James H. Cone, winner of religion award, dies at 79

James H. Cone, winner of the 2018 Grawemeyer Award in Religion, died on April 28. He was 79.

Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary President Michael Jinkins sent out the following message to the seminary community:

Dear friends,

I am deeply saddened to relay the news from President Serene Jones of Union Seminary, New York, that Dr. James Cone has died.

Dr. Cone was a giant spanning the theological landscape in America for generations. An eloquent and passionate leader in civil rights, a scholar of exceptional breadth and depth, and a beloved teacher, he touched the lives of thousands who never knew him in person, shaped our social and political ethos in more ways than anyone can number, and established a beachhead for liberation from which we cannot retreat.

When, only a few weeks ago, I had the privilege of presenting him with the Grawemeyer Award in Religion, at President Jones home in New York, he said it was the crowning honor of his life because, he said, “The Grawemeyer is the Nobel Prize in Religion.” Just before leaving that small gathering on that snowy afternoon, he remarked that he had not felt well that morning and the day had not been a very good one until he arrived for the ceremony. But receiving the award in the presence of beloved family, friends, colleagues and students had made a difficult day turn out wonderfully.

Please join me in praying for Dr. Cone’s family, his colleagues at Union, his students, and his many, many friends in this time of profound loss. He shall be greatly missed.

–Michael Jinkins