Revisiting the Legacy of Howard Thurman, the Mystic of the Civil Rights Movement

By Gene Zubovich | Source: Religion & Politics

n February, local PBS stations will premiere an hour-long documentary about a theological giant of the twentieth century, Howard Thurman (1899-1981). Famous among activists for his influence on the civil rights movement, Thurman is a complicated figure who defies easy categorization. Capturing the central features of Thurman’s life, ministry, and writings is no easy task. The film, titled Backs Against the Wall, focuses on Thurman’s influence on Martin Luther King Jr. and the struggle to end Jim Crow. It admirably revives Thurman’s reputation as a theologian of the civil rights movement but at the cost of diminishing his other legacies and other aspects of his life’s work.

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