Magazine article The Christian Century

Gil Caldwell

Magazine article The Christian Century

Gil Caldwell

Article excerpt

Gil Caldwell, 81, visited the campus of Duke Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina, for a glimpse of what might have been.

Some 60 years ago, Caldwell said, Duke rejected his application because of his race. He headed to Boston University School of Theology, where Martin Luther King Jr. earned his doctorate in 1955. Caldwell marched with King to protest school segregation in Boston and followed him to Washington, D.C., in 1963 for his "I Have a Dream" speech. Caldwell was a "foot soldier" in King's civil rights army, he said.

Later, he was a founder of both Black Methodists for Church Renewal and United Methodists of Color for a Fully Inclusive Church. He was in Durham this spring to close out a social justice conference focused on the full inclusion of LGBT people in the United Methodist Church.

"There is a possibility that on gay rights and marriage equality, God is speaking more through the judiciary than God is speaking through the United Methodist Church," Caldwell said in his sermon.

As he walked through Duke's campus, he introduced himself to students and told them his history--the first African-American students weren't admitted to Duke until 1962, school officials said--and asked whether LGBT issues are discussed on campus. …

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