Harry F. Ward
Harry Frederick Ward Jr. was an English-born American Methodist minister and political activist who identified himself with the movement for Christian socialism, best remembered as first national chairman of the American Civil Liberties Union from its creation in 1920 until his resignation in protest of the organization's decision to bar communists in 1940. Harry Frederick Ward, Jr. was born on October 15, 1873, in Chiswick, England. His parents were Harry F. Ward, Sr. a successful businessman and Methodist lay minister, Fanny Jeffrey. Ward's upbringing was steeped both in commercial and religious values and he began working in his father's business as a wagon-driver during his teenage years. In 1878 Ward was sent away to a boarding school, a rather harsh and inferior environment to the more illustrious public schools occupied by the sires of the upper class. In the estimation of Ward's biographer, Eugene P. Link, this experience quite contributed to Ward's distaste for differentiation of society into social classes.
During this interval Ward developed rheumatic heart problems which forced his removal from school to live with aunts in the rural environs of Lyndhurst, Hampshire. Ward remembered the experience favorably naming his son, the illustrator Lynd Ward, after the English south coastal town. In 1891, Ward emigrated to the United States at the age of 17 in pursuit of a higher education. In May 1891 Ward arrived in Salt Lake City, Utah, at the home of an uncle living there to take up work for him as a horse driver, he worked for a time as a farmhand for another uncle living in the neighboring Western state of Idaho. In addition to these and other jobs, Ward dedicated part of his time to Methodist evangelism as a lay minister preaching to passersby on street corners. In 1893 Ward was able to accomplish his goal of entering a university, enrolling at the University of Southern California, located in the still modest-sized town of Los Angeles. Ward became an admirer of a young political science instructor named George Albert Coe and, when Coe left USC for Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, at the end of Ward's freshman year, Ward followed his mentor there.
Ward majored in philosophy and minored in political science at Northwestern, with his background in populist Christian evangelism and social gospel-driven concern for the poor taking on a more politicized flavor, influenced at least to some extent by the anti-capitalist critique of Karl Marx. During his Northwestern University years Ward was active in intercollegiate debate, in which he was regarded as a skillful participant. Ward received a bachelor's degree from Northwestern in 1897 and, upon the recommendation of the Northwestern President Henry Wade Rogers, was granted a one-year scholarship to Harvard University, from which he graduated with a master's degree in philosophy in 1898. In 1898, he became an ordained Methodist minister. Following graduation, Ward took a position as head resident of Northwestern University Settlement, a settlement house located in Chicago, which sought to educate and improve the lives of impoverished immigrant workers of the city's meatpacking district; this settlement house was first launched in 1891, inspired by Hull House, established by Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr two years previously.
Ward would remain in this position as a resident amongst the urban poor until being forced out by the settlement's governing council due to personal conflicts in the summer of 1900. The English-born Ward gained American citizenship on October 10, 1898, at Cook County Courthouse in Chicago, shortly after beginning his life at Northwestern University Settlement. In 1898, Ward received his first posting to a Methodist pastorate as co-pastor of the Wabash Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church, he became involved in the wider Chicago Protestant movement, gaining election as Secretary of the Open and Institutional Church League. Ward first became an outspoken advocate of participation in "Christian politics" in this interval, declaring the necessity to put pressure for social reform upon the Chicago political structure without compromise, so as to help establish the "divine ideal, working out the dreams of the prophets, bringing in the Kingdom of God, establishing a true theocracy, a democracy led by God in the shape of the teachings of His Son."In October 1900, Ward was moved to the 47th Street Methodist Episcopal Church, another pastorate in the Chicago stockyards district with a congregation composed of working-class immigrants from Eastern Europe.
