The University of Chicago News Office
March 31, 1998 Press Contact: Julia Morse
(773) 702-8359
morse@uchicago.edu
 

Landmark conference on black religion draws Cornel West, Stephen Carter, Emilie Townes, Manning Marabel and others

Cone to lecture on 30th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination

One of the most important, radical books about black religion--Black Theology, Black Power by James Cone--is being celebrated at the University of Chicago Divinity School in anticipation of the book's 30th anniversary. It is the first conference in America on black religion in 20 years.

The conference takes place from Thursday, April 2 to Sunday April 5 at the University of Chicago's Divinity School, 1025 E. 58th St. Registration is free and open to the public.

James Cone will give the University's Aims of Religion Address on Saturday, April 4, in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination.

Social critic Cornel West, law scholar Stephen Carter, political economist Manning Marabel, social ethicist Emilie M. Townes, feminist theologian Rebecca Chop, public policy and religion scholar Rosemary Reuther, American religion scholar Gayraud Wilmore, theologian David Tracy, black religion scholar Dwight Hopkins, and James Cone himself will gather for the landmark conference examining the impact Black Theology, Black Power has had on American black society and the spiritual survival of the black community.

"You can't talk about the black church's relationship to God without talking about James Cone," said Dwight Hopkins, Associate Professor at the University of Chicago Divinity School and the organizer of the conference. "It's central to black religion in America."

Hopkins added, "The publication of Black Theology, Black Power was the first time that liberation for the poorest in society was interpreted to be the central message in the gospel. In the book, Cone said that churches may need to be concerned with the salvation of individuals, but the black church as a whole is not a Christian church if does not concentrate on the structural liberation of poor communities.

"And if you think that's radical now," Hopkins finished, laughing, "think how radical it was when the book was published in 1969, when Nixon was president."

 

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