2019 February 3: Washington Gladden

February 03, 2019 10:30

Sonata in D (K.96)      D. Scarlatti (1685-1757)

O Master, Let Me Walk with Thee

Improvisation

Washington Gladden (1836-1918) — so named because his great-grandfather served as George Washington's bodyguard during the Revolutionary War — was a Congregational pastor. He served in New York, Massachusetts, and Ohio during the post-Civil War industrial era when racial and economic injustice was rampant.

Gladden is remembered today as the father of the Social Gospel in America, an activist who crusaded tirelessly for political and moral reform in industry, commerce and politics. At 18 he joined the temperance movement. He opposed racial segregation. He was a champion of the "working man," a strong supporter of union rights, and he was unafraid to attack corruption in politics — including campaigning against Boss Tweed as religious editor of the New York Independent.

Gladden never earned a theological degree, but he received 35 honorary doctorates, including one from Notre Dame University.

He was also a prolific writer who wrote hundreds of poems, books, articles, editorials, and hymns, including "O Master, Let Me Walk with Thee."

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