“Any message that is not related to the liberation of the poor in a society is not Christ’s message. Any theology that is indifferent to the theme of liberation is not Christian theology.”
With the publication of his two early works, Black Theology & Black Power (1969) and A Black Theology of Liberation (1970), James Cone emerged as one of the most creative and provocative theological voices in North America. These books, which offered a searing indictment of white theology and society, introduced a radical presentation of the Christian message for our time.
Combining the visions of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr., Cone offered a fundamental reappraisal of Christianity from the perspective of the oppressed black community in North America. Fifty years later, his work retains its original power.
“A Black Theology of Liberation changed my life. It made me even more proud to be black. Moreover, it set me on my theological journey as it gave me a deeper appreciation of black faith. What it did for me, it did also for others.”—From the Afterword by Kelly Brown Douglas
James H. Cone, who died in 2018, was the Bill and Judith Moyers Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology at Union Theological Seminary, NYC. His many books included God of the Oppressed, Martin & Malcolm & America, and The Cross and the Lynching Tree, which received the 2018 Grawemeyer Award in Religion. Prior to his death he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.