There is something in every one of you that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in yourself. It is the only true guide you will ever have. And if you cannot hear it, you will all of your life spend your days on the ends of strings that somebody else pulls.
Born near Palm Beach, FL on November 18, and grew up in Daytona Beach, FL. Raised by his mother and grandmother (who was a slave) after his father dies when Thurman is 7 years old.
Begins high school at the Florida Baptist Academy in Jacksonville, FL because “coloreds” were allowed to complete only to 7th grade.
Graduates as valedictorian of his class and receives a tuition scholarship to Morehouse College.
Graduates as valedictorian from Morehouse College, Atlanta, GA.
Becomes ordained minister after earning seminary degree from Colgate-Rochester Theological Seminary. Graduates as valedictorian of seminary class.
Begins ministerial duties as pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Oberlin, Ohio.
Studies philosophy and mysticism at Haverford College with Rufus Jones, Quaker philosopher, mystic, and pacifist.
Secures joint professorship in religion at Morehouse and Spelman College in Atlanta, GA.
First wife, Kate Kelley Thurman, mother of their first child, Olive dies from tuberculosis, acquired from her work as a social worker in the black branch of the Anti-Tuberculosis of Atlanta.
In June, marries activist and educator, Sue Bailey, who later (1934) becomes mother of second daughter, Anne Spencer Thurman.
Assumes post of Professor and Dean of Rankin Chapel at Howard University in Washington, DC.
Led “Pilgrimage of Friendship” to India, Burma, and Ceylon where he meets Mahatma Gandhi. Vows to live by teachings of Indian spiritual and political leader.
Co-founds and becomes pastor at the first intentional multi-racial congregation—Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples in San Francisco, CA.
“Fellowship Church” grows to 250 members (at least half of whom are White, the remainder Black, Chinese, Japanese and Filipino) with international support from Great Britain, Japan, South Africa, India, Iran, and Taiwan.
Publishes his most famous book, Jesus and the Disinherited using New Testament gospels to describe how a non-violent civil rights movement could be successful. This book would influence a number of civil rights leaders among them James Farmer founder of the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) and Martin Luther King, Jr. who carried the book with him whenever he marched.
Life Magazine names Howard Thurman as the twelve “Greatest Preachers of the 20th Century.” Ebony Magazine designates Thurman as one of the 50 most important figures in African American History.
Leaves Fellowship Church to become first African American Professor and Dean of Marsh Chapel at Boston University, a position he held until he retired in 1965.
Becomes Director of the Howard Thurman Educational Trust and Minister Emeritus at Fellowship Church.
Passes away in San Francisco on April 10, 1981.
New York: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1981.
Boston: Beacon Press, (1949), 1996 (reprint edition).
Boston: Beacon Press, 1999
Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 1981
Richard, Indiana: Friends United Press, 1978
Richard, Indiana: Friends United Press, 1963
Westminster John Knox Press, 2020
Orbis Books, 2022
Presence: An International Journal of Spiritual Direction, 18, 14-22, 2012
Boston: Beacon Press, 1998
Minneapolis: Augsburg Books, 2009.
Indiana: Friends United Press, 1991
New York: Orbis, 2006
Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 2009, 2012, 2015, 2017, 2019
Recently, the Howard Thurman Papers Projects completed publication of a five volume set filled with selected speeches, lectures, or sermons, and correspondence. The five volumes are intended primarily for scholars and seminary students writing papers on Howard Thurman but are available for order and purchase from any bookstore or online.