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Wikipedia Summary for Howard Thurman

Howard Washington Thurman (November 18, 1899 – April 10, 1981) was an American author, philosopher, theologian, educator, and civil rights leader. As a prominent religious figure, he played a leading role in many social justice movements and organizations of the twentieth century. Thurman's theology of radical nonviolence influenced and shaped a generation of civil rights activists, and he was a key mentor to leaders within the civil rights movement, including Martin Luther King Jr.

Thurman served as dean of Rankin Chapel at Howard University from 1932 to 1944 and as dean of Marsh Chapel at Boston University from 1953 to 1965. In 1944, he co-founded, along with Alfred Fisk, the first major interracial, interdenominational church in the United States.

Howard Thurman died on April 10, 1981 in San Francisco, California.

Twilight -- a time of pause when nature changes her guard. All living things would fade and die from too much light or too much dark, if twilight were not.

--Howard Thurman

Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is more people who have come alive.

--Howard Thurman

Don't ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.

--Howard Thurman

Jesus rejected hatred because he saw that hatred meant death to the mind, death to the spirit, and death to communion with his Father. He affirmed life; and hatred was the great denial.

--Howard Thurman

Prayer is a form of communication between God and man and man and God... I am always impressed by the fact that it is recorded that the only thing that the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to do was to pray.

--Howard Thurman

The hard thing when you get old is to keep your horizons open. The first part of your life everything is in front of you, all your potential and promise. But over the years, you make decisions; you carve yourself into a given shape. Then the challenge is to keep discovering the green growing edge.

--Howard Thurman

Love has no awareness of merit or demerit; it has no scale... Love loves; this is its nature.

--Howard Thurman

Whatever may be the tensions and the stresses of a particular day, there is always lurking close at hand the trailing beauty of forgotten joy or unremembered peace.

--Howard Thurman

The measure of a man's estimate of your strength is the kind of weapons he feels that he must use in order to hold you fast in a prescribed place.

--Howard Thurman

And this is the strangest of all paradoxes of the human adventure; we live inside all experience, but we are permitted to bear witness only to the outside. Such is the riddle of life and the story of the passing of our days.

--Howard Thurman

In the stillness of the quiet, if we listen, we can hear the whisper of the heart giving strength to weakness, courage to fear, hope to despair.

--Howard Thurman

A bigot is a person who makes an idol of his commitments.

--Howard Thurman

There must be always remaining in every life, some place for the singing of angels, some place for that which in itself is breathless and beautiful.

--Howard Thurman

Of all weapons, love is the most deadly and devastating, and few there be who dare trust their fate in its hands.

--Howard Thurman

The years, the months, the days, and the hours have flown by my open window. Here and there an incident, a towering moment, a naked memory, an etched countenance, a whisper in the dark, a golden glow these and much more are the woven fabric of the time I have lived.

--Howard Thurman

Follow the grain in your own wood.

--Howard Thurman


Do not be silent; there is no limit to the power that may be released through you.

--Howard Thurman

There is something in every one of you that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in yourself.

--Howard Thurman

Longer Version:

There is something in every one of you that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in yourself. It is the only true guide you will ever have. And if you cannot hear it, you will all of your life spend your days on the ends of strings that somebody else pulls.


There were long stretches where each of us was engaged in a private world of rapidly shifting vignettes. Always I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of human beings ebbing and flowing like the tides of the sea.

--Howard Thurman

Perfect love is long delayed.

--Howard Thurman

In whatever sense this year is a new year for you, may the moment find you eager and unafraid, ready to take it by the hand with joy and gratitude.

--Howard Thurman

Fate is the raw materials of experience. They come uninvited and often unanticipated. Destiny is what a man does with these raw materials.

--Howard Thurman

It cannot be denied that too often the weight of the Christian movement has been on the side of the strong and the powerful and against the weak and oppressed-this, despite the gospel.

--Howard Thurman

What I have written is but a fleeting intimation of the outside of what one man sees and may tell about the path he walks. No one shares the secret of a life; no one enters into the heart of the mystery.

--Howard Thurman

Listen to the long stillness:

New life is stirring

New dreams are on the wing

New hopes are being readied:

Humankind is fashioning a new heart

Humankind is forging a new mind

God is at work.

This is the season of Promise.

--Howard Thurman

Ask yourself what makes you come alive.

--Howard Thurman

If a man knows precisely what he can do to you or what epithet he can hurl against you in order to make you lose your temper, your equilibrium, then he can always keep you under subjection.

--Howard Thurman

At the core of life is a hard purposefulness, a determination to live.

--Howard Thurman

He who fears is literally delivered to destruction.

--Howard Thurman

During times of war, hatred becomes quite respectable even though it has to masquerade often under the guise of patriotism.

--Howard Thurman

Commitment means that it is possible for a man to yield the nerve center of his consent to a purpose or cause, a movement or an ideal, which may be more important to him than whether he lives or dies.

--Howard Thurman

A dream is the bearer of a new possibility, the enlarged horizon, the great hope.

--Howard Thurman

Community cannot for long feed on itself; it can only flourish with the coming of others from beyond, their unknown and undiscovered brothers.

--Howard Thurman

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