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James H. Cone

Theologian James Hal Cone was born on August 5, 1938 in Fordyce, Arkansas. With his parents’ teachings on faith and his strong understanding of the value of an education, Cone began his formal training with a diploma from Ouachita County Training High School in 1954. That same year, he received his call to the ministry and became a pastor at age sixteen. After receiving his B.A. degree from Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1958, he attended Garrett Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois where he received his B.D. degree in 1961. Continuing his studies, Cone received both his M.A. degree in 1963 and his Ph.D. in systematic theology in 1965 from Northwestern University.

Armed with a strong divinity education and serving as an ordained minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Cone began his professional career as a professor at Philander Smith College, in 1966. He then taught at Adrian College in Michigan. Beginning in 1970, Cone joined the faculty of Union Theological Seminary in New York, where in 1977, he was awarded the distinguished Charles A. Briggs Chair in Systematic Theology. Cone also created a systematic Black theology. Cone created a Christian theology that was based on African American experience, history, and culture.

Among his numerous books are Black Theology and Black Power (1969), A Black Theology of Liberation (1970), For My People: Black Theology and the Black Church (1984), Martin & Malcolm & America: A Dream or Nightmare (1992), and Speaking the Truth: Ecumenism, Liberation and Black Theology (1999).

Cone passed away on April 28, 2018.

Accession Number

A2006.004

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/24/2006 |and| 5/10/2006

Last Name

Cone

Maker Category
Middle Name

H.

Occupation
Schools

Philander Smith College

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary

Northwestern University

First Name

James

Birth City, State, Country

Fordyce

HM ID

CON03

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France

Favorite Quote

Black Theology.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

8/5/1938

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Salmon, Broccoli, Potatoes

Death Date

4/28/2018

Short Description

Theologian James H. Cone (1938 - 2018 ) was an ordained minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and a faculty member of the Union Theological Seminary. Rev. Cone was also the author of 'Black Theology and Black Power,' 'A Black Theology of Liberation,' and 'Speaking the Truth: Ecumenism, Liberation and Black Theology.'

Employment

Philander Smith College

Adrian College

Union Theological Seminary

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of James H. Cone's interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - James H. Cone lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - James H. Cone describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - James H. Cone talks about his maternal uncle who ran away from home to study

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - James H. Cone talks about his maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - James H. Cone describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - James H. Cone talks about his mother's emphasis on education and his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - James H. Cone recalls his father's lawsuit against Ouachita County Training School

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - James H. Cone talks about the demographics of Bearden, Arkansas

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - James H. Cone describes his childhood neighborhood in Bearden, Arkansas

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - James H. Cone describes how his church and community influenced him

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - James H. Cone recalls the community leaders of Bearden, Arkansas

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - James H. Cone recalls memories of the black community in Bearden

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - James H. Cone recalls race relations in Bearden, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - James H. Cone recalls attending first grade and his uncles in World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - James H. Cone recalls his parents' lessons about segregation

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - James H. Cone recalls his admiration for black lawyers and ministers

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - James H. Cone recalls the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - James H. Cone remembers the murder of Emmett Till

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - James H. Cone recalls his calling to the ministry

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - James H. Cone recalls his decision to attend Shorter College in North Little Rock, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - James H. Cone recalls attending Philander Smith College before integration

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - James H. Cone recalls the integration of Little Rock's Central High School

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - James H. Cone talks about Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - James H. Cone talks about Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s philosophy

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - James H. Cone reflects upon the differences in white and black religious doctrines regarding segregation

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - James H. Cone recalls debating whether to interrupt a white Methodist church

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - James H. Cone recounts the history of the African Methodist Episcopal church

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - James H. Cone describes his experience of segregation in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - James H. Cone recalls Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s visit to Chicago

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - James H. Cone recalls his initial turn toward the black power movement

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - James H. Cone describes his interpretation of black power

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - James H. Cone compares the audiences of Martin Luther King., Jr. and Malcolm X

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - James H. Cone reflects upon the Nation of Islam and his own mis-education

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - James H. Cone describes his discovery of blackness in the gospel

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - James H. Cone talks about his theological writings on black power

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - James H. Cone describes the white clergy's support of the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - James H. Cone describes the emergence of the black power movement