Ward was radicalized by contact with the impoverished workers who attended his church. Ward himself joined the fledgling Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen of North America in a show of solidarity with his parishioners, he joined the Civic Club of Chicago, where he became the chairman of its Committee on Labor Conditions. Ward evangelized the social gospel, sermonizing on matters of economics and poverty and the potential role of the church in the rectification of the structural failings of society. Following the birth of his second son in 1905, Ward took a one-year sabbatical leave during which time he seems to have read the works of Karl Marx for the first time. In the estimation of Ward biographer David Nelson Duke, the introduction to Marxism was not transformative for Ward, but rather "offered labels for and an interpretation of what he knew firsthand" from his life amongst Chicago's working poor. Ward returned to the pulpit in the fall of 1906 reenergized. Over the course of the next year he began to formulate plans with a trio of like-minded Methodist ministers from Ohio and others to establish a new organization within the Methodist community dedicated to advance religious princip
Cornel Ronald West is an American philosopher, political activist, social critic and public intellectual. The son of a Baptist minister, West focuses on the role of race and class in American society and the means by which people act and react to their "radical conditionedness". A radical democrat and democratic socialist, West draws intellectual contributions from multiple traditions, including Christianity, the black church, Marxism and transcendentalism. Among his most influential books are Race Matters and Democracy Matters. West is an outspoken voice in left-wing politics in the United States, as such has been critical of members of the Democratic Party, including former President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, he has held professorships at Harvard University, Princeton University, Yale University, Pepperdine University, Union Theological Seminary, the University of Paris during his career. He is a frequent commentator on politics and social issues in many media outlets. From 2010 through 2013, West co-hosted a radio program with Tavis Smiley, called West.
He has been featured in several documentaries, made appearances in Hollywood films such as The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, providing commentary for both films. West has made several spoken word and hip hop albums, due to his work, has been named MTV's Artist of the Week, he has been portrayed on Saturday Night Live by Kenan Thompson. West was born on June 2, 1953, in Tulsa and grew up in Sacramento, where he graduated from John F. Kennedy High School, his mother, was a teacher and principal, his father, Clifton Louis West Jr. was a general contractor for the Defense Department. Irene B. West Elementary School in Elk Grove, California, is named for his mother; as a young man, West marched in civil rights demonstrations and organized protests demanding black studies courses at his high school, where he was class president. He wrote that, in his youth, he admired "the sincere black militancy of Malcolm X, the defiant rage of the Black Panther Party, the livid black theology of James H. Cone."In 1970, after graduating from high school, he enrolled at Harvard College and took classes from the philosophers Robert Nozick and Stanley Cavell.
In 1973, West graduated from Harvard magna cum laude in civilization. He credits Harvard with exposing him to a broader range of ideas, influenced by his professors as well as the Black Panther Party. West says his Christianity prevented him from joining the BPP, instead choosing to work in local breakfast and church programs. After completing his undergraduate work at Harvard, West enrolled at Princeton University where he received a Doctor of Philosophy degree in 1980, becoming the first African American to graduate from Princeton with a PhD degree in philosophy. At Princeton, West was influenced by Richard Rorty's neopragmatism. Rorty remained a close colleague of West's for many years following West's graduation; the title of West's dissertation was Ethics and the Marxist Tradition, revised and published under the title The Ethical Dimensions of Marxist Thought. In his late-20s, he returned to Harvard as a W. E. B. Du Bois Fellow before becoming an assistant professor at Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York.
In 1984, he went to Yale Divinity School in what became a joint appointment in American studies. While at Yale, he participated in campus protests for a clerical labor union and divestment from apartheid South Africa. One of the protests resulted in his being jailed; as punishment, the university administration canceled his leave for the spring term in 1987, leading him to commute from Yale in New Haven, where he was teaching two classes, across the Atlantic Ocean to the University of Paris. He returned to Union Theological Seminary for one year before going to Princeton to become a professor of religion and director of the Program in African-American Studies from 1988 to 1994. After Princeton, he accepted an appointment as professor of African-American studies at Harvard University, with a joint appointment at the Harvard Divinity School. West taught one of the university's most popular courses, an introductory class on African-American studies. In 1998, he was appointed the first Alphonse Fletcher University Professor.
West utilized this new position to teach in not only African-American studies, but in divinity and philosophy. West left Harvard after a publicized dispute with then-President Lawrence Summers in 2002; that year, West returned to Princeton, where he helped create "one of the world’s leading centers for African-American studies" according to Shirley Tilghman, Princeton's president in 2011. In 2012, West left Princeton and returned to the institution where he began his teaching career, Union Theological Seminary, his departure from Princeton, unlike his departure from Harvard, was quite amicable. As of 2017, he continues to teach occasional courses at Princeton in an emeritus capacity as the Class of 1943 University Professor in the Center for African American Studies; the recipient of more than 20 honorary degrees and an American Book Award, he has written or contributed to over twenty published books. West is a long-time member of the Democratic Socialists of America, for which he now serves as an honorary chair.
