To Speak a Defiant Word: Sermons and Speeches on Justice and Transformation (Hardcover)

To Speak a Defiant Word: Sermons and Speeches on Justice and Transformation By Pauli Murray, Anthony B. Pinn (Editor), Michael Eric Dyson (Foreword by) Cover Image
By Pauli Murray, Anthony B. Pinn (Editor), Michael Eric Dyson (Foreword by)
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Twenty-five years of writings by the religious thinker and activist Pauli Murray
A Seminary Coop Notable Book of 2023
The religious thought and activism that shaped the late twentieth century is typically described in terms of Black men from the major Black denominations, a depiction that fails to account for the voices of those who not only challenged racism but also forced a confrontation with class and gender. Of these overlooked voices, none is more important than that of Pauli Murray (1910–1985), the nonbinary Black lawyer, activist, poet, and Episcopal priest who influenced such icons as Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Thurgood Marshall.
Anthony B. Pinn has collected Murray’s most important sermons, lectures, and speeches from 1960 through 1985, showcasing her religious thought and activism as well as her original and compassionate literary voice. In highlighting major themes in Murray’s writing—including the strength and rights of women, faithfulness, religious community, and suffering—Pinn’s collection reveals the evolution in Murray’s religious ideas and her sense of ministry, unpacking her role in a tumultuous period of American history, as well as her thriving legacy.

About the Author

Pauli Murray (1910–1985), a pathbreaking activist and religious thinker and the first African American woman ordained an Episcopal priest, was a leading figure in the fight for race and gender equality. Anthony B. Pinn is Agnes Cullen Arnold Distinguished Professor of Humanities and professor of religion at Rice University. His books include Interplay of Things: Religion, Art, and Presence Together; The Black Church in the Post–Civil Rights Era; and Varieties of African American Religious Experience. Michael Eric Dyson is University Distinguished Professor of African American and Diaspora Studies at Vanderbilt University and the author of Tears We Cannot Stop.

Praise For…

“These pieces make clear the range, depth, and prescience of Murray’s theological and activist ideas, and the inextricable links between the two. . . . A welcome reappraisal of a trailblazing yet underrecognized thinker.”—Publishers Weekly

“This is a compelling compendium of Murray’s theological insights and spiritual yearnings. True food for thought and for the soul and a call to each of us to live lives of justice and hope.”—Emilie M. Townes, Vanderbilt University Divinity School

“Pauli Murray’s life was remarkable by any stretch of the imagination, and it was lived at the crossroads of the 20th century’s struggle with civil rights, equal rights, women’s rights, and labor movements. In this necessary, original, and accessible collection, Anthony Pinn helps us embrace Pauli Murray with head, heart, and humanity.”—Stacey Floyd-Thomas, Vanderbilt University Divinity School

“Though she stepped into the pulpit late in life, Pauli Murray was a prophetic preacher throughout the 20th century, confronting the principalities of sexism and racism with her typewriter and her direct action. She confronted both the white supremacists who defended segregation and the Black men who thought they knew better, always with a certitude that made clear she drew from deep wells. In this collection of Murray’s sermons and lectures, we get to see how her trailblazing life of proclamation was rooted in both the Scriptures and a powerful understanding of God’s love for all creation. Drink deep from the wisdom that sustained this giant of the Movement.”—William J. Barber, II, author of We Are Called To Be a Movement

“In this indispensable collection, Anthony Pinn gives substantial attention to Pauli Murray’s sermons and lectures in tracking her religious development and growing theological perspectives. Unlike most scholarship on Murray’s religious turn, this collection offers a full-throated account of her activism, later in life, as an evolving expression of her religious growth.”—Keri Day, Princeton Theological Seminary

Product Details
ISBN: 9780300268065
ISBN-10: 0300268068
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication Date: August 1st, 2023
Pages: 416
Language: English