The prophetic voices of ecumenical faith leaders became the catalyst for the Civil Rights movement for a ‘Righteous America.’ These faith leaders used their pulpits and sacred spaces to address their concerns for the least advantaged amongst them. The American society–founded on a hunger and thirst for religious freedom–was turning a deaf ear to the pleas of the marginalized people. At the same time, a group of leaders, spanning racial and religious identities, led the charge for equality. These interfaith leaders debated, protested, collaborated, and led the way to the historic signing of the Civil Rights Act of July 2, 1964 and Voting Rights Act on August 6, 1965. These “Acts” brought us closer to realizing the lofty ideals of the American experiment, rendering equality under the law a closer reality for all people regardless of color, sex, or religious beliefs.
The Social Justice Institute aims to reclaim the role of the prophetic voices in public life, pulpits and sacred spaces. These prophetic voices are essential to move forward issues of social justice. This five day intensive continuing education institute is designed to train a diverse group of seminarians, clergy, and laity through conversations, lectures, worship, and fellowship. The institute endeavors to deepen their thinking and preaching through insights from scholars and practitioners on the issues of poverty, race, religion, sexuality, and theology.
Participants will have a week to think deeply about these issues. The demanding schedule includes:
- Plenary sessions on social justice and the prophetic voice
- Lectures on poverty, race and sexuality
- Worship Services around the thought leadership of Samuel Proctor, Howard Thurman, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Pauli Murray
- Town Hall on Faith & Justice: The 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act
- Access to Boston University’s archives and libraries and Charles River campus
- Three defined daily reflection periods
- Facilitated group discussions
Town Hall on Faith & Justice: The 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, August 6, 2015
The Town Hall will convene on the 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act. It will be made up of leaders who understand the role of faith that emerged across religious and racial identities and was the catalyst for the Civil Rights Movement. It examines how the discourse was framed through a collective prophetic voice of justice, advocating equality for the betterment of all.
Boston University is a leading private research institution with two primary campuses in the heart of Boston and programs around the world. It traces its roots to the establishment of the Newbury Biblical Institute in Newbury, Vermont in 1839, and was chartered with the name “Boston University” by the Massachusetts Legislature in 1869. The University organized formal centennial observances both in 1939 and 1989.
Boston University’s founders opened its doors to all students without regard to religion, race, or gender. Building and sustaining a vibrant community of scholars, students, and staff remains essential to our mission of contributing to and preparing students to thrive in an increasingly interconnected world.
Boston University School of Theology is one of about 15 university-based seminaries in the United States. It is a premiere small professional school nestled with access to all the resources of the country’s fourth-largest private research university. It has been home to some of the foremost religious thought leaders of their time to include Anna Howard Shaw, Howard Thurman, Samuel DeWitt Proctor, and Martin Luther King, Jr.
The school’s history of marrying academic rigor with social justice is still vital and effective nearly two centuries later. It continues to attract students who seek the best theological training to take action in their local, national, or global context. This is a major distinguishing factor of our school: we believe that to “want to change the world” is more than cliché–it is actually possible.
Social Justice Institute Confirmed Faculty & Presenters
- Adam Bond, Assistant Professor of Historical Studies, Samuel Dewitt Proctor School of Theology, Virginia Union University
- John M. Borders, III, Bishop & Senior Pastor, Morning Star Baptist Church, Mattapan, MA
- Burns Stanfield, President, The Greater Boston Interfaith Organization; Senior Pastor, Fourth Presbyterian Church
- Delman Coates, Director, The Black Church Center for Justice and Equality; Senior Pastor, Mt. Ennon Church, Clinton, MD
- Iva Carruthers, General Secretary, Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference; Professor Emeritus, Northeastern Illinois University
- Andrew Davies, Director, Edward Cadbury Centre for the Public Understanding of Religion; Professor of Biblical Interpretation, University of Birmingham, England
- Chris Evans, Professor of History of Christianity & Methodist Studies, Boston University School of Theology
- Susannah Heschel, Eli Black Professor of Jewish Studies, Dartmouth College
- Jamal-Dominique Hopkins, President/C.E.O., Institute for Advanced African Christian Thought and Research Fellow, Cooley Center, Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary
- Sheila Jackson Lee, Congresswoman (TX-D), United States House of Representatives
- Alisha Lola Jones, Research Faculty in Ethnomusicology & Sociology of Religion, Indiana University
- Pamela Lightsey, Associate Dean; Clinical Assistant Professor of Contextual Theology & Practice, Boston University School of Theology
- Marvin A. McMickle, President & Professor of Church Leadership; Director of Black Church Studies, Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School
- Peter Morales, President, Unitarian Universal Association
- Mary Elizabeth Moore, Dean & Professor of Education, Boston University School of Theology
- Khalil Muhammad, Director, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
- Diana Swancutt, Director, Boston Poverty Consortium; Research Associate Professor of Bible, Religion, and Global Justice, Boston University School of Theology; Global Justice Fellow, Yale University
- Jonathan Walton, Plummer Professor of Christian Morals & Pusey Minister, Memorial Church; Professor of Religion and Society, Harvard University
- Peter Edelman, Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Law and Public Policy; Faculty Director, Center on Poverty and Equality; Georgetown Law
- Myrlie Evers-Williams, Civil Rights Activist, Evers Institute
- Dolores Huerta, Labor Leader & Civil Rights Activist, United Farm Workers
- Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, Victor S. Thomas Professor of History and of African American Studies; Chair, Department of African and African American Studies, Harvard University
- TD Jakes, Bishop & Senior Pastor, The Potters House
- Spike Lee, Film Director, Producer, & Actor, 40 Acres & a Mule Filmworks
- Peter Morales, President, Unitarian Universal Association
- Charles Ogletree, Jesse Climenko Professor of Law, Harvard Law School and Founding & Executive Director, Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice.
- Keith Magee, Convener, Social Justice Institute & Visiting Researcher, Boston University School of Theology; Distinguished Senior Fellow of Social Justice & Religion, University of Birmingham, England
- Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center
- Howard Thurman Center
- Inclusion Initiative | Third Sector New England
- Museum of African American History, Boston & Nantucket