He is a co-founder of the Network of Spiritual Progressives. West is on the advisory board of the International Bridges to Justice. In 2008, he received a special recognition from the World Cultural Council. West is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and its World Policy Council, a think tank whose purpose is to expa
Union Theological Seminary (New York City)
Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York is an independent, non-denominational, seminary grounded in the Christian tradition, located in New York City. It is the oldest independent seminary in the United States and has long been known as a bastion of progressive Christian scholarship, with a number of prominent thinkers among its faculty or alumni, it was founded in 1836 by members of the Presbyterian Church in the U. S. A. but was open to students of all denominations. In 1893, Union rescinded the right of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church to veto faculty appointments, thus becoming independent. In the 20th century, Union became a center of liberal Christianity, it served as the birthplace of the Black theology, womanist theology, other theological movements. Union houses the Columbia University Burke Library, one of the largest theological libraries in the Western Hemisphere. Union is affiliated with neighboring Columbia University. Since 1928, the seminary has served as Columbia's constituent faculty of theology.
Although administratively independent, Union is represented in Columbia's governance structure and appoints one faculty member and one student to the Columbia University Senate. In 1964, Union established an affiliation with the neighboring Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Union's campus is located in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of the New York City borough of Manhattan, bordered by Claremont Avenue, Broadway, W. 120th St. and W. 122nd St. The brick and limestone English Gothic revival architecture, by Francis R. Allen and Collins, completed in 1910, includes the tower, which adapts features of the crossing tower of Durham Cathedral. Adjacent to Teachers College, Barnard College, the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, the Manhattan School of Music, Union has cross-registration and library access agreements with all of these schools; the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places on April 23, 1980. Some sections of the campus are now on long-term lease to Columbia University.
Union's urban campus is regarded by some to be among the most beautiful in the United States. The inner quadrangle and other various halls and rooms are used as a filming location by the motion picture industry; the Columbia University Burke Library, one of the largest theological libraries in North America, contains holdings of over 700,000 items. The Burke's holdings include extensive special collections, including Greek census records from 20 CE, a rare 12th Century manuscript of the Life of St. Boniface, one of the first African-American hymnals, published in Philadelphia in 1818; the Burke Library maintains a number of world-renowned archival collections, including the Archives of Women in Theological Scholarship and the Missionary Research Library Archives. In 2004 Union's Burke Library became integrated into the Columbia University Libraries system, which holds over 10 million volumes; the library is named in honor of Walter Burke, a generous benefactor to the library who served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Seminary from 1976 to 1982.
Union Theological Seminary was founded in 1836. During the late 19th century it became one of the leading centers of liberal Christianity in the United States. In 1891, Charles A. Briggs, being installed as the chair of biblical studies, delivered an inaugural address in which he questioned the verbal inspiration of Scripture; when the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the U. S. A. vetoed Briggs' appointment and deposed Briggs for heresy two years Union removed itself from denominational oversight. In 1939 the Auburn Theological Seminary moved to its campus. Among its graduates were the historian of Christianity Arthur McGiffert. In 1895, members of the Union Theological Seminary Alumni Club founded Union Settlement Association, one of the oldest settlement houses in New York City. After visiting Toynbee Hall in London and inspired by the example of Hull House in Chicago, the alumni decided to create a settlement house in the area of Manhattan enclosed on the north and south by East 96th and 110th Streets and on the east and west by the East River and Central Park.
Known as East Harlem, it was a neighborhood filled with new tenements but devoid of any civic services. The ethos of the settlement house movement called for its workers to "settle" in such neighborhoods in order to learn first-hand the problems of the residents. “It seemed to us that, as early settlers, we had a chance to grow up with the community and affect its development,” wrote William Adams Brown, Theology Professor, Union Theological Society and President, Union Settlement Association. Union Settlement still exists, providing community-based services and programs to support the immigrant and low-income residents of East Harlem. One of East Harlem's largest social service agencies, Union Settlement reaches more than 13,000 people annually at 17 locations throughout East Harlem through a range of programs, including early childhood education, youth development, senior services, job training, the arts, adult education, counseling, a farmers' market, community development, neighborhood cultural events.