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - James H. Cone reflects upon what led him to black theology

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - James H. Cone reflects upon the clergy's reception of his black theology

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - James H. Cone reflects upon his teachings on black theology

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - James H. Cone talks about teaching that Jesus Christ was a person of color

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - James H. Cone reflects upon the segregation of churches

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - James H. Cone reflects upon the demography of the Catholic church

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - James H. Cone talks about Minister Louis Farrakhan

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - James H. Cone narrates his photographs

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Slating of James H. Cone's interview, session 2

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - James H. Cone recalls teaching religion and philosophy at Philander Smith College

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - James H. Cone explains what precipitated the Watts riots of 1965

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - James H. Cone recalls the passage of the Voting Rights Act and the Watts riots

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - James H. Cone recalls his resignation from Philander Smith College

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - James H. Cone recalls how he founded black theology, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - James H. Cone recalls how he founded black theology, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - James H. Cone describes how he reconciled his race with his religion

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - James H. Cone describes his decision to maintain his role as a theologian

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - James H. Cone compares the struggles of Jesus Christ and the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - James H. Cone describes Martin Luther King's and the clergy's response to black theology

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - James H. Cone calls for white churches to denounce African Americans' oppression

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - James H. Cone reflects upon the role of the church in slavery

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - James H. Cone describes Malcolm X's point of view regarding Christianity

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - James H. Cone reflects upon how race affected interpretations of Christianity

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - James H. Cone talks about the misrepresentation of Jesus Christ's race

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - James H. Cone recalls being offered a position at Union Theological Seminary

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - James H. Cone recalls the African American community's response to his first book

Tape: 6 Story: 12 - James H. Cone describes his position as a black theologian and a Christian

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - James H. Cone reflects upon the acceptance and relevance of black theology

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - James H. Cone reflects upon the incompatibility of the ministry and politics

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - James H. Cone talks about contemporary religious incidents

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - James H. Cone reflects upon his career

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - James H. Cone describes the greatest achievement of the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - James H. Cone reflects upon the genocide in Darfur, Sudan

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - James H. Cone describes his hopes for the African American community

