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Jeremiah Alvesta Wright Jr. (born September 22, 1941) is a pastor emeritus of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, a congregation he led for 36 years, during which its membership grew to over 8,000 parishioners.[5] Following retirement, his beliefs and preaching were scrutinized when segments of his sermons about terrorist attacks on the United States and government dishonesty were publicized in connection with the presidential campaign of Barack Obama.[6]

Early years

Wright was born on September 22, 1941.[7] He was born and raised in the racially mixed area of Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[8] His parents were Jeremiah Wright Sr. (1909–2001), a Baptist minister who pastored Grace Baptist Church in Germantown from 1938 to 1980,[9] and Mary Elizabeth Henderson Wright, a school teacher who was the first black person to teach an academic subject at Roosevelt Junior High. She went on to be the first black person to teach at Germantown High and Girls High, where she became the school's first black vice principal.

Wright graduated from Central High School of Philadelphia in 1959, among the best schools in the area at the time.[8] At the time, the school was around 90 percent white.[10] The 211th class yearbook described Wright as a respected member of the class. "Always ready with a kind word, Jerry is one of the most congenial members of the 211," the yearbook said. "His record in Central is a model for lower class [younger] members to emulate."[8]

Education and military service

Jeremiah Wright (second from right, behind IV pole), in 1966, as a US Navy Hospital Corpsman. He is tending to President Lyndon Johnson, standing behind him is Bill Moyers.[11] (A letter of thanks on behalf of the President is superimposed on photo).

From 1959 to 1961, Wright attended Virginia Union University,[12] in Richmond and is a member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity, Zeta chapter. In 1961 Wright left college and joined the United States Marine Corps and became part of the 2nd Marine Division attaining the rank of private first class. In 1963, after two years of service, Wright joined the United States Navy and entered the Corpsman School at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center.[13][14] Wright was then trained as a cardiopulmonary technician at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Wright was assigned as part of the medical team charged with care of President Lyndon B. Johnson (see photo of Wright caring for Johnson after his 1966 surgery). Before leaving the position in 1967, the White House Physician, Vice Admiral Burkley, personally wrote Wright a letter of thanks on behalf of the United States President.[15][16][17]

In 1967 Wright enrolled at Howard University in Washington, DC, where he earned a bachelor's degree in 1968 and a master's degree in English in 1969. He also earned a master's degree from the University of Chicago Divinity School.[13] Wright holds a Doctor of Ministry degree (1990) from the United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio, where he studied under Samuel DeWitt Proctor, a mentor to Martin Luther King Jr.[18]

His wife is Ramah Reed Wright, and he has four daughters, Janet Marie Moore, Jeri Lynne Wright, Nikol D. Reed, and Jamila Nandi Wright, and one son, Nathan D. Reed.[13]

Career as minister

[7] He was born and raised in the racially mixed area of Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[8] His parents were Jeremiah Wright Sr. (1909–2001), a Baptist minister who pastored Grace Baptist Church in Germantown from 1938 to 1980,[9] and Mary Elizabeth Henderson Wright, a school teacher who was the first black person to teach an academic subject at Roosevelt Junior High. She went on to be the first black person to teach at Germantown High and Girls High, where she became the school's first black vice principal.

Wright graduated from Central High School of Philadelphia in 1959, among the best schools in the area at the time.[8] At the time, the school was around 90 percent white.[10] The 211th class yearbook described Wright as a respected member of the class. "Always ready with a kind word, Jerry is one of the most congenial members of the 211," the yearbook said. "His record in Central is a model for lower class [younger] members to emulate."[8]

Education and military service

Central High School of Philadelphia in 1959, among the best schools in the area at the time.[8] At the time, the school was around 90 percent white.[10] The 211th class yearbook described Wright as a respected member of the class. "Always ready with a kind word, Jerry is one of the most congenial members of the 211," the yearbook said. "His record in Central is a model for lower class [younger] members to emulate."[8]

From 1959 to 1961, Wright attended Virginia Union University,[12] in Richmond and is a member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity, Zeta chapter. In 1961 Wright left college and joined the United States Marine Corps and became part of the 2nd Marine Division attaining the rank of private first class. In 1963, after two years of service, Wright joined the United States Navy and entered the Corpsman School at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center.[13][14] Wright was then trained as a cardiopulmonary technician at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Wright was assigned as part of the medical team charged with care of President Lyndon B. Johnson (see photo of Wright caring for Johnson after his 1966 surgery). Before leaving the position in 1967, the White House Physician, Vice Admiral Burkley, personally wrote Wright a letter of thanks on behalf of the United States President.[15][16][17]

In 1967 Wright enrolled at Howard University in Washington, DC, where he earned a bachelor's degree in 1968 and a master's degree in English in 1969. He also earned a master's degree from the University of Chicago Divinity School.[13] Wright holds a Doctor of Ministry degree (1990) from the United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio, where he studied under Samuel DeWitt Proctor, a mentor to Martin Luther King Jr.[18]

His wife is Ramah Reed Wright, and he has four daughters, Janet Marie Moore, Jeri Lynne Wright, Nikol D. Reed, and Jamila Nandi Wright, and one son, Nathan D. Reed.[13]

Career as minister

Wright has written several books and is featured on Wynton Marsalis's album The Majesty of the Blues, where he recites a spoken word piece written by Stanley Crouch, and on the Odyssey Channel series Great Preachers.[48][49]

References

  1. ^ Hewitt, Hugh (April 25, 2008). "Providing Context for Reverend Wright: The New Audio of His Sermons". HughHewitt.com. Retrieved March 12, 2019.
  2. ^ Wright, Jeremiah A., Jr. (1990). Black Sacred Music: Problems and Possibilities (DMin thesis). Dayton, Ohio: United Theological Seminary. OCLC 33027349.
  3. ^ Alberts, Hana R. (April 28, 2008). "Rev. Wright Reclaims the Spotlight". Forbes. Retrieved March 12, 2019.
  4. ^ "About the Rev. Jeremiah Wright". Seattle Times. March 15, 2008. Retrieved March 12, 2019.
  5. ^ a b Jennifer O'Shea. 10 Things You Didn't Know About Jeremiah Wright. US News and World Reports
  6. ^ a b Banks, Adelle (2008-03-22). "Obama Finds Pulpit in Center of Racial Divide". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-03-22.
  7. ^ Meyer, Stephen (2013). "Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.". In Mazurkiewicz, Margaret (ed.). Contemporary Black Biography. 103. Farmington Hills, Michigan: Gale. p. 169. ISBN 978-1-4144-8070-1. ISSN 1058-1316.
  8. ^ a b c Desmond S. King; Rogers M. Smith (4 September 2011). Still a House Divided: Race and Politics in Obama's America. Princeton University Press. pp. 4–. ISBN 978-0-691-14263-0.