Religious Freedom: African American Perspectives

Samuel Dewitt Proctor-TheologyReligious Freedom Center

The Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology of Virginia Union University and the Religious Freedom Center of the Freedom Forum Institute have partnered with the five other Historically Black Theological Institutions (HBTIs) — Hood Theological Seminary, Howard University School of Divinity, the Interdenominational Theological Center, Payne Theological Seminary and Shaw University School of Divinity — for a three-year project examining African Americans and religious freedom. The African American struggle for freedom and justice cannot be fully understood without acknowledging the First Amendment freedoms at the heart of these struggles. Over three years, the Proctor School will convene regional meetings of seminary leaders and faculty to consider how this initiative can help prepare current and emerging religious leaders for the challenges and opportunities of a new religious America. This collaborative project will result in week-long intensive courses, seminars, symposia and other public programs.

Henry Luce Foundation

This program was made possible by generous support from the Henry Luce Foundation.

Course Offering

REL 700: African Americans and Religious Freedom

Course Instructors: Corey D. B. Walker, Ph.D., and Sabrina E. Dent, DMin.

teaching team bios

This blended learning course designed for graduate seminary students will critically address the contentious politics of race and religious freedom in American public life. Particular attention will be given to the how and in what ways power, violence, identity and pluralism form and frame the discourse of religious freedom across time and space. The course will feature a team of scholars and professional experts actively engaged in addressing these issues in multiple contexts.

The week-long intensive will give religious and civic leaders the opportunity to learn about the role of religion in public life while exploring our three areas of competency: legal literacy, religious literacy and civil dialogue. Participants will be introduced to experts who are actively engaged in addressing these issues in their local and national contexts. This onsite experience will take place Jan. 6-10, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

Partnering schools: In January 2020, the REL 700 intensive is being offered to graduate students currently enrolled at accredited academic institutions. Open registration for the intensive will begin in September 1, 2019.

Registration is closed.

Baptist Joint Committee

Hood Theological Seminary

Howard University School of Divinity

Interdenominational Theological Center

Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church


Payne Theological Seminary

Samuel Dewitt Proctor-Theology

Shaw University Divinity School

Washington National Cathedral

Wesley Theological Seminary