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In Spirit and Truth

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About this blog

In Spirit and Truth seeks to encourage discussion and deeper consideration of representation issues in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). It is hoped entries will prompt reflection and dialogue on aspects of expanding representation and supporting full participation in the PCUSA, especially at the assembly and mid council levels.  

This blog will occasionally feature content written by one of the fourteen members of the General Assembly Committee on Representation, who are church members, ministers (teaching elders) and ruling elders from across the country, as well as links and articles of particular interest. The ministries of advising, consulting, advocating, promoting inclusion, reviewing and recommending actions are vital to the life of the whole Body of Christ. Committees on Representation and/or their functions exists at all councils above session so from time to time we may highlight activities and insights from sister committees on representation at lower councils throughout the church.  

Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. or the General Assembly Committee on Representation.
Author/Facilitator Molly Casteel is an Assistant Stated Clerk and the Manager for Equity and Representation in the Office of the General Assembly.  She is a teaching elder (a.k.a. Minister of Word and Sacrament) in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary.

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August 27, 2013

Presbyterians and the Civil Rights Movement

Wednesday, August 28, commemorates 50 years since the March on Washington.

This content originally appeared on the Presbyterian Historical Society (PHS) website and is re-posted here.

A button for the event on August 28, 1963, "The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom", shows and image of clasped hands one white and the other black. Did you know that August 28, 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom? The March was a pivotal event in the Civil Rights Movement and where Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. Many Presbyterians were part of the struggle for equality. On this special anniversary, we are proud to offer a variety of resources demonstrating the dynamic role Presbyterians played.

black and white crowd photo during the March on Washington.  People are holding signs of ecumenical unity.  In the foreground is one that says, "We march together, Catholic, Jews, Protestants, for dignity and brotherhood of all men under God Now!


"Presbyterians and the Struggle for Civil Rights," is an article from The Journal of Presbyterian History written by Frederick J. Heuser discussing Presbyterian involvement in the movement. 


"Reminiscences from the March on Washington, 1963" are stories written by Presbyterians who participated in the March that hot summer day in August; these accounts first appeared in the Civil Rights special issue of The Journal of Presbyterian History.

a close photo of Eugene Carson Blake near a police vehicle in Baltimore, July 4, 1963.


On July 4, 1963, Eugene Carson Blake, Stated Clerk of the UPCUSA, challenged the owners of Maryland's Gwynn Oak Amusement Park to desegregate and was subsequently jailed in Baltimore for trespassing.


A Non-Segregated Church in a Non-Segregated Society: Presbyterians and the Civil Rights A white man and two African American women walk on a sidewalk in front of a storefront during the civil rights movement.Movement" features materials from the collections about Civil Rights activism in the Presbyterian Church, reprinted from Our Documentary Heritage in The Journal of Presbyterian History 2012.


Presbyterians and the Civil Rights Movement, is a free, downloadable exhibit from PHSA crowd marches - prominantly in the center of the photo is an older woman in a wheelchair holding a sign which reads, "Synod of Virginia, Presbyterian Church US.".


Marching Toward the Dream, [video] a PHS sponsored event featuring stories of the Civil Rights Movement told first hand by Presbyterians. (If the link does not work, go to


 Black Presbyterians: The Legacy Series, [video] a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) series about the struggle for racial equality. (If the link does not work, go to

In the August 1 issue of The Stated Clerk's Column, The Reverend Gradye Parsons, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, marks the 50th Anniversary of the March, and reflects that there is still work to do.

The collections at PHS have a wealth of information about the Civil Rights movement. Learn more about the materials in these finding aids.

Tags: civil rights, civil rights movement, eugene carson blake, march on washington, phs, presbyerians