The Story Howard Thurman Kept Telling About Race | Sojourners

The Story Howard Thurman Kept Telling About Race

An excerpt from ‘Howard Thurman and the Disinherited.’

FROM HOWARD THURMAN'S own account, his grandmother, in particular, fundamentally shaped his religious sentiments; she was his hero. His grandmother had been a slave, and later, when Thurman began writing his books on the spirituals, he had her words in mind. Nancy was also a midwife in Daytona, known generally by the community as “Lady Nancy,” and remembered by Thurman as the “anchor person in our family.” She came from a large plantation estate in South Carolina; her owner, John C. McGhee, had moved to Madison County, Florida, before the war, where the majority of the larger planters were from South Carolina. Growing up, Thurman made frequent pilgrimages to Madison County but remembered of his grandmother, “She granted to no one the rights of passage across her own remembered footsteps.”

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