Cole Lecture Part 1: Race, Religion and the American Project

Watch video of Anthea Butler, Associate Professor of Religious Studies and the Graduate Chair of Religion, University of Pennsylvania, for the second Cole Lecture when she expands on the way different communities have used the founders and their documents to open up religious and civic opportunities for all. The presentation is part of the Divinity School’s 2012 Cole Lectures.

While white right-wing Christians have used the founders and their writings to revise the history of America, immigrants and people of color also have called upon these documents to advance call for civil and equal rights. How have the same documents used to exclude others been used as a tool to push forward equality, religious, and civil rights by communities not considered by the framers?

Philanthropist Edmund W. Cole, president of Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad and treasurer of the Vanderbilt University Board of Trust, endowed the annual Cole Lecture Series in 1892 “for the defense and advocacy of the Christian religion.” Cole’s gift provided for the first sustained lectureship in the history of Vanderbilt University.