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Backs Against the Wall:  The Howard Thurman Story

explores the extraordinary life of a man who, in his heart, was a poet and “mystic.” Yet through his religious expression, Thurman helped ignite sweeping social change. Though he was born the grandson of slaves, Howard Thurman went on to become one of the great spiritual and religious pioneers of the 20th century whose words and influence continues to echo today.

His landmark book, Jesus and the Disinherited, was the first to claim that Jesus Christ – who was born in poverty as part of a powerless minority – lived a life that spoke directly to Black Americans. Martin Luther King, Jr. not only regularly attended Thurman’s services, but he carried Thurman’s writings with him on the historic marches to Selma and Birmingham. King found Thurman to be a treasure and often drew from him in his own speeches and writings. Congressman John Lewis calls Howard Thurman the “patron saint” of the Civil Rights Movement.

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