(Book) Awakening to Equality
Awakening to Equality:
A Young White Pastor at
the Dawn of Civil Rights
-- Karl E. Lutze
When Karl Lutze arrived in Oklahoma
in 1945, he stepped into another world.
A newly ordained clergyman born in Wisconsin ,
he was a young White man assigned to minister
among Muskogee 's African-American community.
He soon found that in the South, crosses
were as likely to be `burned' as "revered".
His recollections of postwar Oklahoma provide
a compelling testament to the era's racial conflict
and some steps taken toward its resolution.
'Awakening to Equality' offers a unique perspective
on an often-violent era that witnessed the gradual
dismantling of segregation.
Serving congregations in Muskogee and Tulsa,
Lutze encountered a cross section of both communities
from the `White' and "black" power brokers to the
most disempowered Black and Biracial families
and a stratified society buttressed by
intimidation, cross burnings, and bombs.
His activism in the Urban League and other local Civil
Rights organizations gave him firsthand experience
with forces moving toward change, as well as
with the more entrenched forces resisting it.
Blending personal anecdotes and recollections of
key players in this unfolding drama, Lutze puts a
human face on historical and journalistic accounts
of social change during the crucial early years
of the Civil Rights Movement.
He takes readers back to small-town and urban Oklahoma
in a time when African-Americans were beginning
to challenge segregation in Muskogee 's public
transportation and a handful of `Whites' were trying
to move their communities toward desegregation.
Throughout this memoir, we meet actual people
creating a futureone that involved the very
redefinition of America .
More than a view of an earnest young clergyman trying
to grow beyond the racial and social limitations of the
church of his day, `Awakening to Equality' also depicts
the struggles of Lutze's own denomination to
overcome its earlier accommodation of racism.
Lutze's success in his ministries made his achievements
a model for mission work among African-Americans
and led to his appointment in 1959 first as field secretary
and then shortly thereafter as executive director of the
Lutheran Human Relations Association,
a pioneering civil rights organization.
Simultaneously, he taught classes as Associate
Professor of Theology at Valparaiso University .
Lutze not only witnessed important events but
also participated in them and found that his
entire career was shaped by the experience.
'Awakening to Equality' is a moving story that
captures the real-life education of a prominent
clergyman during a critical period in American life.
About the Author
Karl E. Lutze was ordained in the Lutheran
ChurchMissouri Synod in 1945.
After fifteen years of pastoral work in Oklahoma ,
he served for twenty-one years on the staff of
the Lutheran Human Relations Association of
America and for ten years was Director for
Church Relations at Valparaiso University .
He is the author of numerous books, including ...
'A lot on my mind, Lord' and
'Forgive Our Forgettings, Lord:
Reflections on Gifts and Promises'.
He lives in Valparaiso , Indiana .
Awakening to Equality: A Young White Pastor
at the Dawn of Civil Rights -- Karl E. Lutze
/ 176 pages / 6 x 9
15 illustrations, 2006