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Audio Note: Audio from tape 1 cuts off a few paragraphs short, but the transcript is complete.

Audio courtesy of the University of Kentucky.

William Stringfellow

Mar. 13, 1964
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William Stringfellow
William Stringfellow Bio


William Stringfellow (1929-1985) was a lawyer, an Episcopal lay theologian, and a social activist. In his junior year at Bates College in Lewisburg, Maine, he organized a sit-in at a restaurant that refused to serve people of color. After his graduation from Harvard Law School, he moved to Harlem to work with poor African Americans and Hispanics. He defended victimized tenants, poor persons who were victims of social exclusion, and people whom few others would defend, such as sexual offenders. He protested the Vietnam War, was involved in the Sojourners movement in Washington, D.C., and sheltered Daniel Berrigan, S.J., when Berrigan was on the run from federal authorities. His theology is controversial and widely discussed.  Bates College began awarding the William Stringfellow Award in 2000 to recognize one student and one member of the local community for their work in peace and justice in Maine. 


Stringfellow discusses the civil rights movement, segregation, and American political leaders. He begins by questioning whether non-violent protest tactics continue to work.  He describes the role of nonviolence in the civil rights movement and practical measures that could be taken to stop violence in the movement. Stringfellow also explains that he feels that the civil rights movement has become a mass movement involving ordinary citizens. Stringfellow provides his opinions on school segregation. He states that segregated schools are a result of segregated neighborhoods and housing, and schools must be integrated before neighborhoods can be integrated. Stringfellow also explains his thoughts on political leaders including John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Abraham Lincoln.


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