Reverend Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on September 22, 1941 to Jeremiah A. Wright, Sr., a Baptist minister who served as pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Germantown, and Mary Henderson Wright. Wright completed primary and secondary school in that city and in 1959 enrolled in Virginia Union University in Richmond. After seven semesters, Wright left VUU and joined the United States Marine Corps in 1961. He served as a private first class in the 2nd Marine Division before receiving a transfer from the USMC into the United States Navy to become a cardiopulmonary technician. Wright’s most famous patient was President Lyndon Baines Johnson who underwent gall bladder surgery in 1966 at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington.
After a six year highly decorated military career, Wright returned to college, enrolling in Howard University. At Howard he earned a B.A. in 1968 and an M.A. degree in English in 1969. He earned another M.A. from the University of Chicago Divinity School. In 1990, while under the direction of theologian Dr. Samuel DeWitt Proctor at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio, Wright earned a Doctorate of Ministry. Besides Wright’s four college degrees, he received several honorary doctorates from such institutions as Colgate University, Chicago Theological Seminary, Valparaiso University, and United Theological Seminary.
On March 1, 1972, Reverend Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. became Pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ (TUCC) in Chicago. In the early years of his pastorate, Wright adopted the motto: “Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian,” while reaching thousands of urban blacks in the church’s South Side neighborhood. During Wright’s tenure as pastor, the membership of TUCC increased from 87 to over 8,000.
As head of TUCC, Wright lectured at seminaries and universities throughout the world. He is recognized as a leading theologian and scholar, authoring and coauthoring several Black Liberation Theology books and articles. Wright