Who is Howard Thurman?

020611_2103_WhoisHoward1.jpgCulture Shock’s mission is to illuminate the common ground between various communities while also celebrating the importance of our differences. This mission is inspired and informed by the namesake of our host institution, the Howard Thurman Center at Boston University.

Dr. Howard Thurman dedicated his life to building and bridging communities within higher education and beyond. He was many things to many people, including a preacher and teacher, a prolific author, a mentor to the young Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the Dean of Marsh Chapel here at BU.

Dr. Thurman was a dynamic instrument of social change. He founded the Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples (America’s first interracial, interfaith, and intercultural church); he spent time studying non-violence with Mahatma Gandhi in India; and he eventually became the first black Dean to serve at a pre-dominantly white university in the United States.

His message of common ground is a timeless one:

“[Man] will not mistake conformity for harmony, uniformity for synthesis. He will know that for all men to be alike is the death of life in man, and yet perceive the harmony that transcends diversities and in which diversity finds its richness and significance.”

For more about Dr. Howard Thurman, his philosophy, and his work, visit the Howard Thurman Center.