CFP: Howard Thurman’s Spiritual and Intellectual Contributions to the Civil Rights Movement

Howard Thurman (Flickr)

Gregory Ellison’s recently published edited volume on Howard Thurman explores the varied roles that the theologian, mystic, professor, and preacher played in the lives of scores of civil rights activists as Dean of the Chapel at Howard University. Further, the work explores Thurman’s impact as the pastor of the first interracial church in the U.S. and as the first Black Dean of the Chapel at Boston University, where he had a profound influence on Martin Luther King, Jr. Thurman, the subject of two recent biographies by Paul Harvey and Peter Eisenstadt, was one of the first Black educators to introduce the philosophy of nonviolence to young activists. Further, he was one of the first theologians to question the significance of Christianity for Black liberation.

Black Perspectives, the award-winning blog of the African American Intellectual History Society, invites blog posts that consider Howard Thurman’s spiritual and intellectual contributions to the civil rights movement through his roles as a preacher and professor. We are looking for essays on topics that include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Thurman and the significance of his book, Jesus and the Disinherited
  • Thurman, Gandhi, and the roots of nonviolence in African American activism
  • Thurman’s approach to interfaith, interracial worship at The Fellowship for the Church of all People
  • Thurman’s ideas on mysticism, social action, and the Beloved Community
  • Thurman’s influence on James Farmer, Martin Luther King, Pauli Murray, or other activists

The submissions should be between 1,000 to 1,500 words. They must be submitted to the senior editors ( no later than Friday, March 15 by 11:59 p.m Eastern. Please include your bio (250-300 words) and headshot (for use in promotion if your essay is accepted) with your submission.

All submissions will undergo a peer review process before they are accepted. Please click here for more details on the blog’s submission guidelines as well as information regarding format and citations.

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