Howard Thurman: What Makes You Come Alive

Howard Thurman: Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. Because what the world needs are wo(men) who have come alive.

Photo courtesy: Patricia McDonald

Howard Thurman with A LUV KiCK

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. Because what the world needs are wo(men) who have come alive.

  • Howard Thurman was born in 1899 and passed away on April 10, 1981 in San Francisco, California.
  • Thurman was Dean of Chapel at Howard University and Boston University for more than two decades, wrote 21 books, and in 1944 helped found a multicultural church.
  • Born in Daytona Beach, Florida and grew up in the segregated South.
  • In 1923, Howard Thurman graduated from Morehouse College as valedictorian. He was ordained a Baptist minister in 1925, after completing his study at the Colgate Rochester Theological Seminary (now Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School). Shortly after ordination, he pastored Mount Zion Baptist Church in Oberlin, Ohio from 1925-1928. He then pursued further study as a special student of philosophy at Haverford College with Rufus Jones, a noted Quaker philosopher and mystic.
  • Thurman traveled broadly, heading Christian missions and meeting with world figures such as Mahatma Gandhi. When Thurman asked Gandhi what message he should take back to the United States, Gandhi said he regretted not having made nonviolence more visible as a practice worldwide and suggested some American black men would succeed where he had failed.
  • Thurman was married twice. He had two children: Olive, by his first wife Kate Kelly Thurman (she died in 1930 of tuberculosis), and Anne Spencer Thurman, by his second wife Sue Bailey Thurman. Sue Thurman was also active in civil rights and the religious communities. Olive Thurman married Victor Wong.

About Howard Thurman

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