Remembering Dr. James Hal Cone



San Francisco Theological Seminary extends its sympathy to the family and colleagues of James H. Cone, founder of Black Liberation Theology and, for 49 years, professor of theology at Union Theological Seminary in New York. At SFTS we can hardly imagine what our classrooms would be without God of the Oppressed and The Cross and the Lynching Tree, what theology would be without his radical critique of white Christianity or what our lives would be had we not known his influence. We celebrate the life of one of God’s great lions even as we mourn his loss.


“James Cone’s work not only affirmed the realities of Black Christianity, but also called white Christianity out on its supremacist theology. As a young Black scholar, Cone’s words and life are the imperative calling me, and others like me, to be intellectuals who are unapologetically Black, constantly disruptive of the status quo, communally-minded, and unrelenting in our quest for justice. His physical absence is deeply felt, and his legacy is even more palpable.”

Yolanda Norton
Assistant Professor of Old Testament

“Studying James Cone in graduate school blew my mind. He was so bold and direct in his relentless unmasking of the infection of Christianity by white racism, and inspiring in his evocation of the Black Christ and the witness of the black church. Studying The Cross and the LynchingTree decades later did the same. He alters the way we imagine Christianity and ourselves and our work. May we constantly return to this well and remember what has been and what might be.”

Wendy Farley
Professor of Spirituality and Director of the Program in Christian Spirituality