John Perkins

Mr. John Perkins

John M. Perkins is an influential community organizer, minister, speaker, writer, and civil rights activist. Born on June 16, 1930 into a African-American sharecropping family, Perkins left Mississippi for California at age 17 after the murder of his older brother. While professionally successful in California, Perkins felt called back to the South. What started out as an evangelical ministry in Mendenhall, Mississippi expanded to include such community development initiatives as a health facility, a thrift store, and a leadership training center. Perkins, an outspoken advocate for social justice, was jailed, beaten, and frequently harassed for his civil rights work. He continues to advocate for reconciliation and his work has been recognized with honorary doctorates from nine institutions. He has written several books, including Let Justice Roll Down and A Quiet Revolution: The Christian response to human need, a strategy for today. In 1989, Perkins helped form the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA), a coalition of individuals, churches, businesses, ministries and institutions that advocate for under-resourced communities across America. Perkins currently works for The John M. Perkins Foundation, a training ground that has energized generations of faith-based activists and organizers.

Quotes from interviews with this actor are listed below. To see excerpts from interview transcripts, click on the associated Excerpts link below each quote.

"...but what drives me too is I imagine... my mother [saying to me], 'What did you do for other people like me?...What did you do for other people like me?' this idea of the poor, it’s so deeply rooted."
"And so they tortured us in that jail. And that’s when I said to God, 'If you allow me to get out of here alive... then I want to preach a Gospel that is stronger than my race... I want to preach a Gospel that could reconcile black and whites together.'"

Find below primary and secondary resources located in the Project on Lived Theology's Civil Rights Archive associated with this Actor. Click on a title to see the full record.