Skip to comments.Black Biography: Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr.
Posted on 03/21/2008 2:41:21 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
Born on September 22, 1941, in Philadelphia, PA; son of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Sr. and Dr. Mary Henderson Wright; married Ramah Reed; children: Janet Marie, Jeri Lynne, Nikol, Nathan, Jamila
Education: Virginia Union University, 1959-61; Howard University, BA, 1968, MA, 1969; University of Chicago School of Divinity, MA, 1975; United Theological Seminary, DMin, Black Sacred music, 1990.
Religion: United Church of Christ.
Military/Wartime Service: U.S. Marine Corps, private first class, 1961-63; U.S. Navy, hospital corpsman third class, 1964-67.
Memberships: Selected: Ministers for Racial and Social Justice, United Church of Christ, 1972-; Black Theology Project, Board of Directors, 1975-95; Evangelical Health Systems, Board of Directors, 1986-89; Chicago Theological Seminary, Board of Trustees, 1999-2000; Virginia Union University, Board of Trustees, 2001-.
Zion Church, interim pastor, 1968-69; Beth Eden Church, assistant pastor, 1969-1971; American Association of Theological Schools, researcher, 1970-72; Trinity United Church of Christ, pastor 1972-. Chicago Center for Black Religious Studies, executive director, 1974-75; Chicago Cluster of Theological Schools, lecturer, 1975-77; United Theological Seminary, professor, 1991-97; Chicago Theological Seminary, professor, 1998; Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary, professor, 1999.
Reverend Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. is one of the most widely acclaimed black preachers in the United States. Combining social concern, spiritual growth, and political activism, Wright, who preaches in a black traditional style, brings a message of hope, redemption, and renewal. In 1972 he became pastor of a small United Church of Christ congregation in the inner city of Chicago. After over 30 years in the pulpit, his congregation has grown to 10,000 and is the largest United Church of Christ congregation in the United States.
Wright was born on September 22, 1941, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Sr. and Dr. Mary Henderson Wright. His parents were his earliest influences, instilling in him a deep religious faith and a strong, positive image of his African-American culture. His father, who served as the pastor of Grace Baptist Church for 62 years was one of the first African Americans to receive a degree from the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, earning a master of sacred theology degree in 1949. Wright was educated in the public schools of Philadelphia.
In 1959 Wright enrolled at Virginia Union University, in Richmond, where he remained until 1961. That year he left school to join the military. He served in the Second Marine Division of the U.S. Marine Corps from 1961 to 1963, achieving the rank of private first class. In 1963 he graduated as valedictorian from the Great Lakes Naval Training Center, and from 1964 to 1967, he served as a cardio pulmonary technician at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland. During 1965 and 1966, he was awarded with three Presidential Commendations from President Lyndon B. Johnson.
After his discharge from the military, Wright continued his education. He enrolled at Howard University in Washington, D.C., in 1967, and was awarded a bachelor's degree in 1968 and a master's degree in 1969. He then entered the University of Chicago Divinity School, receiving a master of arts degree in 1975. He ended his formal education in 1990 when he earned a Doctor of Ministry degree in black sacred music from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio.
While continuing his studies, Wright also began making forays into a career in the ministry. Between 1968 and 1971 he served short-term stints first as interim pastor and then as an associate pastor. From 1970 to 1972 he was a researcher for the American Association of Theological Schools. He was also a columnist for Chicago's Independent Bulletin during 1972. Then, on March 1, 1972, 31-year-old Wright was hired as the pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, a position he continues to hold.
When Wright joined the staff of Trinity United Church of Christ as senior pastor, the inner city church boasted just 87 active members, most of whom came from the neighborhood surrounding the church. Wright embraced his new congregation and took up the phrase coined by his predecessor Rev. Dr. Reuben Sheares, "Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian." Within months the church had adopted the phrase as its motto and vision. Under Wright's leadership, fueled by his passion, and motivated by his preaching, the congregation began to grow by leaps and bounds. By 2004 there were over 10,000 members, with people coming from across the metro area. The congregation, which proudly notes its diverse socio-economic mix, dedicated a new 2,700 worship center in 1997.
