The work of this Unit is focused on creating conversations around the unique contributions of Martin Luther King Jr. to the Christian theological tradition in the twentieth century and to the religious, cultural, political, and economic consequences of his work. We are particularly interested in the many facets of the Civil Rights Movement, of which King was a significant part. These explorations have included a focus on the role of women in the movement, the economic dimensions of King’s work, and his use of both the theological traditions and rhetoric of the Black Church. In all of our sessions we are interested in fostering inter- and multidisciplinary approaches to this project.
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Theology of Martin Luther King Jr. Unit
Call for Proposals for November Meeting
Author Meets Critics: AnnMarie Mingo, Have You Got Good Religion? Black Women's Faith, Courage, and Moral Leadership in the Civil Rights Movement (60 minutes)
The MLK Unit invites round table proposals that consider AnnMarie Mingo's 2024 University of Illinois Press publication, Have you Got Good Religion? Black Women's Faith, Courage, and Moral Leadership in the Civil Rights Movement. From the Publisher: "What compels a person to risk her life to change deeply rooted systems of injustice in ways that may not benefit her? The thousands of Black Churchwomen who took part in civil rights protests drew on faith, courage, and moral imagination to acquire the lived experiences at the heart of the answers to that question. AnneMarie Mingo brings these forgotten witnesses into the historical narrative to explore the moral and ethical world of a generation of Black Churchwomen and the extraordinary liberation theology they created." In this session, we invite panelists to engage and think with Mingo in relation to the argument of the text. AnnMarie Mingo will offer a response to the papers.
Civil Rights Act of 1964: Sixty Years Later (90 minutes)
In 1963 President John F. Kennedy announced to the United States his intent to back a sweeping piece of Civil Rights legislation. In the same address, Kennedy argued that the freedom of the Nation was inextricably tied to the freedom of all of its citizens. Martin Luther King Jr. supported and advocated for the Bill. Indeed, after the 1963 March on Washington, King wrote that "The hundreds of thousands who marched in Washington to level barriers...summed up everything in a word - NOW. What is the content of NOW? Everything, not some things, in the President's civil rights bil is part of NOW" (King, "In a Word - Now").
The Theology of Martin Luther King, Jr. unit invites papers that critically take up the substance of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in relation to the Theology/Ethics/Practice of Martin Luther King, Jr. We are interested in papers that both engage the history and that also demonstrate an attentiveness to the present struggles for Civil Rights. How might King offer a lens through which to meditate on the intersection between religion and civil rights? How might we adjudicate the present state of civil rights from the vantage point of the aims of the 1964 legislation? How do questions of religion, theology, gender, and race, complicate the question of civil rights and religion, broadly conceived? These and other questions animate the Theology of Martin Luther King, Jr. unit's call for papers.
Statement of Purpose
Steering Committee Members
Adam Clark, Xavier University1/1/2024 - 12/31/2029
Leslie R. James, DePauw University1/1/2024 - 12/31/2029
David Justice, Saint Louis University1/1/2022 - 12/31/2027
Valerie Miles-Tribble, Berkeley School of Theology1/1/2020 - 12/31/2025
Jalen Parks, Yale University1/1/2024 - 12/31/2029
Larry Perry, University of Tennessee1/1/2022 - 12/31/2027