return to religion-online

Civil Rights Movement

  1. A Leap of Faith, a Leap of Action: Excerpts from a Memoir by William Sloane Coffin

    William Sloane Coffin’s Once to Every Man (Atheneum) recounts the rich career of an activist clergyman who served as chaplain at Yale University for 17 years, during which time he was involved in civil rights demonstrations in the south, student work camps in Africa, Peace Corps training in Puerto Rico, and antiwar protests in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere.  Of the two excerpts from that book, the first is an account of Coffin’s own student days at Yale; the second concerns his activities as Yale chaplain in support of draft resistance.

  2. In Keeping with the Prophets: The Mississippi Summer of 1964 by James Findlay

    James Findlay reports that his survey of many of the 300 ministers who participated in the National Council of Churches' black voter education drive in the summer of 1964 revealed that it was a life-changing moment vividly remembered after nearly a quarter of a century. In addition Findlay comments that it was also a culture-changing time when an outpouring of support from outside the South in the struggle for racial justice forced this issue toward the beginning of a resolution.

  3. In the Churches, in the Streets: Taylor Branch on ‘the King Years’ by Robert Westbrook

    The author reviews Branch's Parting the Waters, a history of the civil rights movement.

  4. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1929-1968: In Memoriam by Gilbert H. Caldwell

    It is possible to kill a human being but not an idea. Let us confess to God how often we destroy dreams with our apathy, violate visions with our sophisticated arrogance, and prevent prophecy with our politics of pragmatism.

  5. Martin Luther King’s Vision of the Beloved Community by Kenneth L. Smith and Ira G. Zepp, Jr.

    King believed that a community of love, justice and solidarity would eventually be actualized. That is why he worked unceasingly for the realization of his dream.

  6. Non-Violence and Racial Justice by Martin Luther King

    The aftermath of non-violence is the creation of a beloved community, while the aftermath of violence is tragic bitterness.

  7. Racism, Reparations and Accountability Payback? by Victoria J. Barnett

    While proponents of reparations for blacks present their case in the clear-cut language of a legal claim for damages, the issue is really political and moral, and this sets certain limitations.

  8. Remembering King Through His Ideals by Preston Williams

    Why have many social critics and reformers, including both conservatives and liberals, found fault with the ideals of Martin Luther King, Jr.? His conviction was that only love can truly unite men and women of diverse cultures, religions, races and classes, for we all possess equally the dignity and respect that the God of love and power conferred upon us.

  9. Righteous Resistance and Martin Luther King, Jr. by John C. Raines

    Whether they were learned 40 years ago in Warsaw, or 20 years ago along the hot and dusty roads of Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia, the lessons of righteous resistance are universal. They belong not to one but to all people who struggle for their dignity.

  10. The Impact of a Cultural Revolutionary by James M. Cone

    All Americans owe Malcolm a great debt. He was not a racist, as many misguided observers have claimed. He was an uncompromising truth-teller whose love for his people empowered him to respect all human beings.

  11. The King Assassination: After Three Decades, Another Verdict by James W. Douglass

    Almost 32 years after King’s murder at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis on April 4, 1968, a court extended the circle of responsibility for the assassination beyond the now deceased James Earl Ray, the man sentenced for the crime.

  12. The Mississippi Freedom Summer Twenty Years Later by Edward McNulty

    No monuments or celebrations commemorate the 1964 invasion of Mississippi. Instead, there are dedicated people living and working here, resolved to carry on the way begun then -- and largely abandoned by the rest of the country.