Sarah Azaransky will share insights from her groundbreaking new book, This Worldwide Struggle: The International Roots of the Civil Rights Movement (Oxford, June 2017), which examines a network of black Americans who looked abroad and to other religious traditions for ideas and practices that could transform American democracy. Decades before the Civil Rights movement burst into the news, black Americans had traveled around the world to learn from independence leaders in Asia and Africa. People in this seminal group met with Mohandas Gandhi in the 1930s and 1940s, and they later became mentors and advisors to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and thus became living links between Gandhi, who was killed in 1948, and King, who became a national figure in 1956.
“This Worldwide Struggle” details professional collaborations and personal friendships among Howard Thurman, James Farmer, Benjamin Mays, Pauli Murray, and Bayard Rustin, among others. Azaransky’s research contains vital lessons for movement building today.
Sarah Azaransky stayed at Pendle Hill on numerous occasions while she was researching and writing this book, and several prominent figures in her work also spent time at Pendle Hill. A graduate of Swarthmore College, Harvard Divinity School, and the University of Virginia, Sarah now teaches courses in social ethics about race and sexualities and their intersections at Union Theological Seminary. Sarah is also author of The Dream is Freedom: Pauli Murray and American Democratic Faith (Oxford, 2011) and editor of Religion and Politics in America’s Borderlands (Lexington, 2013). Currently, she is researching public school desegregation campaigns in New York City. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and their two children.