DASession

1$2

DATape

3$6

DAStory

6$3

DATitle
James H. Cone reflects upon the Nation of Islam and his own mis-education
James H. Cone compares the struggles of Jesus Christ and the African American community
Transcript
If blackness was the bond in the North, what role did Islam play in Malcolm's [Malcolm X] life and in the movement and in your life as a theologian and a Christian?$$See Malcolm was talking about black in the '50s [1950s] from the time he got out of prison. So Nation of Islam was describing Christianity at the white man's religion all the way back in the 1930s and '40s [1940s]. Now Elijah Muhammad didn't emphasize blackness, Malcolm emphasized that, but Elijah Muhammad did critique whiteness, and he critiqued Christianity in the most powerful way that anyone could think about from a black point of view. So already with Malcolm's voice criticizing the churches for preaching a white man's religion, that impacted us profoundly in the church, particularly in the '60s [1960s]. Now we sort of passed it off in the '50s [1950s], but when black power emerged we could see the whiteness of Christianity as white people preached it. And as it was found in the black churches 'cause we had these white pictures of Jesus in these black churches. We could see this white gospel that was being preached. Now--and we begin to say now how can we black people bow down to a white Jesus. We are not worshiping a God that looks like us, a savior that looks like us. We are worshiping a savior that look just like the man who oppresses us. Now that's a powerful message, and it was a Muslim that articulated that in such a way down in Harlem [New York, New York], in Detroit [Michigan], in Chicago [Illinois], they articulated that with the force of moral and religious power that no black could ignore that. I certainly could not.$$So what did that make you think about the education that you'd received--(simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Well I--$$Of and, and--$$Yeah, the education that I received.$$Was white (laughter).$$I said, I said (laughter) I sort of smiled, and I said, you know, I've been mis-educated, mis-educated. I remember going back reading Carter G. Woodson, 'The Mis-Education of the Negro.' And which if you teach a person what to think you don't have to worry about what he does. And here I had learned all this theology, all this religion, six years in graduate school [Garrett Theological Seminary; Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Evanston, Illinois] I was studying religion, white religion. Teaching me what the gospel was about; all these theologians I read but not one of them mentioned anything about black people, anything about black people's struggle for justice in this society. Here, I was in seminary from '58 [1958] to '64 [1964] and didn't read one book by a black person, didn't hear anything about the Civil Rights Movement in my classes. And when I got my conversion to blackness I got myself liberated from the mis-education I had learned in graduate school. That's when I knew I had to either leave the church or discover in that gospel the truth that would empower black people in their struggle for justice.$So how did you relate the struggle of Jesus Christ to the struggle of black people?$$Well, I began to see that Jesus did not come from an advantaged group. Jesus was a Jew in the time in which Rome oppressed the Jews. So Jesus was a carpenter; he was a man who was concerned about the poor, the weak, the helpless in the society. There was no doubt about that when you read the New Testament. Jesus didn't say blessed are the rich for they shall inherit the kingdom of God. No; blessed are the poor, blessed are the meek, blessed are those who struggle for justice; that the blessed right there. So it wasn't difficult--Jesus began his ministry by saying the Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. To set at liberty the captives and to set free those in prison. Now that's how he started his career, and he died just like black people died in those riots. He died humiliated on a cross like a lynched victim, like white people lynching black people. So if you want to understand something about Jesus, you have to see what happened to black people in this society. As Jesus was crucified, and the crucifixion was nothing but a lynching, a 1st century lynching. It happened to slaves; it happened to the foreigners, not to the Romans citizens. So when you come to this country, then Jesus was in a similar position that black people are in this country. So the lynching of black people was nothing but a crucifixion and people like Langston Hughes and W.E.B. Du Bois, Countee Cullen, they made that connection between lynching and the crucifixion. Between Jesus-what's happened to black people and what's happened to Jesus in the 1st century and I saw that. And anybody can see if you read the Bible with a little bit of openness.$$What did your critics say?$$They did not like what I was writing, and they came at me fiercely, but I was ready for that. Because I went into the ministry in order to defend the gospel, in order to preach the gospel. And in order to do precisely who in--the very same thing that the one who embodied that gospel to us, namely Jesus Christ. So I--you cannot do right and not expect people to oppose you. King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] had already demonstrated that, and so had Malcolm X. So I was not surprised when there were objections to the way in which I understood the Christian faith. And they were powerful. And, and especially in the white community, but a lot of people in the black community didn't like it either.

Reverend Gayraud Wilmore

Writer, historian, educator and theologian Gayraud Stephen Wilmore was born on December 20, 1921 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His mother was a domestic worker and his father, a World War I veteran, was an office clerk. His parents were active in the community where he grew up, and his father founded the first Black American Legion Post in Pennsylvania. He attended Central High School later renamed Benjamin Franklin where he was active in the drama club and wrote for the student newspaper. In 1937 Wilmore, just a junior in high school won a citywide contest for an essay he had written on Benjamin Franklin. He was also a member of the Young Communist League; he left the organization several years later after he discovered “he would not be allowed to think for himself.” He received his high school diploma in 1938. After high school, his studies at Lincoln University were interrupted when he was drafted into the army.

As a “Buffalo Soldier,” he served with the all black 92nd Infantry division in Italy. In 1943, he received his call to the ministry while dodging bullets in a foxhole during the war. He received his bachelor’s of arts degree in 1947 and his bachelor’s of divinity in 1950 from Lincoln University. He was also installed as the pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church in Westchester, Pennsylvania in 1950, and would serve that congregation for three years. In 1951, Wilmore helped integrate Westchester elementary schools; his son was the first black student to attend an all white school. In 1953, he began his work with students as an associate executive with the United Presbyterian Church’s Department of Social Education and Action, a position he held for five years. From 1959 to 1963, Wilmore was an assistant professor of social ethics at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. From there, he served as the executive director of the United Presbyterian Commission on Religion and Race until 1972. In that position, he helped to organize and train ministers who participated in boycotts and protests in the South during the Civil Rights movement. From 1972-1974, he taught Social Ethics at Boston University School of Theology, and then taught Black church studies at Colgate Rochester Divinity School until 1983. Wilmore served as the dean of the divinity program at New York Theological Seminary until 1987 before becoming a teacher of church history at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta. In 1990, he became the editor of The Journal of the ITC, and he remained in that post for five years. From 1995-1998, Wilmore was an adjunct professor at the United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio.

