Civil Rights Is a Key Element of an Archival Project of Sermons Given at the Duke University Chapel

duke_chapelDuke University is currently in the midst of project to digitize recordings and transcripts of sermons given at the Duke University Chapel. The archive of sermons are housed in the university’s David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Many of the sermons dating from the 1950s and 1960s touch on issues of race and the civil rights movement. Mike Adamo, who is in charge of digitizing the printed transcripts of the sermons given at the Duke University Chapel, notes that “this collection provides a religious context to the events of our relatively recent past, not only of the civil rights movement but of many social, political and spiritual issues of our time.”

Among the sermons are those titled “Demonstrations in the Street and in the House of God,” “An Address on Occasion of a Memorial Service for Martin Luther King Jr.,”  and “Moral Crisis in a Troubled South.”

“Moral Crisis in a Troubled South” was presented by Hilrie Shelton Smith, a member of the faculty at the Duke Divinity School, on April 29, 1956 and includes references to the murder of Emmett Till, the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court ruling. A transcript of that sermon may be seen here.


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