Howard Thurman film screening may 9

Backs Against the Wall  free screening and discussion at Second Presbyterian Church of Charleston

Backs Against the Wall free screening and discussion at Second Presbyterian Church of Charleston

Backs Against The Wall: The Howard Thurman Story

FREE Screening & Discussion

Thursday, May 9th, 6:30 p.m.

Second Presbyterian Church


More about the film:

Backs Against The Wall explores the extraordinary life and legacy of one of the most important religious figures of the 20th century. Born the grandson of slaves, Thurman became a “spiritual foundation” for the Civil Rights Movement, inspiring many of its leaders including Martin Luther King, Jr, Jesse Jackson and Congressman John Lewis.

In the mid-1930s, Thurman was the first Black American invited to meet Mohandas Gandhi who shared his strategy of non-violent resistance. Gandhi suggested it would be through the African-American experience that the non-violence resistance movement could take on global significance. When Thurman returned to America, his writings and speeches planted the early seeds for the non-violent Civil Rights Movement.

Thurman is also remembered for helping launch The Fellowship Church for All People in San Francisco, a pioneering venture to create the nation’s first interracial, intercultural church community. Thurman was a gifted and prolific writer who authored more than 20 books and celebrated as one of the great preachers of his era.

Backs Against The Wall is produced and directed by Martin Doblmeier, who will introduce the film. The screening at Second Presbyterian Church will conclude with a panel discussion.

Film interviews include: John Lewis, Barbara Brown Taylor, Vernon Jordan, Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., Gregory Ellison, Walter Earl Fluker.

A free community screening of Backs Against the Wall: The Howard Thurman Story will be shown in the sanctuary at Second Presbyterian Church, immediately followed by a panel discussion moderated by filmmaker Martin Doblmeier.


More information:

LOCATION: Second Presbyterian Church of Charleston Sanctuary

342 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC 29403  Directions

CONTACT: (843)723-9237

PARKING: The Second Presbyterian Church parking lot is available for the event at the corner of John and Elizabeth Streets. There is also street parking (both metered and residential) on John, Elizabeth, and Charlotte Streets.

PANEL: The panel discussion at the conclusion of the screening is moderated by filmmaker Martin Doblemeier, and includes:

Martin Doblmeier, moderator- Martin holds degrees in Religious Studies, Broadcast Journalism and honorary degrees in Fine Arts and Humane Letters. Since 1984 he has produced and directed more than 30 films focused on religion, faith and spirituality. Martin combines a lifelong interest in religion with a passion for storytelling. Over the years he has traveled on location to more than forty countries to profile numerous religious leaders, spiritual communities, heads of state and Nobel Laureates. His films explore how belief can lead individuals to extraordinary acts, how spirituality creates and sustains communities and how faith is lived in extraordinary ways.

Rev. Joe Darby served four congregations in the Midlands and Charleston’s Morris Brown AME Church. He was presiding elder of the Beaufort District of the AME Church and now pastors Charleston’s Nichols Chapel AME Church. Darby was also a founding co-chairperson of the Charleston Area Justice Ministry and was president of the S.C. Christian Action Council and the S.C. Civil Liberties Union. He is also a life member of the NAACP and has served as first vice-president of the S.C. NAACP. He is a board member for the S.C. Advisory Committee of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, first vice-president of the Charleston Branch NAACP, and is a member of The Citadel’s Diversity Advisory Committee. His honors and awards include the S.C. Christian Action Council’s Howard G. McClain Christian Action in Public Policy Award and the NAACP Southeast Region Medgar W. Evers Leadership Award. He is recognized in the S.C. Black Hall of Fame, was featured in the AT&T African-American History Calendar, is a member of the Richland County School District One Hall of Fame and is a recipient of the Charleston YMCA’s Harvey Gantt Freedom Award. He also received the Conference of National Black Churches’ John Hurst Adams Advocacy Award.

Dr. Felice Knight currently teaches African American History as a Visiting Assistant Professor at the Citadel and is also a member of the Universities Studying Slavery Committee. She completed undergraduate studies in History at Furman University (B.A.) and graduate studies in History at The College of Charleston and The Citadel (M.A.) and at The Ohio State University (Ph.D.). Her research, which has been supported by the Institute for Southern Studies at USC and several university grants, focuses on institutional slavery, or the ownership and hire of slaves by universities, schools, and government institutions. Her current project explores the ownership and hire of slaves by the City of Charleston during the early national and antebellum periods. Work pertaining to her Master’s Thesis, a study of the black freedom struggle in Charleston during the mid- to late-twentieth century, has been published by the University of South Carolina Press.

Rep. J.A. Moore is a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives. Moore graduated from Johnson & Wales University with a degree in culinary arts. His professional experience includes working as a chef, restaurant general manager, cafe manager, food and beverage manager, and catering director.The catalyst that lead to the decision to run for office was personal tragedies and crisis in his life. Those events taught him the value of how fragile life is and if you have a purpose in life, do it now. 

Dr. J. Goosby Smith- A native of Gary, IN and an alumna of Spelman College and Case Western Reserve University, Dr. J. Goosby Smith currently serves as Associate Professor of Management and Leadership at The Citadel’s Tommy and Victoria Baker School of Business. She also serves as The Citadel’s Assistant Provost for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and the Co-Director of the campus’s Truth Racial Healing and Transformation Center. The TRHT Center facilitates local CitListen and Healing Circle sessions to promote cross-racial and interfaith connection through storytelling. Dr. J’s research and consulting focus on workplace inclusion in military and higher education workspaces, interfaith unity, and building human resiliency. She has written numerous scholarly articles and is the co-author of Beyond Inclusion: Workplace Inter-connectedness Energy and Resilience in Organizations. She is the editor of the soon to be published book Blessed Are Those Who Ask the Questions.

Rose Stump was born in Tallahassee and graduated from the University of Central Florida with a degree in English Literature and Women’s Studies. While in Central Florida, she worked to improve farm workers' conditions. Rose recently graduated with an MPA from UNC Chapel Hill where she continued organizing with farm workers as well as with her peers to bring the Racial Equity Institute to her master’s program. She also helped contribute to the first ever data collection effort on the diversity of local government leaders. She believes relationship-building is a vital part of addressing oppression and achieving collective liberation and she is committed to organizing in the south among the people and traditions who made her who she is.  

SPONSORS: This community screening presented at Second Presbyterian Church is sponsored by:

and supported by:

Second Presbyterian Church of Charleston is a visionary participant in the downtown cultural and spiritual renewal taking place in Charleston and across the country. We are seizing God's call to be a part of it and seeking to partner with the community in meaningful and encouraging ways. Second Presbyterian is committed to being an active part of engaging the community in meaningful ways to inspire growth and action in the love of Jesus Christ. We are always looking for visionaries, revolutionaries, and humble dissenters - who relish the thought of taking "old" church and making all things new in Christ.

Second Presbyterian Church is a progressive, Christ-centered congregation where everybody feels welcomed.