According to Wright, the Christian call extends in two directions: upward to God and outward to the community. As a result, Wright takes seriously the need to reach out to others, especially Chicago's inner-city residents. Trinity has 70 ministry programs, 22 of which target youth. Half of the programs target the community, including adult education, literacy, computer, child care, and education for unemployed or low-income families. For Wright, religion, social outreach, and political activism go hand in hand. He vocally opposed the U.S. involvement in Iraq beginning in 2003 and has tackled such previously taboo issues such as AIDS from the pulpit.
As Wright's reputation grew as a powerful and dynamic preacher in the black sermonic tradition who incorporated music, politics, and social issues into his sermons, he became a sought-after lecturer and preacher. In 1993 he was named second on Ebony's list of the top black preachers in North America. Once admitting that he had considered a career as a seminary professor, Wright satisfied his desire to teach by accepting invitations to lecture and teach at numerous universities and seminaries. He first stepped in front of a classroom in 1974 as an adjunct professor at Chicago Theological Seminary. In 1975 he was an adjunct professor at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, and from 1976 to 1992 he served as an adjunct professor for the Seminary Consortium for Urban Pastoral Education. He has also taught courses at United Theological Seminary, North Park Theological Seminary, and Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary in Chicago.
Wright has authored several books, including Africans Who Shaped Our Faith, Good News! Sermons of Hope for Today's Families, and What Makes You So Strong? Sermons of Joy and Strength from Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. According to Cleophus J. LaRue in The Heart of Black Preaching, in his title sermon of What Makes You So Strong, Wright "demonstrates the power of the mighty sovereign at work in the lives of black people in twentieth century America. This sermon focuses on the root of black strength and survivability. Wright makes it clear throughout the sermon that the source of all strength, and especially black strength, is none other than the Spirit of God." As in his preaching, in his writing Wright focuses on the dual issues of corporate concern and spiritual sustenance. His latest publication, What Can Happen When We Pray: A Daily Devotional, was published in 2002.
In recognition of his contributions, Wright has been awarded seven honorary doctoral degrees. He has also served on a number of boards and commissions, including serving on the board of trustees for Virginia Union University and Chicago Theological Seminary. He continues to be a highly sought after preacher, teacher, and lecturer.
Selected: Howard University, Dean's List, 1968; The Fund for Theological Education, Rockefeller Fellowship, 1970-75; three Presidential Commendations from L.B. Johnson, 1965-66.
What Makes You So Strong? Sermons of Joy and Strength from Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. (ed. by Jini Kilgore Ross), Judson Press, 1993. Good News! Sermons of Hope for Today's Families (ed. by Jini Kilgore Ross), Judson Press, 1995. (With Colleen Birchett) Africans Who Shaped Our Faith, Urban Ministries, 1995. From One Brother to Another: Voices of African American Men (ed. by William J. Key and Robert Johnson-Smith II), Judson Press, 1996. (With Frank Madison Reid III and Colleen Birchett) When Black Men Stand Up for God : Reflections on the Million Man March, African American Images, 1996. Great Preachers: Jeremiah Wright (VHS recording), Odyssey Productions, 1998. Let Your Will Be Done (sound recording, with the Trinity United Church of Christ Sanctuary Choir), 2001. What Can Happen When We Pray: A Daily Devotional, Augsburg Fortress Publishers, 2002.
LaRue, Cleophus J., The Heart of Black Preaching, John Knox Press, 2000. Sadler, Kim Martin, ed. Atonement: The Million Man March, The Pilgrim Press, 1996. Who's Who Among African Americans, 16th ed., Gale Group, 2003. Periodicals The Grand Rapids Press (Grand Rapids, MI), June 22, 2002, p. B4. On-line "Jeremiah Wright's Good News: God Triumph Overcomes Seas of Troubles," The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, www.ltsp.edu/news/2002-2003/0303power_wright.htm (April 6, 2004). "Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr." The HistoryMakers: ReligionMakers, www.thehistorymakers.com/biography/biography.asp?bioindex=331&category=religionMakers (April 6, 2004). "Reverend Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr.," Corinthian Baptist Church (Philadelphia, PA), www.corinthianbaptistchurch.org/jeremiah_a_wright_jr.htm (April 26, 2004). "Reverend Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr.," Trinity United Church of Christ, www.tucc.org/pastor.htm (April 6, 2004). "Seven Last Words," Faith Community of Saint Sabina, www.saintsabina.org/spotlight/wright2004.htm (April 6, 2004).
