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Garrett-Evangelical and Northwestern University to Host Conference Celebrating 50th Anniversary of James Hal Cone’s Black Theology & Black Power

September 3, 2019
James Cone in Chapel

On November 1-2, 2019, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and Northwestern University will host scholars, religious leaders, and activists for “Black Theology and Black Power: Retrospect and Prospect”, a conference reflecting on James Hal Cone’s seminal work, Black Theology & Black Power, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the book’s publication.

A distinguished alum of Garrett-Evangelical and Northwestern University, Cone is arguably the most influential theologian of the twentieth century. His inauguration of the field of black theology marks a crucial turning point for “theology” and decades later, Cone’s influence, writings, and scholarship continue to shape generations of scholars, religious leaders, and activists working for the dismantling of white supremacy.

At this two-day conference, participants will examine Cone’s metanoia that liberation is the meaning and blackness is the mode of the enslaved who claim to speak of God. Globally recognized keynote speakers, Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry and Dr. Eddie Glaude, along with scholars in religion, theology, black diaspora studies, political science, history, literature, gender and sexuality studies, as well as artists will share the impact of Cone’s work on the world. Additional sessions specifically focused on religious leaders and activists are in development and will be shared soon on the conference website.

“James Cone represents the best in the scholarly ideal. He lived a life of purpose, helped us see the potential of a theology dedicated to social justice and liberation, and was unapologetic in recognizing the humanity of the oppressed. Cone was a giant, and we are all lucky that we can stand on his shoulders today,” said Provost Jonathan Holloway of Northwestern University.

Taurean J. Webb, director of Garrett’s Center for the Church and the Black Experience (CBE) said, “This convening is especially exciting because we’re not only celebrating the 50th anniversary of a seminal text by a seminal thinker, but we’re also commemorating the half-century founding anniversary of the CBE. This was a founding moment very much informed by Cone’s Black Theology & Black Power, and we’re thrilled that this conference will help us kick off the Center’s commemorative activities.”

The conference is free to attend and is sponsored by Northwestern University, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, and the Smithsonian Institution, with the generous support from the Henry Luce Foundation. To assist with travel costs, a scholarship has been established for religious leaders, seminary students, and master of arts and doctoral students at Northwestern.

To learn more about the conference and to register, please visit: