AU Religion Professor Contributes Chapter for Book

AU Religion Professor Contributes Chapter for Book

2/26/19 ASHLAND, Ohio – Dr. Peter Slade, professor of Religion at Ashland University, has contributed a chapter to the book Can I Get a Witness?: Thirteen Peacemakers, Community-Builders, and Agitators for Faith and Justice.

The book, which presents “the compelling stories of pioneers for social justice who engaged in peaceful protest and gave voice to the marginalized, working courageously out of their religious convictions to transform American culture,” will be published by Eerdmans Publishing Co. on Thursday, Feb. 28.

“I had the wonderful experience of working with twelve other writers brought together by the University of Virginia’s Project on Lived Theology,” Slade explained. “We are trying to present a range of very human Christian heroes from the last century -- some familiar and some you’ll have never heard of -- that will inspire us to witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ today.”

The project’s goal was for the scholars to write research-enriched narratives to bring these significant “peculiar people” to life. Slade’s chapter is on the fascinating but little-known American prophet Howard Kester. It focuses on the period in the 1930s when Kester, a white man and a southerner, risked his life going undercover to investigate lynchings and peonage.

“It was his courageous work which is credited by historians as ending the practice of spectacle lynching in the United States,” Slade said. Kester had a huge influence on a generation of Christian students through his writing and speaking, which helped lay the groundwork for the civil rights movement. “Kester really struggled to bring together the power of a personal faith in Jesus and a bold witness to social justice for God’s kingdom -- I wanted to tell that story.”

The book is already receiving a positive reception. The reviewer for the trade publication Booklist wrote, “If it is the goal of the contributors to offer vibrant storytelling, to bring these figures to life, they have succeeded beautifully. . . [To] the question asked by the title—the answer is clearly and enthusiastic yes. Say ‘amen,’ somebody.”

The book will be available at the AU Bookstore.

Ashland University, which has been ranked in the top tier of colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category, is a mid-sized, comprehensive private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Religiously affiliated with the Brethren Church, Ashland University ( deeply values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students. ###