The Howard Thurman Story

Sixth Annual Community Conversation on Race and Faith


Feb. 7, 2020, 5:30-9:30 p.m.


Our conversation this year will be primed by viewing the documentary, "Backs Against the Wall: The Howard Thurman Story," that explores the extraordinary life and legacy of one of the most important religious figures of the 20th century. Born the grandson of slaves, Thurman became a “spiritual foundation” for the Civil Rights Movement, inspiring many of its leaders including Martin Luther King Jr., Jesse Jackson, and Congressman John Lewis.

In the mid-1930s, Thurman was the first Black American invited to meet Mohandas Gandhi who shared his strategy of non-violent resistance. Gandhi suggested it would be through the African-American experience that the non-violence resistance movement could take on global significance. When Thurman returned to America, his writings and speeches planted the early seeds for the non-violent Civil Rights Movement.

Thurman is also remembered for helping launch The Fellowship Church for All People in San Francisco, a pioneering venture to create the nation’s first interracial, intercultural church community. Thurman was a gifted and prolific writer who authored more than 20 books and celebrated as one of the great preachers of his era. "Backs Against The Walls" is produced and directed by Martin Doblmeier.

This event is supported by the James A. Kelso Endowment and co-sponsored with Metro-Urban Initiative, PTS.


Martin Doblmeier, Documentary Filmmaker

Walter E. Fluker, Martin Luther King, Jr. Professor of Ethical Leadership, Boston University School of Theology



This event is free and open to the public. Advance registration is suggested so that we may provide sufficient refreshments for our guests. 



5:30 p.m.          Light Refreshments

6:30 p.m.          Program starts. Introductions - Film - Discussion with Mr. Doblmeier and Dr. Fluker.


Directions to the Seminary. Free parking is available on campus behind the chapel and library. There will be signs from the parking lot directing you to the event's location on campus.


0.2 CEUs are available for clergy or laity upon request by e-mailing


E-mail or call 412-924-1345.