Thank you, Howard Thurman: Remembering an American spiritual master

Or N. Rose April 10, 2021

(RNS) — Forty years after the Rev. Howard Thurman’s death in 1981, we remember the distinguished African American preacher, writer, educator and communal leader who played a key role in the civil rights movement and was a pioneer in interreligious and cross-cultural engagement.

Thurman’s 1949 book “Jesus and the Disinherited” became a foundational text for many civil rights activists, including Martin Luther King Jr. Thurman also served as a pastoral guide to several prominent movement leaders, including MLK, James Farmer, Jesse Jackson and Pauli Murray.

But as we mark the anniversary of his death on Saturday (April 10), it’s worth recalling how this towering figure moved on a very human level.  Read article HERE.

Howard Thurman preached and taught nonviolence after meeting Mahatma Gandhi in India. Photo courtesy of Emory University
Howard Thurman preached and taught nonviolence after meeting Mahatma Gandhi in India. Photo courtesy of Emory University

Howard Thurman, mentor to King who preached nonviolence, featured in documentary

Adelle M. Banks January 17, 2019

Backs Against the Wall: The Howard Thurman Story,” a 55-minute film, highlights how King’s work and mission were shaped by the African-American mystic, theologian, and prolific writer.

The film’s director, Martin Doblmeier, said that when King arrived at Boston University as a doctor of theology student, he was already aware of Thurman. Thurman, who was on the faculty at the university and served as dean of its chapel, had attended Morehouse College with King’s father, Martin Luther King Sr.

Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., who also worked with King, recalled that it was Thurman who provided King with a spiritual basis for nonviolence after visiting Mahatma Gandhi in India, shaping King’s strategy for resisting Jim Crow laws in the American South of the 1950s.

Thurman “came back (from India) speaking and talking about the philosophy and the discipline of nonviolence and he would preach and teach at colleges and universities, would give these unbelievable lectures,” Lewis recalled in the documentary. “It influenced Dr. King a great deal. He painted a picture. He made it real.” Read this article HERE.

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