Backs Against the Wall

A documentary film of the life of Howard Thurman.


Thursday, February 28, 2019 from 7:30PM to 9:00PM


Bytwerk Video Theater, Devos Communication Center, Calvin College
Grand Rapids, Michigan


Backs Against the Wall (directed by Martin Doblmeier, Journey Films) explores the extraordinary life and legacy of Howard Thurman, 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. His book Jesus and the Disinherited is considered a spiritual classic.

Learn more about the film

Following the screening (60 minutes), there will be time for questions and discussion. The evening is hosted by John D. Witvliet, director of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, and Danjuma Gibson, associate professor of pastoral care at Calvin Theological Seminary.

See the related summer seminar “African American Religious Autobiography” co-led by Dr. Danjuma Gibson and Dr. Witvliet.