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Ware Lecture

2015 Ware Lecturer Dr. Cornel West

Cornel West is a prominent and provocative democratic intellectual. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard and obtained his MA and PhD in philosophy at Princeton. He has taught at Union Theological Seminary (where he has recently returned to teach), Yale, Harvard, Princeton, and the University of Paris. He has written nineteen books and edited thirteen books. He is best known for his classic Race Matters, published by Beacon Press in 1993. His latest books are Black Prophetic Fire, which offers a fresh perspective on six revolutionary African American leaders (Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. Du Bois, Martin Luther King Jr., Ella Baker, Malcolm X, and Ida B. Wells) and The Radical King, a collection of MLK’s writings curated and introduced by Prof. West to reclaim Dr. King’s prophetic and radical vision as both a civil rights leader and—more broadly—as a human right activist. Both books were published by Beacon Press.

Cornel West  appears frequently on Real Time with Bill Maher, The Colbert Report, CNN and C-SPAN, and he makes numerous appearances speaking to audiences large and small on subjects ranging from racial  justice and queer rights to climate justice.   Prof. West has appeared in over twenty-five documentaries and films, including Examined Life, Call & Response, Sidewalk, and Stand. He has also made three spoken-word albums, including Never Forget, collaborating with Prince, Jill Scott, Andre 3000, Talib Kweli, KRS-One, and the late Gerald Levert. His recent spoken-word interludes were featured on Terence Blanchard’s Choices (which won the Grand Prix in France for the best jazz album of the year for 2009).  

He has recently been deeply involved in the Black Lives Matter protests and was among those arrested in Ferguson in 2015. Cornel West has a passion to communicate in writings and orations, through music and film, and in solidarity with groups and faith communities  committed to justice in order to keep alive the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.—a legacy of telling the truth and bearing witness to love and justice.

Watch the 2015 Ware Lecture on live-streaming video on Saturday, June 27, 8:00 - 9:00 p.m. PDT.

2014 Ware Lecturer Sister Simone Campbell

Sister Simone Campbell is the National Coordinator of NETWORK, a National Catholic Social Justice Lobby. She is a religious leader, attorney and poet with extensive experience in public policy and advocacy for systemic change. In Washington, she lobbies on issues of peace-building, immigration reform, healthcare and economic justice. Around the country, she is a noted speaker and educator on these public policy issues.

From UU World:
Sister Simone Campbell wants UUs to “walk towards trouble.” The national coordinator of NETWORK (a National Catholic Social Change Lobby) well-known for her advocacy work on issues of peace-building, immigration reform, healthcare, and economic justice, as well as her Nuns on the Bus tour, presented the 2014 General Assembly Ware Lecture in Providence, R.I. - Full Story

History of the Ware Lecture

The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) President, in consultation with the General Assembly Planning Committee, invites a distinguished guest each year to address the General Assembly as the Ware Lecturer.

In 1920, Harriet E. Ware of Milton, MA, bequeathed $5,000 to the American Unitarian Association (AUA) for its unrestricted use. Two years later, on the evening of May 24, 1922, the first Ware lecture was given by the Rev. Frederick W. Norwood, pastor of the City Temple in London, England. The Lecture had been "established in honor of the distinguished services of three generations of the Ware family to the cause of Pure Christianity."

The lecture has been given every year at the former May Meetings of the AUA and since 1961 at the General Assembly. No lecture was scheduled for 1945 due to World War II, although Morris S. Lazaron delivered an address on May 23, 1945, in All Souls Church in Washington, DC, which is referred to as a Ware lecture. There was no lecture in 1950 when the Unitarians celebrated their 125th anniversary.

The Harvard Square Library maintains a history of the Ware Lecture, including illustrated biographical notes.

Previous Ware Lecturers

Previous Ware Lecturers have included the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., Kurt Vonnegut, and poet Mary Oliver.

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For more information contact generalassembly@uua.org.

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