Howard Thurman (November 18, 1899 – April 10, 1981) was an influential African American author, philosopher, theologian, educator and civil rights leader. He was Dean of Chapel at Howard University and Boston University for more than two decades, wrote 21 books, and in 1944 helped found a multicultural church. Thurman, along with Mordecai Johnson and Vernon Johns, was considered one of the three greatest African-American preachers in the early 20th-century.
Howard Thurman was born in 1899 in Daytona Beach, Florida and grew up in the segregated South.
In 1923, Howard Thurman graduated from Morehouse College as valedictorian. He was ordained a Baptist minister in 1925, after completing his study at the Colgate Rochester Theological Seminary (now Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School). Shortly after ordination, he pastored Mount Zion Baptist Church in Oberlin, Ohio from 1925 to 1928. He then pursued further study as a special student of philosophy at Haverford College with Rufus Jones, a noted Quaker philosopher and mystic.