Reverend Dr. Renita J. Weems is a senior fellow at American Progress. She is a distinguished biblical scholar, author, academic administrator, and public intellectual and has been an ordained elder in the African American Episcopal Church since 1984. Her esteemed and insightful publications, commentaries, and articles on modern faith, religion and race, feminism, and social movements make her a widely sought-after inspirational speaker and academic lecturer. Rev. Dr. Weems became the first African American woman to give Yale University’s prestigious Lyman Beecher lectures in 2008.
She is the author of several acclaimed books including Just A Sister Away (1987 and 2005), I Asked for Intimacy (1993), Showing Mary: How Women Can Share Prayers, Wisdom, and the Blessings of God (2003), and What Matters Most: Ten Passionate Lessons from the Song of Solomon (2004). Listening for God: A Minister’s Journey Through Silence and Doubt (1999) won the Religious Communicators’ Council’s prestigious 1999 Wilbur Award for “excellence in communicating spiritual values to the secular media.” Rev. Dr. Weems’ beautifully crafted and compelling words invite and strengthen audiences to explore their hopes and fears, call upon women to support and empower one another, and show them pathways to do so.
Rev. Dr. Weems received her doctorate from Princeton Seminary in 1989 and was the first African American woman to earn a doctorate in Old Testament studies. She has taught at Vanderbilt Divinity School and Spelman College and served as academic dean at American Baptist College in Nashville, Tennessee. Rev. Dr. Weems received her Master of Divinity from Princeton Seminary in 1983 and her undergraduate degree from Wellesley College.