Reinhold Niebuhr and Paul Tillich made UTS the center of both liberal and neo-orthodox Protestantism in the post-War period. Prominent public intellectual Cornel West commenced a promising academic career at UTS in 1977; as liberalism lost ground to conservatism after the 1960s and thus declined in prestige, UTS ran into financial difficulties and shrank because of a
Virtual International Authority File
The Virtual International Authority File is an international authority file. It is a joint project of several national libraries and operated by the Online Computer Library Center. Discussion about having a common international authority started in the late 1990s. After a series of failed attempts to come up with a unique common authority file, the new idea was to link existing national authorities; this would present all the benefits of a common file without requiring a large investment of time and expense in the process. The project was initiated by the US Library of Congress, the German National Library and the OCLC on August 6, 2003; the Bibliothèque nationale de France joined the project on October 5, 2007. The project transitioned to being a service of the OCLC on April 4, 2012; the aim is to link the national authority files to a single virtual authority file. In this file, identical records from the different data sets are linked together. A VIAF record receives a standard data number, contains the primary "see" and "see also" records from the original records, refers to the original authority records.
The data are available for research and data exchange and sharing. Reciprocal updating uses the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting protocol; the file numbers are being added to Wikipedia biographical articles and are incorporated into Wikidata. VIAF's clustering algorithm is run every month; as more data are added from participating libraries, clusters of authority records may coalesce or split, leading to some fluctuation in the VIAF identifier of certain authority records. Authority control Faceted Application of Subject Terminology Integrated Authority File International Standard Authority Data Number International Standard Name Identifier Wikipedia's authority control template for articles Official website VIAF at OCLC
James H. Cone
James Hal Cone was an American theologian, best known for his advocacy of black theology and black liberation theology. His 1969 book Black Theology and Black Power provided a new way to comprehensively define the distinctiveness of theology in the black church, his message was that Black Power, defined as black people asserting the humanity that white supremacy denied, was the gospel in America. Jesus came advocating the same thing as Black Power. White American churches preached a gospel based on white supremacy, antithetical to the gospel of Jesus. Cone's work was influential from the time of the book's publication, his work remains influential today, his work has been both used and critiqued inside and outside the African-American theological community. He was the Charles Augustus Briggs Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology at Union Theological Seminary until his death. Cone was born on August 5, 1938, in Fordyce and grew up in the racially segregated town of Bearden, Arkansas, he and his family attended Macedonia African Methodist Episcopal Church.
He attended Shorter College, a small AME Church junior college, before receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree from Philander Smith College in 1958, where he was mentored by James and Alice Boyack. In his 2018 memoir Said I Wasn't Gonna Tell Nobody, Cone wrote that they were the first whites he met who respected his humanity. Although he had decided against parish ministry, their advice led him to obtain a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Garrett–Evangelical Theological Seminary in 1961, Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from Northwestern University in 1963 and 1965, respectively, he was shocked to learn. Yet he was excited to learn of unfamiliar theologians and biblical study methodologies. At the urging of and with support from the white theologian William Hordern at Garrett he applied and gained acceptance into the doctoral program in theology, he taught theology and religion at Philander Smith College, Adrian College, beginning in 1970 at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, where he was awarded the distinguished Charles A. Briggs Chair in systematic theology in 1977.
In 2018, he was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Sciences. Cone and his wife, Rose Hampton, married in 1958 and divorced in 1977, they had two sons and Charles, two daughters and Robynn. In 1979, Cone married Sondra Gibson, who died in 1983, he died on April 28, 2018. Cone wrote, "Exodus and Jesus—these three—defined the meaning of liberation in black theology." The hermeneutic, or interpretive lens, for James Cone's theology starts with the experience of African Americans, the theological questions he brings from his own life. He incorporates the powerful role of the black church in his life, as well as racism experienced by African Americans. For Cone, the theologians he studied in graduate school did not provide meaningful answers to his questions; this disparity became more apparent when he was teaching theology at Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas. Cone writes, "What could Karl Barth mean for black students who had come from the cotton fields of Arkansas and Mississippi, seeking to change the structure of their lives in a society that had defined black as non-being?"Cone's theology received significant inspiration from a frustration with the black struggle for civil rights.
Accordingly, his theology was influenced by Malcolm X and the Black Power movement. Martin Luther King Jr. was an important influence. Cone wrote, "I was on a mission to transform self-loathing Negro Christians into black-loving revolutionary disciples of the Black Christ." "The black church, despite its failures, gives black people a sense of worth." His methodology for answering the questions raised by the African-American experience is a return to scripture, to the liberative elements such as the Exodus-Sinai tradition and the life and teaching of Jesus. However, scripture is not the only source. In response to criticism from other black theologians, Cone began to make greater use of resources native to the African-American Christian community for his theological work, including slave spirituals, the blues, the writings of prominent African-American thinkers such as David Walker, Henry McNeal Turner, W. E. B. Du Bois, his theology developed further in response to critiques by black women, leading Cone to consider gender issues more prominently and foster the development of womanist theology, in dialogue with Marxist analysis and the sociology of knowledge.
