This Worldwide Struggle

Posted on August 15, 2017 by PLT Staff

Lecture given by Sarah Azaransky at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA (May 2017). Azaransky centers the talk around her new book, This Worldwide Struggle: Religion and the International Roots of the Civil Rights Movement (Oxford University Press, 2017), which studies a network of black American Christian intellectuals and activists who looked towards independent movements, particularly in India and West Africa, for an inspiring model of the American racial justice campaign. First defining black Christian internationalism and acknowledging the category of religion itself as pivotal to the international civil rights movement, she ends with one pivotal exchange between theologian Howard Thurman and Indian civil rights leader Mahatma Gandhi in the mid-1930s and the profound religious and political reflection that resulted. The lecture ends at minute mark 34:30, beginning the Q&A portion. For a listing of all our Occasional Lectures, click here.

Excerpt: “Thurman followed up and asked Gandhi, ‘how are we to train individuals or communities in this difficult art of nonviolence?’ Thurman answered by describing in detail ahimsa, or non injury and also noncooperation, and what these might look like in the context of Jim Crow. It was at the end of this meeting that Gandhi proclaimed, ‘it may be through black Americans that the unadulterated message of nonviolence will be delivered to the world.’ So here we have Gandhi’s benediction of the later movement, and this exchange… shows the significance really, too, of critique and engagement to building effective social movements. Certainly it strikes me, too, that these are the kinds of lessons that we need today as we’re developing our ownas Thurman would want us todisciplines, methods, and techniques toward a more just social order.”

  • Audio Information
  • Date Recorded:May 2017
  • Location Recorded:Charlottesville, VA
  • Audio File:Download File »
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