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Rumi Forum Podcast

Rumi Forum was founded in 1999 with the mission to foster interfaith dialogue and intercultural understanding. The Forum aims to stimulate exchange of opinions in order to advance culture of democracy, freedom of thought, human rights and peace. For over 20 years, the Forum provides a common platform for building relationships, mutual learning and information exchange among adherents of different faiths. Our work has a particular focus on pluralism, peacemaking, interfaith dialogue, intercultural understanding, social harmony and community cohesion.

Nov 15, 2017

We sat down with author Ken Bedell on October 11th to talk about his new book Realizing the Civil Rights Dream: Diagnosing and Treating American Racism.

Book Synopsis:

This book explains why America can realize the civil rights dream in the 21st century—if U.S. citizens take actions as individuals as well as work together for equality.

It has been more than 53 years since Martin Luther King Jr. made his “I Have a Dream” speech. Why has the United States still not been able to make King’s dream a reality after a half a century of effort and progress? Is there still hope of full participation for all in America?

In Realizing the Civil Rights Dream: Diagnosing and Treating American Racism, author Kenneth B. Bedell proposes a civil rights dream that grows out of American history and speaks to the 21st-century reality. He makes the case that by adopting a larger perspective of the role of racism in preserving U.S. social, cultural, economic, and political institutions and practices, Americans can understand why it has been so difficult to fulfill the promises of the 1960s civil rights dream. Bedell describes and applies sociological theories that serve to explain why racism is still prevalent in the United States and identifies the steps that are necessary to overcome racism. The book concludes with proposals for ways to apply social science to realize the civil rights dream and examples of how individuals can take action to make a difference.


  • Asks—and answers—the troubling question: Why have the civil rights hopes of the 1960s not yet been realized?
  • Demonstrates the relationship between what happens in everyday life and racism’s persistence
  • Provides insightful historical context for racism as it exists in the 21st century
  • Presents a framework for understanding how social forces preserve racism
  • Offers a refreshingly optimistic perspective that racism can be overcome

Available for purchase on Amazon:


Ken Bedell, author of Realizing the Civil Rights Dream: Diagnosing and Treating American Racism earned his doctorate in sociology from Temple University and has graduate degrees in education (New York University), theology ( the University of South Africa and Colgate Rochester/Crozer Divinity School), and in chemistry (Cornell University). Bedell is ordained in the United Methodist Church where he has served local congregation for 18 years in New York, Maryland, and Ohio. His work in the church included teaching sociology and communications at United Theological Seminary (Dayton), heading up higher education work as Associate General Secretary of the Board of Higher Education and Ministry, holding leadership positions in the Methodist Federation for Social Action and the Reconciling Ministries Network, and serving on the Board of Trustees of Rust College, a HBCU in Mississippi. As the Executive Secretary for the International Association of Methodist Schools, Colleges and Universities, Ken traveled extensively visiting educational institutions in Brazil, Argentina, Korea, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Mozambique, and Austria. Most recently he served in the Obama administration as a Senior Advisor in the Department of Education. There he worked in the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and directed the President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge. Bedell published widely on topics as varied as the history of worship, the sociology of technology, computer technology in education, and race relations. The World Association for Christian Communication published his book, Different Ships, Same Boat, as part of a series on “In Search of Common Values.”