Howard Vogel invited Doug Sturm and me to explain ourselves. Why did we take up law? Why theology? And why law and theology together? He encouraged us to offer personal accounts in response, and I am glad to comply.
Why law? The answer is simple. I had no choice. I was ordained to the ministry of the Presbyterian Church in 1961, and in 1962 became minister to a small congregation in a small town in middle Tennessee. In 1966 I was named the Presbyterian Campus Minister at the University of Georgia. My wife, June, our children and I moved to Athens.
The Presbyterian Center was notorious for its faithful witness in difficult, explosive times. I had read about the Center and its work a couple of years earlier in a New Yorker magazine article by Calvin Trillin. That article was subsequently incorporated into a well-taken book about the liberating trauma of integration in Georgia, especially at the University.
When Hamilton Holmes and Charlayne Hunter desegregated the University of Georgia, they were greeted by massive, violent riots.
Minority students who followed Charlayne and Hamilton and enrolled in the University, were subject to no less intimidation. The Presbyterian Center was a place of refuge for them, and some lived in apartments on the premises. In due course, the Center became a gathering place for people committed to remedying racism.