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Bennett, John C. (John Coleman)

b. 1902 - d. 1995

John C. Bennett was an esteemed theologian, educator and social activist who influenced American social and religious thinking for decades. He was a proponent of wider ecumenical engagement within Christianity, and along with theologian Reinhold Niebuhr co-founded the journal Christianity and Crisis. Rev. Bennett lent his voice to important social and political issues. He was an early champion of the Civil Rights Movement, a supporter of feminism, as well as an ardent critic of the Vietnam War. From 1963 to 1970, Bennett served as the eleventh president of Union Theological Seminary in New York City. Many theologians consider Bennett one of the most unheralded prophetic voices of his time.

Associated Archive Content : 17 results

American Influence in Vietnam

Dr. John C. Bennett, President of the Union Theological Seminary, expresses his political beliefs concerning the presence of American military in Vietnam.

Beyond Vietnam

In Dr. Kings Beyond Vietnam address, he discusses seven major reasons for bringing Vietnam into "a field of moral vision," five things that the government should do to remove itself from conflict with Vietnam, the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam, and Premier Diem. Dr. King also encourages those in the churches and the synagogues to speak out against the war in Vietnam.

Christianity and Crisis: April 3, 1967

Roger L. Shinn wrote this article for Christianity and Crisis: A Christian Journal of Opinion. Shinn defines a "conscientious objector" as one who believes a war morally unjustifiable, and chooses, therefore, not to serve in it. Several Christian organizations attempted to introduce legislation banning forced participation. The American Civil Liberties Union has encouraged the selective service system to recognize a policy "under which no person shall be compelled to participate in armed conflict when he believes it to be in violation of his conscience."

Index Card Containing MLK's Handwriting on the Concept of "Man"

On this notecard, Dr. King outlines J.C. Bennett's views on 'Man' according to his book, "Christianity & Communism." Some material from these reference notes would later emerge in his speeches, sermons, and writings.

John Coleman Bennett

John Coleman Bennett's work is used to flesh out an outline on the issues that plague society. The issues are broken up into five sections: the fact of evil, four problems of social gospel, economic, state and the church, and Communism. Bennett was a Christian theologian, author, and president of the Union Theological Seminary in New York.

Letter from Ada M. Field to MLK

Ada M. Field is a ninety-year-old woman who sent Dr. King her contribution for the year. Ms. Field praised Dr. King, and the SCLC, for continuing to fight for freedom and for bringing a positive light to the process.

Letter from Charles Sellers to MLK

Charles Sellers, a Professor of History at the University of California at Berkeley, writes this letter to Dr. King promoting the Washington Convocation On The National Crisis. He encloses the proposal that he and Cecil Thomas discussed with Mrs. King over the phone. The proposal details the organized effort to marshal public sentiment against current US policy in Vietnam. Five hundred prominent Americans will be invited to the convocation, to be held in Washington, DC.

Letter from Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam

The Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam requests financial support for their mission of ending the war in Vietnam.

Letter from Frances S. Smith to MLK

Frances Smith, Promotion Director for the Christian journal "Christianity and Crisis," asks Dr. King to write a few sentences regarding the "need for continuing analysis of the civil rights movement from the Christian perspective."

Letter from MLK to Ralph McGill

Dr. King writes to Ralph McGill of the Atlanta Constitution to clarify his position on the Vietnam War. Dr. King considers his objection to the war to be a matter of conscience, and not one of political expediency.

Letter from Robert T. Handy to MLK

Robert Handy of the Union Theological Seminary invites Dr. King to be the "major evening speaker" for their Conference on Race and Religion.

Mission to Mississippi

The document, shown here, listed Dr. King and many other clergy as they invited other clergyman nationwide to an event called "Mission to Mississippi." The Mission was in support for the Freedom Riders of 1961. It included a one-day conference that was held in Jackson, MS. July 20, 1961. Unfortunately, this document was torn in half so the full remaining content continues, on the following attached page.

Mission to Mississippi : Invitation to a Conference

This document lists Dr. King and other clergymen as they invite selected religious leaders to a conference entitled "Mission to Mississippi." The Mission is in support for the Freedom Riders of 1961. It will be a one day event to be held in Jackson, Mississippi on July 20, 1961.

MLK Speaks on Vietnam War

This 32-page booklet was published by Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam shortly after Dr. King’s April 4, 1967 Riverside Church address on the Vietnam War. It features a foreword by Dr. Reinhold Niebuhr, Dr. King’s speech, and remarks by Henry Steele Commager, Dr. John C. Bennett, and Rabbi Abraham Heschel. In addition, it includes a New York Times interview with Dr. King, King’s response to NAACP criticism on his opposition to the war, and letters to the editor of the New York Times.

Statement on the Indictment of MLK

The "Committee to Defend Martin Luther King, Jr." issued this statement, accusing the state of Alabama of falsely distorting Dr. King's 1958 income tax return in an attempt to indict him.

The Committee of Clergy and Laymen Speak on Vietnam

As a public service, the Committee of Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietnam have reprinted several statements and addresses of its members. The selected addresses of Dr. King were chosen because of their poignant exposition of the then current issues surrounding the Vietnam War. In the compilation's forward, Dr. Reinhold Niebuhr takes the opportunity to address two of the misconceptions that surrounded the included works of Dr. King.

Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam

"Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam" is a sermon Dr. King delivered at Ebenezer Baptist Church on April 30, 1967 in Atlanta. In this draft of the sermon, Dr. King references a previous speech, "Beyond Vietnam," that he delivered to the group "Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietnam" at Riverside Baptist Church in New York City.