James Cone, the Bill & Judith Moyers Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, died on April 28. He was 79 years old.
Dr. Cone was known as the father of Black Liberation Theology. He was the author of Black Theology & Black Power (1969), A Black Theology of Liberation (1970) and God of the Oppressed (1975). His latest published book – The Cross and the Lynching Tree (Orbis Books, 2011) – earned Dr. Cone the Grawemeyer Award in Religion. He also completed a memoir just months before his death that will be published later this year.
Professor Cone joined the faculty at Union Theological Seminary in 1969 and was promoted to full professor in 1973. Recently, Dr. Cone was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.
A native of Fordyce, Arkansas, Professor Cone held a bachelor’s degree from Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas. He earned a bachelor’s degree in divinity at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. Dr. Cone earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. at Northwestern University. He was the holder of 13 honorary doctorates.