Cone's thought, along with Paul Tillich, stresses the idea that theology is not universal, but tied to specific historical contexts. Cone formulates a theology of liberation from within the context of the black experience of oppression, interpreting the central kernel of the Gospels as Jesus' identification with the poor and oppressed, the resurrection as the ultimate act of liberation; as part of his theological analysis, Cone argues for God's own identification with "blackness": The black theologian must reject any conception of God which stifles black self-determination by picturing God as a God of all peoples. Either God is identified with the oppressed to the point that their experien
Columbia County, New York
Columbia County is a county located in the U. S. state of New York. As of the 2010 census, the population was 63,096; the county seat is Hudson. The name comes from the Latin feminine form of the name of Christopher Columbus, at the time of the formation of the county a popular proposal for the name of the United States of America. Columbia County comprises the Hudson, NY Micropolitan Statistical Area, included in the Albany-Schenectady, NY Combined Statistical Area, it is located on the east side of the Hudson River. At the time of European encounter, the area was occupied by the indigenous Mohican Indians. To the west of the river were the Mohawk and other four tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy, extending past what is now the border of New York state; the first known European exploration of Columbia County was in 1609, when Henry Hudson, an English explorer sailing for the Dutch, ventured up the Hudson River. An accident to his craft forced him to stop at what is now known as Columbia County, search for food and supplies.
In 1612, the Dutch established trading posts and minor settlements, constructing New Amsterdam and Fort Orange. Fort Orange became a center of the fur trade with the Mohawk people. Traders began to stop at midway points along the Hudson River, on their travels between New Amsterdam and Fort Orange. Small settlements arose along the river to supply the traders' ships. In 1649, Dutch colonists purchased land near Claverack and in 1667, more land was purchased; as more Dutch arrived, the region developed. In 1664, the English renamed it the Province of New York. In the late 17th century, Robert Livingston, a Scots immigrant by way of Rotterdam, built on his connections as Indian agent in the colony and purchased two large portions of land from the Native Americans, he gained much larger grants for a total of 160,240 acres. He was made lord of the manor by the Crown, with all its perquisites, started to develop the property with tenant farmers. In 1710, he sold 6,000 acres of his property to Queen Anne of England for use as work camps and resettlement of Palatine German refugees.
The Crown had supported their passage to New York, they were to pay off the costs as indentured labor. Some 1200 Palatine Germans were brought to Livingston Manor. New York's Governor Hunter had helped with these arrangements: the workers were to manufacture naval stores from the pine trees in the Catskill Mountains, they were promised land for resettlement after completing their terms of indenture. They were refugees from years of religious fighting along the border with France, as well as crop failures from a severe winter. Work camps were established on both sides of the Hudson River; the Germans established Protestant churches at the heart of their community, which recorded their weddings and deaths, among the first vital records kept in the colony. After many years, some of the colonists were granted land in the frontier of the central Mohawk Valley west of present-day Little Falls in the 100 lots of the Burnetsfield Patent, they were buffer communities between the British settlements and the Iroquois and French Columbia County was formed in 1786 after the American Revolutionary War from portions of Albany County, once a vast area until new communities were developed and jurisdictions were organized.
In 1799, the southern boundary of Columbia County was moved southward to include that portion of Livingston Manor located in Dutchess County. In the nineteenth century, the Vermont Central Railway was constructed to the area, it provided transportation north towards Rutland and Burlington and south towards the major junction town of Chatham, New York, for travel to points west and east. Voters in Columbia County since the mid-19th century have elected Republicans to office, but from 1996 - 2007, new voter registrations by Democrats have outpaced those by Republicans by a margin of 4 to 1. This substantial shift in party affiliation is due in large part to an influx of people from New York City who now live either full or part-time in Columbia County. Organizations such as "Vote Columbia" have led efforts to have New York City residents, who live in a Democratic Party-controlled area, re-register to vote in their part-time residence of Columbia County, thus influencing the demographic of a populated area, home to an increasing number of people in weekend houses or retirement.
