CMEC “Saint of the Month” Dr. James L. Farmer

Published February 3, 2014

FarmerArticle in honor of Black History Month and courtesy of the Central Maryland Ecumenical Council (CMEC)

James L. Farmer is our “Saint of the Month” on this first day of Black History Month” –February.  He was born on January 12, 1920 in Marshall, Texas where he entered Wiley College in Marshall at the young age of 14. Upon graduation in 1938 he entered “….Howard University’s school of Religion. He graduated from Howard in 1941. Rather than becoming an ordained Methodist minister, Farmer told his father he would rather fight the church’s policy of segregated congregations, and choose instead to work for the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR). Farmer was FOR’s secretary for race relations, helping the pacifist Quaker organization craft its responses to such social ills as war, violence, bigotry, and poverty. It was a job that left Farmer, who was then living in Chicago, Illinois, enough time to begin forming his own approach to these issues – one based less on FOR’s religious pacifism than on the principle of nonviolent resistance.”

[the quote is from Deaundrea Kidd’s biography of Dr. Farmer: for her full bio click here]
Dr. Farmer organized the nation’s first civil rights sit-in in Chicago, 1942, by 1960 he was included as one of the “Big Four” of the Civil Rights Movement which included Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Whitney Young and Roy Wilkins. In 1961 he organized the “Freedom Rides” to desegregate public buses. In 1998, just one year before his death on July 9, 1999, Dr. Farmer was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
[For more on the life of Dr. James L. Farmer on the James Farmer Multicultural Center web page – University of Mary Washington click here

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