February 27, 2019

Black Theologian James Cone Subject of Tribute at Labyrinth

James Cone

Princeton University Professor of Religion Elaine Pagels, Professor and Chair of African American Studies at Princeton Eddie Glaude Jr., and Tara Bedeau, attorney and former graduate student of James Cone, will pay tribute to his life and work and discuss his posthumously published book Said I Wasn’t Gonna Tell Nobody: The Making of a Black Theologian on Thursday, February 28 at 6 p.m. The Library Live at Labyrinth event will take place at Labyrinth Books, 122 Nassau Street.

James H. Cone is widely recognized as the founder of Black Liberation Theology — a synthesis of the Gospel message embodied by Martin Luther King, Jr., and the spirit of Black Pride embodied by Malcolm X. Prompted by the Detroit riots and the death of King, Cone, a young theology professor, was impelled to write his first book, Black Theology and Black Power, followed by A Black Theology of Liberation. According to the Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock, pastor, Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, “Most academic theologians write and speak. James Cone roared. Unlike almost anyone else in the twentieth century, his distinctive and disruptive voice — centering the liberation of the oppressed–spurred a tectonic shift in theological discourse and on the landscape of theological education. Any comprehensive account of the conversation in American theology about the meaning of the gospel, the mission of the church and its implications for the American empire, must respond to Cone.”

James H. Cone (1938-2018) was professor of systematic theology at Union Theological Seminary. His books include Black Theology of Liberation, Martin & Malcolm and America: A Dream or a Nightmare, and The Cross and the Lynching Tree, winner of the 2018 Grawemeyer Award in Religion. Tara Bedeau is founder of Precise Aim Consulting, and chaplain at Mount Sinai Hospital. Elaine Pagels is the author of numerous books, including The Gnostic Gospels, The Origin of Satan, and most recently Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas and Why Religion? A Personal Story. Eddie Glaude is best known for his books Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul, and In a Shade of Blue: Pragmatism and the Politics of Black America.