Wilmore has written and edited sixteen books including Black Religion and Black Radicalism: An Interpretation of the Religious History of African Americans, which was published in 1998, and Pragmatic Spirituality, which was published in June of 2004. He is also the recipient of innumerable awards and honors.

Wilmore was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 21, 2004.

Accession Number

A2004.088

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/21/2004

Last Name

Wilmore

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Central High School

Temple University

Lincoln University

Speakers Bureau

No

First Name

Gayraud

Birth City, State, Country

Philadelphia

HM ID

WIL16

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Abaco Island, Bahamas

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

12/20/1921

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken

Short Description

Pastor and theologian Reverend Gayraud Wilmore (1921 - ) was the pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church in Westchester, Pennsylvania, and has served as a professor at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and Interdenominational Theological Seminary, and worked as the executive director of the United Presbyterian Commission on Religion and Race.

Employment

United States Army

Second Presbyterian Church

United Presbyterian Church's Department of Social Education and Action

Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

United Presbyterian Commission on Religion and Race

Boston University School of Theology

Colgate Rochester Divinity School

New York Theological Seminary

Interdenominational Theological Center

Journal of the Interdenominational Theological Center

United Theological Seminary

Favorite Color

Brown

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Reverend Gayraud Wilmore's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Reverend Gayraud Wilmore lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Reverend Gayraud Wilmore describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Reverend Gayraud Wilmore talks about his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Reverend Gayraud Wilmore describes his mother's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Reverend Gayraud Wilmore describes his father's work and personality

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Reverend Gayraud Wilmore talks about his maternal and paternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Reverend Gayraud Wilmore describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Reverend Gayraud Wilmore describes his family life growing up in North Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Reverend Gayraud Wilmore describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in North Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Reverend Gayraud Wilmore talks about his experiences attending Elisha Kent Kane School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Reverend Gayraud Wilmore describes his childhood personality

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Reverend Gayraud Wilmore describes his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Reverend Gayraud Wilmore talks about winning a city-wide essay contest in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Reverend Gayraud Wilmore talks about individuals who influenced him growing up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Reverend Gayraud Wilmore describes his experience at Benjamin Franklin High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Reverend Gayraud Wilmore talks about founding a drama club and joining the Young Communists League as a teenager

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Reverend Gayraud Wilmore talks about his aspirations as a high school student at Benjamin Franklin High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Reverend Gayraud Wilmore talks about his decision to go to Lincoln University in Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Reverend Gayraud Wilmore describes his experiences at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Reverend Gayraud Wilmore talks about being enlisted in the U.S. Army

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Reverend Gayraud Wilmore talks about completing his college education at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania and attending seminary school

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Reverend Gayraud Wilmore talks about his affiliation to the Communist Party and timeline following his stint with the U.S. Army

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Reverend Gayraud Wilmore describes his wife's reaction to his decision to enter the ministry

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Reverend Gayraud Wilmore talks about his calling to the ministry while he was in combat during World War II

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Reverend Gayraud Wilmore describes his work with the Mid-Atlantic student Christian movement

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Reverend Gayraud Wilmore explains how he became active in the Civil Rights Movement through the Presbyterian church, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Reverend Gayraud Wilmore describes his experiences working in the South during the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Reverend Gayraud Wilmore explains how he became active in the Civil Rights Movement through the Presbyterian church, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Reverend Gayraud Wilmore talks about resigning from his work with the Presbyterian church in New York, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Reverend Gayraud Wilmore talks about his experiences teaching at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School in Rochester, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Reverend Gayraud Wilmore talks about his students, including what he hopes they have gained

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Reverend Gayraud Wilmore describes his seminary teaching experiences in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Reverend Gayraud Wilmore talks about his writing and challenges facing African American churches

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Reverend Gayraud Wilmore describes an experience his family shared with white neighbors while living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and his sermon topics

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Reverend Gayraud Wilmore talks about effects of the Black Power movement on education about African American history and religion

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Reverend Gayraud Wilmore talks about the importance of white ministries to acknowledge and incorporate African American church history