Local residents have expressed dismay that voters who stay in the county only on the weekends are influencing its politics and decisions over development and other issues. The rise in the number of Democrats has resulted in a virtual tie among the number of Democrats and non-affiliated voters in Columbia County. In the 2007 election cycle, Democrats came within two seats of taking control of the county Board of Supervisors. In the 2009 local elections, the Republicans increased their majority on the Board of Supervisors through the defeat of longtime Kinderhook Supervisor Doug McGivney; as Supervisor of the largest Town in the County, McGivney had the largest weighted vote on the Board of Supervisors. The Board of Supervisors is now led by Supervisor Pat Grattan. According to the U. S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 648 square miles, of which 635 square miles is land and 14 square miles is water. Columbia County is in the southeast central part of New York State, southeast of Albany
Harry Emerson Fosdick
Harry Emerson Fosdick was an American pastor. Fosdick became a central figure in the "Fundamentalist–Modernist Controversy" within American Protestantism in the 1920s and 1930s and was one of the most prominent liberal ministers of the early 20th century. Although a Baptist, he was called to serve as pastor, in New York City, at First Presbyterian Church in Manhattan's West Village, at the historic, inter-denominational Riverside Church in Morningside Heights, Manhattan. Born in Buffalo, New York, Fosdick graduated from Colgate University in 1900 and from Union Theological Seminary in 1904. While attending Colgate University he joined the Delta Upsilon Fraternity, he was ordained a Baptist minister in 1903 at Madison Avenue Baptist Church at 31st Street, Manhattan. He was called as minister to First Baptist Church, New Jersey, in 1904, serving until 1915, he supported US participation in the First World War, in 1917 volunteered as an Army chaplain, serving in France. In 1918 he was called to First Presbyterian Church, on May 21, 1922, he delivered his famous sermon Shall the Fundamentalists Win?, in which he defended the modernist position.
In that sermon he presented the Bible as a record of the unfolding of God's will, not as the literal "Word of God". He saw the history of Christianity as one of development and gradual change. Fundamentalists regarded this as rank apostasy, the battle-lines were drawn; the national convention of the General Assembly of the old Presbyterian Church in the USA in 1923 charged his local presbytery in New York to conduct an investigation into Fosdick's views. A commission began an investigation, his defense was conducted by a lay elder, John Foster Dulles, whose father was a well-known liberal Presbyterian seminary professor. Fosdick escaped probable censure at a formal trial by the 1924 General Assembly by resigning from the First Presbyterian Church pulpit in 1924, he was called as pastor of a new type of Baptist church ministry at Park Avenue Baptist Church, whose most famous member was the industrialist and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller Jr.. Rockefeller funded the famed ecumenical Riverside Church in Manhattan's northwestern Morningside Heights area overlooking the Hudson River and nearby Columbia University, where Fosdick became pastor as soon as the doors opened in October 1930, prompting a Time magazine cover story on October 6, 1930.
Time said that Fosdick proposes to give this educated community a place of greatest beauty for worship. He proposes to serve the social needs of the somewhat lonely metropolite. Hence on a vast scale he has built all the accessories of a community church—gymnasium, assembly room for theatricals, dining rooms, etc. … In ten stories of the 22-story belltower are classrooms for the religious and social training of the young…" Fosdick outspokenly opposed racism and injustice. Ruby Bates credited him with persuading her to testify for the defense in the 1933 retrial of the infamous and racially charged legal case of the Scottsboro Boys, which tried nine black youths before all-white juries for raping white women in Alabama. Fosdick's sermons won him wide recognition, as, for example, The Unknown Soldier, preached at Riverside Church on Sunday November 12, 1933 following Armistice Day. Many of his sermon collections are still in print, he published numerous books, his radio addresses were nationally broadcast.
Fosdick's book A Guide to Understanding the Bible traces the beliefs of the people who wrote the Bible, from the ancient beliefs of the Hebrews to the faith and hopes of the New Testament writers. Fosdick was an advocate of theistic evolution, he rejected creationism. He was involved in a dispute with the creationist William Jennings Bryan. Fosdick reviewed the first edition of the book Alcoholics Anonymous in 1939. AA members continue to point to this review as significant in the development of the AA movement. Fosdick was an active member of the American Friends of the Middle East, a founder of the Committee for Justice and Peace in the Holy Land, an active "anti-Zionist"; the Second Mile The Assurance of Immortality The Manhood of the Master The Meaning of Prayer The Meaning of Faith The Challenge of the Present Crisis The Meaning of Service Shall the Fundamentalists Win? Christianity and Progress Evolution and Mr. Bryan Twelve Tests of Character Religion. Evolution and the Bible The Modern Use of the Bible Adventurous Religion, Other Essays A Pilgrimage to Palestine What Religion Means to Me As I See Religion The Hope of the World.