Jack, Homer A. (Homer Alexander), 1916-1993

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Homer A. Jack (May 19, 1916 – August 5, 1993) was an American Unitarian Universalist clergyman pacifist and social activist who helped found the Congress of Racial Equality and National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy (SANE).

Jack was an only child to active socialist and freethinker parents. His grandparents had immigrated from central and eastern Europe to escape oppression and poverty. Like his parents, the child Jack was a radical nature-worshiper who distrusted organized religion. He met Esther Rhys Williams at Munroe High School, in the early 1930s, and the two married in 1939. The marriage would produce two children and end in divorce in the early 1970s.

Though in 1940 Jack received a Ph.D. in biology from Cornell University, he decided to enter the Unitarian ministry. In 1944, he graduated from Meadville Theological School in Chicago.

While in Chicago, Jack led efforts and rallies to prevent the United States' entry into World War II and fought racial segregation. He was active in the publication of Rochester's No-War News and the Fellowship of Reconciliation and helped organize the anti-war 1942 Chicago sit-in and the anti-segregation Journey of Reconciliation.

From 1942 to 1943, he served as a Unitarian minister in Lawrence, Kansas, where he spoke out against Lawrence's "violently anti-Negro and anti-labor" stance. He was the executive secretary of Chicago Council Against Racial and Religious Discrimination from 1943 to 1948, and from 1948 to 1959 served as the minister of the Unitarian Church of Evanston, Illinois.

Jack co-founded and was the associate director of the American Committee on Africa from 1959 to 1960, co-founded and served as executive director to the Congress of Racial Equality and National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy (SANE) from 1960 to 1964, and directed the Social Responsibility Department of the Unitarian Universalist Association in Boston from 1964 to 1970. In that role, Jack convened the "Emergency Conference on Unitarian Universalist Response to the Black Rebellion" as an effort toward Black Empowerment in the UUA. From 1970 to 1983, he was the secretary general of the World Conference of Religions for Peace in New York. Simultaneously, from 1973 to 1984, he chaired the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace and Security at the United Nations Headquarters.

In 1984, he served as a minister once again in Winnetka, Illinois, a position he would hold until 1989. That same year, he was awarded the Niwano Peace Prize.

In the late 1980s, Jack retired from official positions and moved to Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, where he authored two books and continued to be active in various peace and human rights organizations. He was awarded the Jamnalal Bajaj Award in 1992. He also remarried, to German Quaker Ingebord Belk. He died of cancer in Swarthmore in 1993. Jack's autobiography was published posthumously in 1996 as Homer's Odyssey: My Quest for Peace and Justice.

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Abraham Aaron Roback papers, 1909-1965. Houghton Library
creatorOf Jack, Homer Alexander. Papers, 1930-[ongoing]. Swarthmore College, Peace Collection, SCPC
referencedIn Kirchwey, Freda. Papers, 1871-1972 (inclusive), 1937-1971 (bulk) [microform]. Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Papers, 1952-1953. Andover-Harvard Theological Library
creatorOf National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy. Correspondence, 1961, from Lewis Mumford. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Kirchwey, Freda, 1893-1976. Papers, 1871-1972 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Ruth Fischer papers, 1925-1961 (inclusive) 1940-1961 (bulk) Houghton Library
creatorOf Jack, Homer Alexander. Africa in December : an account of the All-African People's Conference / by Homer A. Jack. Northwestern University
creatorOf Scott, Lawrence, 1908-1986. Papers, 1955-1965. Swarthmore College, Peace Collection, SCPC
creatorOf Jack, Homer. Papers, 1903-1967. Andover-Harvard Theological Library
creatorOf NGO Committee on Disarmament. Records, 1973-1986. Swarthmore College, Peace Collection, SCPC
referencedIn Committee to Secure Justice for Morton Sobell. Committee to Secure Justice for Morton Sobell records, 1946-1969. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
creatorOf World Conference on Religion and Peace (Organization). Records, 1967- 1970-1984 (bulk) Swarthmore College, Peace Collection, SCPC
referencedIn The Nation, records, 1879-1974 (inclusive), 1920-1955 (bulk). Houghton Library
creatorOf Bandung Conference. Correspondence with Van Wyck Brooks, 1955. University of Pennsylvania Library
referencedIn Keys mss., 1972-1982 Lilly Library (Indiana University, Bloomington)
creatorOf National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy (U.S.). Letters, 1961-1963, to Lewis Mumford. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Albert Schweitzer Fellowship Records, 1905-1993 Syracuse University. Library. Special Collections Research Center
referencedIn Presidential Papers, American Unitarian Association, 1936-1958. Andover-Harvard Theological Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Albert Schweitzer Fellowship. corporateBody
associatedWith All-African People's Conference 1958 : Accra, Ghana) corporateBody
associatedWith American Unitarian Association corporateBody
associatedWith Bandung Conference. corporateBody
associatedWith Chicago Council Against Racial and Religious Discrimination. corporateBody
associatedWith Committee to Secure Justice for Morton Sobell. corporateBody
associatedWith Cousins, Norman, person
correspondedWith Eliot, Frederick May, 1889-1958 person
correspondedWith Fischer, Ruth, 1895- person
associatedWith Fromm, Erich, 1900-1980, person
associatedWith Greeley, Dana McLean, 1908- person
associatedWith Harrington, Donald Szantho, person
associatedWith Holmes, John Haynes, 1879-1964, person
associatedWith Houser, George M., person
correspondedWith Keys, Donald person
associatedWith Kirchwey, Freda, 1893-1976 person
associatedWith National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy corporateBody
associatedWith National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy. corporateBody
associatedWith National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy (U.S.) corporateBody
correspondedWith Nation (New York, N.Y. : 1865). corporateBody
associatedWith NGO Committee on Disarmament. corporateBody
associatedWith Noel-Baker, Philip Noel-Baker, Baron, person
correspondedWith Roback, A. A. (Abraham Aaron), 1890-1965 person
associatedWith Roche, Douglas J., person
associatedWith Schweitzer, Albert, 1875-1965, person
associatedWith Scott, Lawrence, 1908-1986. person
correspondedWith Sparrow, Eugene person
associatedWith Stevenson, Adlai E. (Adlai Ewing), 1900-1965, person
associatedWith Swarthmore College. Peace Collection. corporateBody
associatedWith Thomas, Norman, 1884-1968, person
associatedWith Weston, Ross Allen, 1919- person
associatedWith World Conference on Religion and Peace (Organization) corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Swarthmore PA US
Rochester NY US
Chicago IL US
Lawrence KS US
Subject
Human rights workers--History--Sources
Unitarian Universalist Association--Clergy--History--Sources
Human rights--History--Sources
Peace--Religious aspects--History--Sources
Civil rights workers--History--Sources
Antinuclear movement--history--Sources
Unitarian Universalists--History--Sources
Peace movements--History--Sources
Occupation
Pacifists
Minister
Political Activist
Activity

Person

Birth 1916-05-19

Death 1993-08-05

Male

Americans

English

Information

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SNAC ID: 85697519