TURNER, OTIS, 1940-.
Otis Turner papers, 1966-2012

Emory University

Pitts Theology Library

1531 Dickey Drive, Suite 560

Atlanta, GA 30322


Permanent link: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/vjwtz

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Turner, Otis, 1940-.
Title: Otis Turner papers, 1966-2012
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 471
Extent: 1.0 cubic feet (2 boxes)
Abstract:This collection contains memorabilia, documents, and writings related to the career of Rev. Dr. Otis Turner.
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Unrestricted access.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.

Related Materials in Other Repositories

Otis Turner papers, 1978-1990 (New York Public Library, Sc MG 436)


Gift of Otis Turner, 2018


[after identification of item(s)], Otis Turner papers, MSS 471, Archives and Manuscript Dept., Pitts Theology Library, Emory University.


Processed by Brandon Wason, February 2021.

Collection Description

Biographical Note

Otis Turner (1940-), a Georgia native, is a retired Presbyterian minister and advocate for racial and social justice. In 1962, he received a Bachelor of Science from Albany State College (Albany, Georgia). Then, in 1965, Turner enrolled at Candler School of Theology as the first African American student admitted to the school. He graduated from Candler in 1969 with a bachelor of divinity and was ordained in the United Presbyterian Church (USA) in June of that year. He continued his education by earning a PhD from Emory’s Graduate Division of Religion in 1974. The library holds multiple copies of his PhD dissertation, Toward an Ethic of Black Liberation based on the Philosophy of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Stokely Carmichael's Concept of Black Power.

Turner advocated racial justice within the Presbyterian Church (USA) and took on various roles within academic institutions. He served as an assistant professor of religion and was the first African American faculty member at Wofford College (Spartanburg, South Carolina). Afterward, he was the assistant dean and director of the Division of Student Affairs at South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind. Then he served as the director of the Council on Church and Race for the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Coordinator for Racial Justice Policy Development as well as the Administrator of the Fund for Legal Aid in the Racial Ethnic Ministry Unit of the Presbyterian Church (USA). Turner retired in 2003.

In recognition for his work for racial justice, Turner has received numberous awards, such as the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Award, the Rockefeller Fellowship, and an award from Candler School of Theology’s Black Church Studies Program. The Ducree—Turner Scholarship, named for Edward Ducree and Otis Turner, was established at Candler School of Theology in order support students who have discerned a call to serve within historically black denominational traditions.

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains memorabilia, photographs, writings, and other documents that record the career of Rev. Dr. Otis Turner.

Arrangement Note

Arranged alphabetically by title.

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Container List

Box Folder Content
2 1 Bachelor of Divinity diploma, 1969
1 1 Biographical files and curriculum vitae, undated
2 2 Black Church Studies Award program and photographs, 2005
1 2 Clippings related to Turner's career, 1966, 1969, 1993, 2003, 2011
1 3 Dissertation copyright registration, 1974
2 3 Doctor of Philosophy diploma, 1974
2 4 Doctor of Philosophy graduation hood, 1974
1 4 Drama Presentation: M. L. King Celebration, Presbyterian Center, 1997
1 5 Periscope 4: African American Presbyterians--Living into the 21st Century [profile on Turner, pages 60-61], 2004
1 6 Photographs, circa 1975, 1992, 2012
1 7 Prayer from the Black Community delivered in Glenn Memorial Church, April 10, 1968, at the Memorial Service for Dr. Martin Luther King, 1968
1 8 Reception and Ordination certificates, United Presbyterian Church (USA), 1968-1969
1 9 Review of Terror and Triumph: The Nature of Black Religio, 2003
1 10 Short writings, 1992, undated