He came up in the thick of the black rage era, when there were street riots after MLK’s death and the entire rise and denouement of the Panthers. Somewhere along the line he substituted his political experiences for the ongoing message of the gospel of the Living God.
Free at last! Free at last! Free at last!
They should mention the good reverend’s overseas trips with Louie F as well in the bio.
PhD. in Racial Division and Hate from Wassamatta U.
"Acclaimed" is not exactly the word America has in mind.
I was looking at his bio earlier today, out of curiosity as to who gave him his presidential commendations.
Turns out he participated in a surgery for LBJ back in ‘66.
Another interesting piece was that his Doctor of Divinity degree was honorary, not earned.
For all the press coverage received by Jesse Jackson during his trip to Cuba last summer, surprisingly little attention was paid to his speech at the University of Havana on June 27. It took President Reagan, speaking before a Hispanic audience two weeks ago, to remind the press of Rev. Jackson's chants at the end of that speech: "Long live Castro!" and "Long live Che Guevara!" Moments after Rev. Jackson extolled the memory of Che Guevara, he and Mr. Castro went to the Methodist Church in the Vedado section of Havana, where the Cuban Ecumenical Council and black religious leaders from the U.S. were holding a conference in memory of Martin Luther King Jr.
The Cuban Ecumenical Council openly supports the Cuban government and believes Marxism offers a correct interpretation of historical and class analysis. The Council claims that the "Kingdom of God" is now being fulfilled in Marxism-Leninism. Sergio Arce Martinez, a high official of the council and president of the Evangelical Seminary of Theology located outside of Havana, recently stated: "What was a dream before has been converted into reality in Cuba. It has confirmed my faith for me."
The council hosts interfaith workshops for European, Latin and U.S. leaders at the headquarters of the Institute of Cuban Friendship with the Peoples (Instituto Cubano de Amistad con los Pueblos-ICAP) in Havana. According to Juan Vives, a former senior intelligence officer who defected to the West, ICAP is a sector of Division G of the Cuban General Intelligence Directorate (DGI). The DGI, according to most reliable reports, is directed by the Soviet's KGB. The president of ICAP, Rene Rodriguez Cruz, is a ranking member of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party. He helped organize the 1980 Mariel boatlift to the U.S. and is one of four members of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party indicted by a Dade County, Fla., grand jury on Nov. 5, 1982, for drug smuggling.
In the early months of 1984, the Cuban Ecumenical Council, which has offices at ICAP, began to get in touch with religious leaders in the U.S. -- particularly those at Union Theological Seminary in New York. When the Cubans invited various individuals in the U.S. to participate in the weeklong conference in memory of Martin Luther King, the response they received was overwhelmingly positive. Personal contacts also were made by Raul Suarez, executive director of the Cuban Ecumenical Council, during a trip he made to Nicaragua in March 1984. There, he talked about the King conference with Jeremiah A. Wright, a pastor of the United Church of Christ in Chicago.
The additional propaganda effect of parading Rev. Jackson through DGI-orchestrated events was too great to pass up. The Cuban and Nicaraguan governments thought so much of the propaganda coup that both financially strapped governments paid practically all costs for Rev. Jackson and his 30-member entourage. Ernest Green, a partner in Green Associates and the person in charge of logistics for Rev. Jackson's trip, reported to the Washington Post that estimated costs for the trip exceeded $250,000-$300,000.
In Havana, Mr. Castro made Rev. Jackson's visit a national event. . . .
Wow. What a hard-charger! Managed only to get one promotion in two years in the Corps.
Makes a person go HHMMMMMM.
What’s that all about?
Oh mercy!! Think I'll turn in my Caduceus
Wright was born with a silver spoon in his mouth.
My (white) spouse was born into a dirt poor mining family in Appalachia. When he was 13 his father died. His mother had cancer and no money and they moved into a shack in a hollar. He went to work to help support the family.
He hates sob stories.
Don't you dare! He should turn in his, since he, not God, damns America.