This Far by Faith




About the Series

Witnesses to Faith

Ni'Mat Abdus-Sam'ad Ingrid Askew Cornelia Bailey Horace Clarence Boyer Sister Clare Carter Cain Hope Felder Rachel Harding W.W. Law James Lawson Lena McLin Abiodun Oyewole Charles Sherrod Zohara Simmons Cornel West

NI'MAT ABDUS-SAM'AD back to top
Ni'Mat Abdus-Sam'ad

Ni'Mat Abdus-Sam'ad joined the Nation of Islam in 1963, and has grown alongside the organization. Early on, she found the Nation's teachings of self-reliance and discipline very meaningful, and when Wallace Muhammed moved the Nation closer to orthodox Islam after his father's death in 1975, she felt his changes liberating. She left the Nation for a while, and has since returned to Islam as a Sunni Muslim. MORE ON NI'MAT ABDUS-SAM'AD

INGRID ASKEW back to top
Ingrid Askew

Ingrid Askew is a lifelong cultural activist. During the 1980s and 1990s, she founded and directed two theater groups in Amherst, MA. Askew and fellow Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist Clare Carter organized and led the Interfaith Pilgrimage of the Middle Passage in 1998-1999. Askew now lives in Cape Town, South Africa, where she works with a group of poets, helps at a refugee shelter, and brings together Africans and Americans through theater events, conferences, and spiritual activities. MORE ON INGRID ASKEW

Cornelia Bailey

Cornelia Bailey grew up on Sapelo Island in a community of Geechee people, descendents of Africans enslaved on the Sea Islands, who were poor in posessions but rich in culture. Later in her life, Cornelia recognized that the religion practiced by Sapelo residents still retained aspects of the Islam practiced by her ancestor, Bilali Mohamed, an African Muslim brought to Sapelo in 1803. As an author, folklorist, and tour guide, she works to preserve this unique history. MORE ON CORNELIA BAILEY

Horace Clarence Boyer

Horace Clarence Boyer sings, directs, arranges, teaches, researches, and writes about gospel music. He has directed numerous gospel choirs, including the famed Fisk Jubilee Singers. A distinguished teacher of music, Boyer retired from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, after over thirty years as a professor and visiting lecturer. Boyer has also shared his love and knowledge of gospel through his writing, most notably in his book, How Sweet the Sound: the Golden Age of Gospel. MORE ON HORACE CLARENCE BOYER

Sister Clare Carter

Sister Clare Carter is a Buddhist nun in the Nipponzan Myohoji order, and the co-founder of the Interfaith Pilgrimage of the Middle Passage, the year-long walk that traced the slave trade in reverse. Carter has undertaken numerous pilgrimages to heal suffering and promote peace, including a walk in Sri Lanka, marches against the war in Iraq, and a 10-month pilgrimage through Europe and Asia to remember the destruction caused by World War II. MORE ON SISTER CLARE CARTER

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Cain Hope Felder

Cain Hope Felder is Professor of New Testament Language and Literature at the Howard University School of Divinity in Washington, DC, and Editor of The Journal of Religious Thought. He can read Hebrew, Latin, and Greek; skills he brought to bear in writing the Jubilee Legacy Bible (published by Broadman and Holman, Nashville, Tennessee) which documents the African presence in the Old and New Testment. He is also an editor of The African American Jubilee Bible (American Bible Society, 1995). MORE ON CAIN HOPE FELDER

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Rachel Harding

Rachel Harding is a professor, poet, and activist. She writes and teaches about religion and African American studies, with a focus on the Afro-Brazilian religion candomblé. She is also the executive director of the Veterans of Hope project, which documents and disseminates the stories of men and women who have been long-time leaders in movements for social justice. MORE ON RACHEL HARDING

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W.W. Law

A postman who lived in Savannah, GA all his life, W.W. Law was a leader in his city's civil rights movement from the 1940s through the 1970s. He served as president for the Savannah NAACP for 26 years, and the Georgia NAACP for 13. Besides fighting for desegregation, voter registration, equal employment, and integrated housing, Law was dedicated to preserving sites related to Savannah's black history. He passed away in July of 2002.

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James Lawson

James Lawson was present as a teacher and a practitioner of nonviolent action at almost every key moment of the civil rights movement. Influenced by the teachings of Gandhi and Howard Thurman, Lawson trained students on how to conduct the first nonviolent sit-ins of the movement. As a minister and activist, he continued throughout his life to advocate peace, racial justice, and global nonviolence. MORE ON JAMES LAWSON

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Lena McLin

Lena McLin is a renowned composer and teacher of music. She was influenced by her musical family, especially her uncle, Thomas Dorsey, the famous gospel composer with whom she lived for many years. McLin's compositions cover every genre, from masses to rock operas and cantatas to electronic, but in all her pieces, she remains rooted in the music of the church and gospel. MORE ON LENA MCLIN

Abiodun Oyewole

Abiodun Oyewole is an original member of the legendary group, The Last Poets. He is a poet, community activist, and practitioner of the Yoruba faith who enjoys bringing out the poetry in all people's lives. He has taught poetry at Columbia University and numerous creative writing workshops, and has performed his poetry around the world. He is considered by many to be one of the fathers of rap music. MORE ON ABIODUN OYEWOLE

Charles Sherrod

Charles Sherrod is described by historian Howard Zinn as a "legend" in southwest Georgia. Sherrod, a Baptist minister, went to Georgia as an SNCC fieldworker. He led black students and citizens through three years of protests in the city of Albany, and educated and registered black voters throughout the surrounding rural counties. Even after the civil rights movement, Sherrod continued working as a minister and activist in southwest Georgia, and remains there today. MORE ON CHARLES SHERROD

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Zohara Simmons

For seven years during the 1960s, Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons worked with the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). She engaged in sit-ins, built freedom schools and libraries, and fought for voter registration and desegregation in Mississippi, Georgia, and Alabama. She continued her civil rights work as a staff member of the American Friends Service Committee for 23 years. She is a practicing Sufi Muslim and currently teaches Islam, women's studies, and religion at the University of Florida. MORE ON ZOHARA SIMMONS

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Cornel West

Cornel West is an Ivy League scholar, a philosopher, a brilliant lecturer, and the author of 16 books. He teaches and writes on pragmatic philosophy, religion, race, and public policy. He is also a controversial public figure known for his progressive politics and his appearances on television, at protests, and at countless lectures. MORE ON CORNEL WEST