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Dr. James H. Cone

Garrett Biblical Institute 1961 and 1965

Charles Augustus Briggs Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology, Union Theological Seminary, New York, New York

Widely recognized as the founder of black liberation theology, the Rev. Dr. James H. Cone is the Charles A. Briggs Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. Dr. Cone attended Shorter College and holds a B.A. degree from Philander Smith College. In 1961, he received a Master of Divinity degree from Garrett Theological Seminary and later earned an M.A. and Ph.D. from Northwestern University. Dr. Cone has been conferred 13 honorary degrees, including an honoris causa from the Institut Protestant de Théologie in Paris, France.

Among his numerous awards are the American Black Achievement Award in Religion given by Ebony Magazine, the Fund for Theological Education Award for contributions to theological education and scholarship, the Martin E. Marty Award for the Public Understanding of Religion, and the Eliza Garrett Distinguished Service Award in recognition of seminal theological scholarship from Garrett-Evangelical.

Dr. Cone is an ordained minister in the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. He is listed in the Directory of American Scholars, Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Religion, Who’s Who among African Americans, and Who’s Who in the World. He is the author of 12 books and more than 150 articles and has lectured at many universities and community organizations throughout the U.S., Europe, Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. He is an active member of numerous professional societies, including the Society for the Study of Black Religion, the American Academy of Religion, and the Ecumenical Association of Third World Theologians (EATWOT) in the Philippines.

Dr. Cone is best known for his ground-breaking works, Black Theology & Black Power (1969) and A Black Theology of Liberation (1970); he is also the author of the highly acclaimed God of the Oppressed (1975), and of Martin & Malcolm & America: A Dream or a Nightmare (1991), all of which have been translated into nine languages.  The 30th Anniversary of the publication of Black Theology & Black Power was celebrated at the University of Chicago Divinity School (April 1998), and a similar event was held for A Black Theology of Liberation at Garrett-Evangelical (April 2000) and at the Catholic Theological Society of America (June 2001). His research and teaching are in Christian theology, with special attention to Black liberation theology and the liberation theologies of Africa, Asia, and Latin America.  He also teaches 19th and 20th century European-American theologies. His latest book, The Cross and the Lynching Tree, received the 2012 Nautilus Silver Award in Religion/Spirituality-Western Traditions. It was an #1 best seller in religion in February 2012. Naming it one of the top religion books of 2011, Huffington Post editors said: “One of the great theologians of the late 20th century, Cone forces us to look hard at suffering, oppression and, ultimately, redemption.”

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