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Reverend Gayraud Wilmore reflects upon his ministry to students

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Reverend Gayraud Wilmore reflects upon ministerial goals, his chosen career and his late father's support for his writing

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Reverend Gayraud Wilmore describes his hope and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Reverend Gayraud Wilmore explains the importance of African American history

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Reverend Gayraud Wilmore describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Reverend Gayraud Wilmore reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Reverend Gayraud Wilmore narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$4

DAStory

8$1

DATitle
Reverend Gayraud Wilmore describes his earliest childhood memories
Reverend Gayraud Wilmore talks about effects of the Black Power movement on education about African American history and religion
Transcript
What is your earliest memory of growing up?$$Earliest memory, a very early memory is the coming of white immigrants from Eastern Europe into the neighborhood in which we lived. Boys and girls who came from Poland or someplace in eastern Europe, Russia who didn't speak English, who were coming into this black neighborhood because that was the cheapest rental property you could find. They came as immigrants just at the close of the great European immigration to the United States in the early '20s [1920s] which was stopped after the First World War [WWI, World War I]. I remember that we taught how to speak English and--the kids but I also remember that very shortly after they arrived, like maybe six months or a year, they learned the word nigger from white people and they soon moved out to neighborhoods that were not open to us in the next ring of residential living in North Philadelphia. So that's a early memory, I remember fighting white boys on my way to Fairmount Park [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania] which was not far from where we lived but you had to fight to get through to Fairmount Park at 26th and 27th Street on Jefferson and on some of those other streets that ran out to the park. You would almost always be accosted by white gangs or white kids and you had to fight. So those are early memories. I went to a white school; I never had a black teacher when I was in either elementary school or high school. I went to a school called Kane Elementary School [ph.] and the earliest memory I have is of the smell of the carpet in the kindergarten class (laugh), at Kane elementary school [Elisha Kent Kane School]. It was a straw carpet and I remember the woman's name was Mrs. Rudolph [ph.]. Mrs. Rudolph was the kindergarten teacher, white woman of course, very kind, very nice to me and I and a few other little black children from that neighborhood went through our first grades at Kane.$When the Black Power movement started, you see. Black Power started around 1965 out of the [James] Meredith March and [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther] King's [Jr.] failure in Chicago [Illinois]. Out of that came a northern movement of black clergy which was more radical than King. Some people would have said that it was a violent movement. It wasn't violent, but it was a movement that wanted to emphasize the ethnicity--the ethnic identity of African Americans; the history of African Americans as contributive to our strong concern about justice and our demand that the academy--the white academy recognize this history and this philosophical or theological perspective that came out of the black church. When I was in Colgate Rochester [Crozer Divinity School, Rochester, New York], the students had just come through a rebellion against the faculty and administration because of the lack of teaching about African American religion and about the black church. They locked themselves up in the administration building and for several days ministers in the community fed them through buckets that were let down from windows. They really took over at campus and stopped everything until they were promised a Martin Luther King professorship and a greater emphasis upon black church history and greater involvement of the school itself and the work of justice in the African American community of Rochester. Well I came at that time and so I was a part of that new emphasis upon black studies in theology. That was already going on in the college issue, though; just beginning I guess during King's--the latter part of King's ministry. But when I went to New York [New York], it was at its height after I had gone to Pittsburgh [Pennsylvania]. I went to New York, it was at its height and while I was directing the commission on religion and race of the Presbyterian Church, I helped to organize a group called the National Committee of Black Churchmen, NCBC and that group published a long statement in the New York Times and in the Los Angeles Times on Black Power--a theological meaning of Black Power. It spelled Black Power out from the perspective of those who believed in Jesus Christ and from the perspective of the church, what were we after, who were we, why were we emphasizing blackness or the identity of black people as being important to give pride and self-esteem to our children, young people in this struggle. We also organized a group called The Society for the Study of Black Religion in 1970 and that organization is still in existence. I've been president of it, I am one of the past presidents and it is made up of men and women who are teaching in universities and theological seminaries in the field of African American religious studies in Bible and history, theology and so forth. So it's a very important part of my life, a very important movement in academia. I haven't said very much about it in this interview but we could talk more about it if you'd like.