesong is challenging, inviting, and seasoned with reflective grace. The humbleness and authentic faith that he displays throughout this narrative memoir is truly inspiring. I will read more about his life and his optimistic perspective.

A tribute...
Nathan Swedberg
Feb 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
- this would be a great read, especially for the next generation, when it comes to Civil Rights... and how different it has been for this man vs what you see today
- the testimony of John Perkins and the fruit of his life is staggering - here is a man who has loved when it made no sense and clung to a lived faith
Simon Acker
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Amazing testimony of God’s faithfulness and a man’s open heart. John M. Perkins trusted God with his life and God used Perkins to start the flow of justice in many places across this nation, especially in the South. Wow!
Apr 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Powerful book told from the perspective of the life of the author in his struggle with racism and his work to bring equality and justice to the African-American community in rural Mississippi. A must read for anyone interested in issues of race.
Laurel Hicks
I love this man.
Austenn Akers
Jul 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We all need to leave space to listen, listen, & listen.
Beth Lorow
Sep 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book should be required reading. Man. John Perkins is an incredible human being.
Anthony Rodriguez
Sep 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
1,000 stars. An incredible read. I am woefully under-educated on John Perkins. What a legend. This book is for today as much as it was for 40 years ago. Incredible.
David Chung
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
4.5 stars. The heart-rending, eye-opening memoir of John Perkins, activist and founder of CCDA. Provides an unflinching look at survival as a black man in rural Mississippi in the 1960's and 70's. Even calling it survival seems generous at times.

In an age where we can curate our social awareness to our liking, we need personal stories like this to rattle us into reality. Reflecting on how some white and black Christian communities responded to the issues of the day, Perkins challenges, "We need
Aug 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Pretty phenomenal book, by an amazing man. Perkins is the real deal. As a Southern Californian born and raised, I don’t quite grasp the apartheid (Perkins’ daughter’s own words) that went on for so long in the American South. I’m thankful for books like this that help me understand.
Jan 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I highly implore others, especially Christians, to read this book. What perspective, introspection, and awareness I have gained from listening to John's story. ...more
Feb 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
“They were like savages - like some horror out of the night. And I can’t forget their faces, so twisted with hate. It was like looking at white-faced demons. Hate did that to them.

But you know, I couldn’t hate back. When I saw what hate had done to them, I couldn’t hate back. I could only pity them. I didn’t ever want hate to do to me what it has already done to those men.”

If anyone had a reason to hold on to hate, it’s John Perkins. In this biographical book, he outlines some of the major inci
Cory St. Esprit
Oct 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book angered me - but in just the way a book like this is supposed to. Written by one of the fathers of the Civil Rights Movement and by a leading agent in Christian Community Development, I was angered by the stories from both a perspective of "How could this happen" and "How has my privilege led to this continuing to happen?" Yet through all, the Gospel shines through Perkins's life and reminds me that our God is bigger and greater and mightier. There is hope for reconciliation both withi ...more
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Dr. John M. Perkins is the founder and president emeritus of the John and Vera Mae Perkins Foundation and cofounder of Christian Community Development Association. He has served in advisory roles under five U.S. presidents, is one of the leading evangelical voices to come out of the American civil rights movement, and is an author and international speaker on issues of reconciliation, leadership, ...more

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