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Unitarian Universalist History

Since 1961, Unitarian Universalism has nurtured its Unitarian and Universalist heritages by continuing to provide a strong voice for social justice and liberal religion. Right after the formation of the new denomination, Unitarian Universalists (UUs) nationwide advocated for the rights of conscientious objectors during the war in Vietnam as well as for voting and civil rights for people of color in the American South.

In the 1970s, Unitarian Universalists supported the rights of gay and lesbian people and published the Pentagon Papers.

Unitarian Universalists have also worked to address inequities in the treatment of women and to combat racism and oppression within our faith movement. In 2001, there were more female Unitarian Universalist ministers than male ministers and Unitarian Universalists continue to encourage women’s leadership in our congregations and larger community.

Unitarian Universalists support full equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and have made a strong commitment to fight for marriage equality in every state in America.

Some famous modern-day Unitarian Universalists include Tim Berners-Lee, Melissa Harris-Perry, Christopher Reeve, May Sarton, Randy Pausch, Pete Seeger, Joanne Woodward, and Kurt Vonnegut.

Unitarian Universalist theology has continued to evolve since the merger. We have explored the changing role of Christianity in today’s Unitarian Universalism, acknowledged the sources of our faith, included in those sources earth-based spirituality, and explored what religious and spiritual language works best in our congregations.

To learn more about Unitarian Universalist faith, please read the pamphlet, “Unitarian Universalist Origins: Our Historic Faith.”

For information on past presidents of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), please see UUA Past Presidents.

Look inside the UUA Photo Archive Gallery. This collection of photos offers a glimpse at the people and places of UU history. If you would like to see your old photographs added to the album, contact info @

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This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Monday, March 31, 2014.

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"Our History of Religious Freedom"
Learn more about how Unitarians and Universalists helped to shape American history.
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Renowned folk singer and activist Pete Seeger (1919-2014) is a longtime Unitarian Universalist. Seeger's songs include Where Have All the Flowers Gone? and Turn! Turn! Turn! (to Everything There Is a Season)

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Unitarian Universalist Melissa Harris-Perry is a distinguished academic and a commentator on MSNBC. She has written the book, Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought, and delivered the Ware Lecture at the 2009 General Assembly of the UUA.

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Unitarian Universalist Randy Pausch (1960 – 2008) with his wife, Jai, and their three children. Pausch, a Carnegie Mellon University professor, is best known for his lecture, Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams (also known as The Last Lecture.)

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Learn more about the Beliefs & Principles of Unitarian Universalism, or read our online magazine, UU World, for features on today's Unitarian Universalists. Visit an online UU church, or find a congregation near you.

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