Friday, April 12, 2019
7:00 pm

Pre-registration for this event is closed due to the event nearing capacity. Limited walk-in registrations will be available on the night of the event. If you have questions, please call the Wisdom Ways office at 651-696-2788.

Come learn about the extraordinary life and legacy of one of the most important religious figures of the 20th century. The grandson of slaves, Howard Thurman became a “spiritual foundation” for the Civil Rights Movement, inspiring leaders from Martin Luther King, Jr, to Jesse Jackson and Congressman John Lewis.

When he met Mohandas Gandhi in the 1930s, Gandhi suggested it would be through the African-American experience that the non-violence resistance movement could take on global significance. When Thurman returned to America, his writings and speeches planted the early seeds for the non-violent Civil Rights Movement.

A gifted and prolific writer and one of the great preachers of his era, Thurman is also remembered for helping launch The Fellowship Church for All People in San Francisco, the nation’s first interracial, intercultural church and a vision of a radically inclusive community.

Backs Against The Wall is produced and directed by Martin Doblmeier. Doblmeier will introduce the film. A facilitated conversation among five Twin Cities leaders will explore the vision that Thurman lived and worked towards.

COST:  Free, please RSVP at or call 651-696-2788.
This event will be held at Jeanne D’ Arc Auditorium, St. Catherine University (see more location information below).

Pre-registration for this event is closed due to the event nearing capacity. Limited walk-in registrations will be available on the night of the event. If you have questions, please call the Wisdom Ways office at 651-696-2788.

This event is co-hosted by St. Catherine University, Volunteers of America – Minnesota and Wisconsin, Luther Seminary, and Wisdom Ways Center for Spirituality.

Conversation Panel:

Vivian Jenkins Nelsen

Vivian Jenkins Nelsen (Facilitator), is the co-founder of INTER-RACE, a diversity think tank located at Augsburg University. A nationally recognized diversity practitioner, trainer, consultant, planner and researcher, she speaks to thousands of people each year on leadership, change, and diversity and teaches and publishes on group facilitation, diversity, conflict and grief.


Paula Hart is president and CEO of Volunteers of America-Minnesota & Wisconsin, where she helps sustain a 122-year legacy as the organization serves more than 21,500 people annually with a mission to help them gain self-reliance, dignity, and hope. A St. Kate’s alumna with an M.A. in Organizational Leadership, she has long focused on serving children and adults with disabilities.


Cynthia Bailey Manns is an experienced spiritual director with a background in social work, human development, spirituality, and spiritual development. Cynthia has served as adjunct faculty in post graduate programs, campus ministry, and is the director of adult formation at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Community in Minneapolis. Cynthia is a contributor to the anthology Embodied Spirits: Stories of Spiritual Directors of Color.

Timothy P. Jackson, Pastor

Timothy P. Jackson is Senior Pastor of IMPACT LIVING Christian Center located in the Seward neighborhood of South Minneapolis. Founder and project manager for the Welcome Home prison reentry project, which has a 0% recidivism rate, he sees transformation as the key to healing families and impacting communities.

Tarshia Stanley

Tarshia L. Stanley is Dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Sciences and Associate Professor of English at St. Catherine University. She has written articles on Black women’s iconography in African American and African Cinema, and American popular culture. Founding president of the Octavia E. Butler Literary Society, she edited The Encyclopedia of Hip Hop Literature and the forthcoming Approaches to Teaching Octavia E. Butler in the Academy.

More About Backs Against The Wall:

Backs Against The Wall – Trailer HD

Film Educational Materials:

  • Film Study Guide
  • Academic Papers
  • Questions and Answers
  • Race and Reconciliation Discussion Guide

Other Information:

LOCATION: Jeanne D’ Arc Auditorium, St. Catherine University
2004 Randolph Avenue, St. Paul

INFO: DirectionsCampus Map


There is ample parking in the Carondelet Center parking lot.  Participants are encouraged to park and walk over to the venue.

At Saint Kate’s, parking permits are not needed between the hours of 5:00 pm and 2:00 am.

Near Jeanne D’ Arc Auditorium, there are 3 handicapped spaces; their availability cannot be determined in advance.

Parking is not advised in the following areas: admissions parking, reserved parking, 10 minute parking, handicapped parking (unless state-permitted) and fire lanes.

In the event of inclement weather, call the University’s severe weather information line at 651-690-8666.

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