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James Cone is known primarily as the founder of Black liberation theology. Yet for those who were his students, his teaching was equally as powerful. Cone managed to mentor people, create dialogue, and foster collaboration, all around the common collective task of seeking justice and liberation through theological study and construction. These things made Cone such an effective teacher. His work existed on a continuum, in which the liberation of Black people, of all the oppressed, was a non-negotiable baseline. While he used “traditional” methods, primarily lecture and seminar formats, the purpose behind his teaching wasn’t traditional at all. And as a result, he has put in place a network of clergy, academics, and of many other vocations, who in one way or another are promulgating that commitment to liberation and justice quite literally throughout the world. This is one of several short essays presented by recent students at a public forum at Union Theological Seminary after his death in 2018.
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