Will D. Campbell

Rev. Will D. Campbell

Rev. Will Campbell worked with the National Council of Churches in the late 1950s, was a radical Baptist during the Civil Rights Movement, and the author of such books as Brother to a Dragonfly, which was a finalist for the National Book Award in 1978. Born a farmer's son in Amite County, Mississippi in 1924, Campbell was ordained as a minister by his Baptist congregation at the age of 17. He went on to serve in World War II before attending Wake Forest University, Duke University, and Yale Divinity School.

Campbell was one of four people who escorted new African American students integrating public schools in Little Rock, Arkansas. At the founding of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), he was the only white person present. Yet Campbell complained about the Civil Rights Movement's priorities: why had organizers been singularly concerned with access to public bathrooms, coffee shops and waiting rooms in bus stations?  He argued that these were the last places you could expect to find the men who controlled the social arrangements. If white power was the real culprit, Campbell insisted, then stage sit-ins at the Rotary Club or during the mid-summer debutante cotillion and seek instead to reform the culture of the white church. Campbell was also controversial because he was known to minister to members of the Klu Klux Klan, whom he believed to also be in need of God’s grace.

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

"I believe God was in Christ, not will be, perhaps, maybe if we're good boys and girls, it's over, it's done, we are one people, race is a violation, nations are a violation…"
"For the most part, people in the pew, they simply would not tolerate anything that’s that out of tune with the local culture. And they would say, “The hell with Mr. Jesus”!"

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.

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2012 Paul Gaston Government by Demonstration: Righting Virginia's Wrongs
2000 Jennifer Ford Will Campbell and Christ's Ambassadors: Selections from the Katallagete/James Y. Halloway Collection, Special Collections, University of Mississippi
Charles Marsh
Bob Zellner
Bob Zellner Interview, New York City, NY, 10/29/97
1997 Will Campbell Elvis Presley as Redneck
Bill Leonard
Will D. Campbell
Book Review: The Stem of Jesse: The Costs of Community at a 1960s Southern School
1995 Will D. Campbell Delete 'Fundamentalist'
1993 Timothy George "'Cause I Was Called, You Fool!"
1993 Perry H. Biddle Jr. Providence
Charles Marsh
Will Campbell
Will Campbell Interview, 7/6/1993
1993 Charles Marsh Will D. Campbell, Interview Notes 8/1993
1990 Patrick H. Samway Will Campbell: Fabled Preacher
1990 Lawrence Wright The First Church of Rednecks, White Socks, and Blue Ribbon Beer
1989 Unknown Will D. Campbell
Andrew Pratt
Will D. Campbell
Book Review: The Convention: A Parable
1989 Charles H. Lippy Twentieth-Century Shapers of American Popular Religion
Will D. Campbell
Myron A. Marty
Book Review: 40 Acres and a Goat: A Memoir
Frye Gaillard
Will D. Campbell
Book Review: 40 Acres and a Goat
1984 Kenneth L. Gibble Living Out The Drama: An Interview With Will Campbell
Fredrick Mills
Thomas Connelly
Book Review: William Campbell and the Soul of the South
1983 Lloyd Billingsley Enigma of Faith in the Old South
1983 Murray L. Wagner Cecelia's Sin
John McEntyre
Will D. Campbell
Book Review: The Glad River
Will Campbell
Bob Hall
Wekesa Madzimoyo
Chris Mayfield
Marc Miller
Joe Pfister
Kathleen Zobel
Jim Overton
Pat Bryan
Clean Up the Botulism
1976 Unknown Southern Exposure Volume IV, Number 3
Jim Sessions
Sue Thrasher
John Lewis
A New Day Begun
Will D. Campbell
Orley B. Caudill
An Oral History With Will D. Campbell
1974 Will D. Campbell The World of the Redneck
1970 John Egerton "John Lewis," from A Mind to Stay Here
1970 John Egerton A Mind to Stay Here: Profiles from the South
1970 John Egerton "Will Campbell," from A Mind to Stay Here
1970 John Egerton Fannie Lou Hamer
1965 Will Campbell Committee to Investigate the Los Angeles Riot (Untitled Article)
1965 Unknown The New South Student November 1965 Issue
1964 Jim Newton Baptists Challenged To Improve Race Scene
1963 Unknown Notes on the Church Visits Campaign of Protest(Untitled Document)
1963 Will D. Campbell Southern Ministers are Rebelling -at Long Last
1963 Unknown Letter from the Student Interracial Ministry Committee to Churches and Pastors Interested in the Student Interracial Ministry
1962 Will D. Campbell Race and the Renewal of the Church
1962 Will D. Campbell We Are a Third Race
1962 Unknown Memorandum from the Student Interracial Ministry Committee to Friends of the Student Interracial Ministry
1962 Roger L. Shinn The Student Interracial Ministry: A Venture of Faith
Will D. Campbell
James Y. Halloway
The Good News From God In Jesus Is Freedom To The Prisoners