A Leap of Faith, a Leap of Action: Excerpts from a Memoir

Article by William Sloane Coffin

  In order to get as much advanced standing as possible, I shamelessly bypassed the Yale admissions office, accepting the offer of Henri Peyre, the chairman of Yale’s French department, that he accompany me on a visit to Dean De Vane, who presided over the academic affairs of the college. Monsieur Peyre boldly proposed that …

In Keeping with the Prophets: The Mississippi Summer of 1964

Article by James Findlay

Twenty-five years ago the nation’s attention was riveted on the civil rights struggle in the South. That struggle entered one of its critical stages in the summer of 1964 when young black civil rights workers in Mississippi, aided by about 800 white college students from the North, tried to bring blacks in the Magnolia state …

In the Churches, in the Streets: Taylor Branch on ‘the King Years’

Article by Robert Westbrook

At the height of the watershed civil rights demonstrations in Birmingham, Alabama, in the spring of 1963, as the battle in the streets turned in favor of the demonstrators, a jubilant Martin Luther King, Jr., addressed an overflow crowd at St. Luke’s Baptist Church and saluted those who had braved police dogs and filled the …

Martin Luther King’s Vision of the Beloved Community

Article by Kenneth L. Smith and Ira G. Zepp, Jr.

Central to the thinking of Martin Luther King was the concept of the "Beloved Community." Liberalism and personalism provided its theological and philosophical foundations, and nonviolence the means to attain it. True, King’s initial optimism about the possibility of actualizing that community in history was in time qualified by Reinhold Niebuhr’s Christian realism. But the …

The Impact of a Cultural Revolutionary

Article by James M. Cone

No one had a greater impact on the cultural consciousness of African-Americans during the second half of the 20th century than Malcolm X. More than anyone else he revolutionized the black mind, transforming docile Negroes and self-effacing colored people into proud blacks and self-confident African-Americans. Civil rights activists became Black Power militants and declared, “It’s …