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Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter

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Information about Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter

Profile image of Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
ReligionMakers
Occupation(s):
Community Activist
Minister

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
Chicken, Fish
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Southern United States
Favorite Quote:
We Are Either Transformers Of The Society With Which We Live, Or We Are Transformed And Deformed By It.

Birthplace

Born:
4/2/1932
Birth Location:
Mineral Springs, Arkansas

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
ReligionMakers
Occupation(s):
Community Activist
Minister

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
Chicken, Fish
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Southern United States
Favorite Quote:
We Are Either Transformers Of The Society With Which We Live, Or We Are Transformed And Deformed By It.

Birthplace

Born:
4/2/1932
Birth Location:
Mineral Springs
See how Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Minister and community activist Rev. Kwame John R. Porter, Ph.D. was born on April 2, 1932 in Mineral Springs, Arkansas to Steve Porter and Retha Hendricks-Porter. In 1939, when Porter was eight years old, his family moved to Kansas City, Kansas. He graduated from Douglass Elementary School in Kansas City in 1945, then from Northeast Junior High School in 1948, and subsequently from Sumner High School in 1951. Porter received his Associate Arts degree from Kansas Community College in 1953. After attending Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa for one year, Porter enlisted in the U.S. Army in October 1954, and was stationed at Ft. Bliss in Texas, Ft. Smith in Arkansas, and Ft. Carson in Colorado. In 1955, Porter reported to Ulm, Germany, where he remained until receiving an honorable discharge in August 1957.

In September of 1957, Porter returned to the U.S. and enrolled at Iowa Wesleyan College in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. He graduated in 1959 with his B.A. degree in Sociology and minors in Religion, Philosophy and Education. Following graduation, Porter was awarded a three-year fellowship grant to explore the Christian ministry at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. In February of 1960, he co-organized the local CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) chapter. Under his leadership, the chapter protested Woolworth stores in support of the Southern Student Sit-In Movement. In 1961, Porter became the first African American elected as President of the Dempster League. In 1962, he received his M.A. degree in Divinity from Garrett Seminary. Following graduation, Porter was appointed as assistant pastor under Rev. Harry Connor at the Normal Park United Methodist Church (UMC) in Englewood, and then as full-time pastor at the Christ UMC in that community.

In August 1962, Porter joined Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and thousands of non-violent protesters at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s (SCLC) first mass anti-segregation demonstration in Albany, Georgia. Porter was jailed for six days following the event. In August 1963, Porter attended the March on Washington; and, in 1965, he assembled eighty Chicago residents to attend the voting rights march in Selma, Alabama. In the spring of 1964, Dr. King and the SCLC leadership gave Porter permission to launch SCLC’s first Chicago chapter. Porter mobilized ten thousand Englewood residents for Dr. King’s “Get Out the Vote Rally” on October 29, 1964. Porter’s church in Englewood served as one of the rallying points for a series of anti-segregation marches into all-white neighborhoods, when the Chicago Freedom Movement invited Dr. King and his staff to spend summer of 1966 in Chicago.

From 1968 to 1970, Porter taught as Adjunct Professor at Northeastern Illinois University’s Center for Inner City Studies. In 1970, he taught an African American History course at George Williams College in Downers Grove, Illinois. From 1971 to 1974, Porter served as Dean of the Chicago Center for Black Religious Studies. He then served as Urban Vice President for Young Life International from 1974 until 1979. He also earned his Ph.D. degree in Interdisciplinary Sociology from Union Graduate School (now Union Institute & University) in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1975.

Porter is the author of six books and has received numerous honors for his commitment to social and racial justice. Porter and his wife, June, reside in Chicago’s Hyde Park community and have six children, thirteen grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.

Porter passed away on April 7, 2019.

Kwame John R. Porter was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 10, 2003.

See how Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter's interview, pt.1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Slating of Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter's interview, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter talks about his mother's family
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter talks about his family tree
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter shares family stories from the Reconstruction era
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter shares a story about a folk hero from Tollette, Arkansas
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter shares a story about a traditional healer in his parents' community, "Aunt Caroline" Dye, pt.1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter talks about the sixth sense present in his family
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter talks about African naming rituals
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter talks about his mother's troubled marriage to his stepfather
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter talks about his father
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter describes his father
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter talks about the rift in his father's family
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter describes how his parents met
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter remembers meeting the woman his father went with to California
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter explains why he did not have contact with his father
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter lists his siblings
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter recalls the sights, sounds, and smells of growing up in Kansas City, Kansas
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter remembers Douglass Elementary School in Kansas City, Kansas
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter recalls his experience at Northeast Junior High School in Kansas City, Kansas
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter remembers his time at Sumner High School in Kansas City, Kansas
  • Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter remembers joining Mason Memorial United Methodist Church in Kansas City, Kansas
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter talks about the importance of black heroes and black athletes in his childhood
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter remembers seeing Satchel Paige and Joe Louis
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter describes his father-in-law's influence
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter lists the influential male role models from his youth, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter lists the influential male role models from his youth, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter describes his childhood home in Kansas City, Kansas
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter talks about his experience at Kansas City Kansas Community College in Kansas City, Kansas
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter recalls playing intramural basketball for a Jewish fraternity at Drake University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter details his travels with the U.S. Army
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter explains why he left the U.S. Army upon learning about the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter talks about his experience at Iowa Wesleyan College
  • Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter remembers Dr. Warren Steinkraus
  • Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter remembers Tom Mboya
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter talks about his evolving view of preachers
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter names some of his memorable professor at Garrett Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter talks about his experience at Garrett Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter remembers his first job as assistant pastor at Normal Park Methodist Episcopal Church
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter recalls being invited by Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to a protest in Albany, Georgia
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter remembers his experience demonstrating in Albany, Georgia in 1962
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter recalls fighting against racism in Chicago, Illinois in 1962
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter explains the differences between the Baptist and Methodist churches
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter talks about the support for social movements in the United Methodist Church
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter remembers important civil rights events in Chicago, Illinois during the 1960s
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter recalls the organizing that occurred for the marches in Selma, Alabama
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter remembers Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter recalls HistoryMaker Jesse Jackson's involvement with SCLC and Operation Breadbasket
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter dispels rumors regarding HistoryMaker Reverend Jesse L. Jackson
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter explains the aftermath of Dr. King's assassination in Englewood, Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter recalls the many programs that Christ United Methodist Church supported
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter remembers the Chicago chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter remembers the Chicago chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter remembers the people involved in the Chicago Freedom Movement
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter recalls giving a prayer at Harold Washington's mayoral campaign announcement in 1982
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter remembers important figures in the Chicago Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter describes community organizations in Englewood, Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter remembers Hal Baskin's community organizing in the Chicago, Illinois neighborhood of Englewood
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter talks about various community groups that developed in Englewood, Chicago, Illinois in the 1990s
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter talks about his family's accomplishments
  • Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter talks about the Black United Front
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter describes his theological philosophy, pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter describes his theological philosophy, pt. 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter describes his theological philosophy, pt. 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter shares a story about a traditional healer in his parents' community, "Aunt Caroline" Dye, pt. 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter shares a story about an African shaman
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter talks about the need for black theology
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter reflects upon his legacy, pt.1
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter talks about the formation of the New Englewood Historical Society
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter reflects upon his legacy pt. 2
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter remembers helping HistoryMakers Louis Farrakhan and Bobby Rush
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter talks about the need for determination and concern in the African American community
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter considers what he would have done differently
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Kwame John R. Porter describes how he would like to be remembered