ABOUT THE FILM
The Psalm of Howard Thurman is the first feature-length documentary film on the life and wisdom of one of the world's greatest spiritual treasures, Howard Thurman (1899-1981).
The film introduces audiences to Thurman’s uplifting story, his transcendent yet grounded presence, and his important voice for our times. The film aspires to be a psalm,
a lyrical work of beauty and truth, and a creative utterance that moves, touches and inspires.
Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you
come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive...
ABOUT HOWARD THURMAN
A JOURNEY OF HEART, MIND AND SOUL
Thurman attended high school in Jacksonville, Florida. He later completed studies at Morehouse College, Atlanta in 1923 and the Rochester Theological Seminary, New York in 1926. In 1929, after serving his first pastorship in Oberlin, Ohio, Thurman returned to Atlanta to serve as Professor of Religion and Philosophy and Director of Religious Life at Morehouse and Spelman Colleges. Thurman felt that it was his immediate responsibility to inspire and encourage students in their individual quests for the truth."
In 1935, while a professor at Howard University in Washington, D.C., Thurman and his wife, Sue Bailey Thurman, led a pilgrimage of African Americans to Ceylon, Burma and India and met with Mahatma Gandhi. As a result of this trip, he formulated, a generation before Martin Luther King Jr., a non-violent approach to social change in America. This "love-ethic" informed one of Thurman's best known works, Jesus and the Disinherited, a book which later influenced King and other leaders of the Civil Rights Movement.
At the close of the 1935 pilgrimage, looking down into Afghanistan at the Khyber Pass, Thurman experienced a vision of a church that would be open to "seekers of all colors and creeds." He was compelled to see if "experiences of spiritual unity among peoples could be more compelling than the experiences which divide them."
Howard and Sue Bailey Thurman
Howard Thurman Birth Home, Daytona, Florida, USA
HOWARD THURMAN was born in Daytona, Florida in 1899. Early on, he developed a kinship with nature and a "hunger of the heart"--a curiosity into the meaning of life. He found refuge during times of loneliness and trepidation in an old oak tree in his back yard. It was while young Howard stood with his back placed firmly against the tree that he first felt the unity of all living things and engaged in what he would later call, "the religious experience."
As a young boy Thurman was raised by a strong and affirming grandmother. She was a former slave who had a profound influence on what would become an essential part of Thurman's thought--that if theology is to have any validity, it must justly deal with one's life situation and must affirm one's worth as a child of God.
I believe this film will stimulate reconciliation across racial, religious and ethnic identities. In telling Thurman's story, this film tells the story of how head and heart serve the passion for a just and nurturing society.
LUTHER E. SMITH, JR., / AUTHOR, HOWARD THURMAN: THE MYSTIC AS PROPHET
Howard Thurman’s insights about knowledge of the self and the other are indispensable foundations for spiritual formation; his vision of purposeful community is more relevant than ever.
HEIDI J. KIM / MISSIONER FOR RACIAL RECONCILIATION, THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH
...strong, inspirational, passionate and heartfelt....
Howard Thurman's life must be told. It is an American biography that begs to intercede into some of today's hopelessness and despair.
KEN BURNS / DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER
MEET THE ARTISTS BEHIND THE FILM
“Arleigh Prelow is the right person to create a documentary about Dr. Thurman. She has the spiritual sensibility to understand his life and convey who he was in a truthful and meaningful way.”
- Sue Bailey Thurman (before her death in 1996)
CAPTURING MOMENTS THROUGH THE YEARS
FOUNDING MEMBER OF FELLOWSHIP CHURCH,
INTERVIEWS WITH ARLEIGH PRELOW, PRODUCER/DIRECTOR
PBS: RELIGION AND ETHICS NEWSWEEKLY
Howard Thurman had a profound spiritual impact on civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr. Yet for much of the last half century, Thurman's contributions have often been overlooked. Now, more than 30 years after his death in 1981, Howard Thurman is finding a new audience.
HARTLEY FILM FOUNDATION
Arleigh Prelow, director of Howard Thurman, shines a light on the story of one remarkable individual. Howard Thurman established the nation's first interracial, inter-cultural and interfaith congregation and advocated tirelessly for community among disparate races and faiths.
HARVARD DIVINITY SCHOOL
Arleigh Prelow, graduate of Harvard University, finds her ministry through film making. In a way, Arleigh Prelow's journey to Harvard Divinity School began with a car crash. “After the accident I asked myself, ‘What dreams do you have to fulfill with this new opportunity to live?"
WHY IS THE FILM TITLED "THE PSALM OF
Filmmaker Arleigh Prelow reflects upon what inspired her to title her film, The Psalm of Howard Thurman.
MEETING HOWARD THURMAN
It happened one October morning in San Francisco. Filmmaker Arleigh Prelow shares the experience of meeting Howard Thurman.
WHAT IS NEEDED TO COMPLETE THE FILM?
The Psalm of Howard Thurman is currently in post-production. Filmmaker Arleigh Prelow discusses what has to be done to finish the film.
The MARC STEINER Show
This show takes a look at The Psalm of Howard Thurman, a film on Howard Thurman, one of our nation’s most original and important theological thinkers. Mark Steiner speaks with Arleigh Prelow, Producer-Director of The Psalm of Howard Thurman, about her film.
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THE SPIRIT AND WORK OF HOWARD THURMAN LIVES ON
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