Alton B. Pollard, III, is Dean and Professor of Religion and Culture at Howard University School of Divinity in Washington, DC. He holds degrees from Fisk University (BA with honors in religion and philosophy and business management), Harvard University Divinity School (MDiv), and Duke University, Department of Religion (PhD). His previous faculty appointments include St. Olaf College, Wake Forest University, Emory University where he was Director of Black Church Studies at Candler School of Theology and Chair of American Religious Cultures in the Graduate Division of Religion (PhD program), and various visiting lectureships throughout the United States and Africa.
Dr. Pollard has published widely in the areas of religion and culture. He is the author of Mysticism and Social Change; edited a new edition of W.E.B. DuBois, The Negro Church; and Helpers for a Healing Community: A Pastoral Care Manual for HIV/AIDS in Africa; editor of How Long This Road; co-editor of The Black Church Studies Reader (forthcoming); consulting editor for the multi-volume Papers of Howard Thurman; and former associate editor of the journal Black Sacred Music. He is Principal Investigator for the Lilly-funded research project, “Equipping the Saints: Promising Practices in Black Congregational Life.” An ordained Baptist minister, he has served churches in Tennessee (AME), Massachusetts and North Carolina. He is an associate minister at Covenant Baptist United Church of Christ in Washington, DC, board member and consultant to numerous organizations. He has preached, lectured and traveled throughout Africa and the Diaspora. He and his wife Jessica Bryant Pollard, a high school counselor, have two adult children.
Pollard specializes in the following areas:
- African American Religion and Culture, Sociology of Religion, Black Church Studies, Theological
- Education and Leadership, Faith and Health, American Religious Cultures.
Recent presentations include:
- Blog postings for the Huffington Post and the Washington Post
- “The State of the Black Church’s Theology for Social Justice,” The Black Church Center for Justice and Equality, 2014
- “Ancestral Beginnings,” United Congregational Church South Africa Synod, Kimberly, SA, 2014
- “Higher Ed as a Form of Personal & Societal Liberation,” Smithsonian Ethics Education Series, 2013
- “God’s Dream for the Church,” MICTAN HIV/AIDS Conference, Oakland, CA, 2013
Recent publications include:
- “The Black Church in the U.S. Since the March on Washington,” Institute of the Black World (2013)
- “From Civil Rights to Hip Hop: A Meditation,” in The Black Church and Hip Hop Culture, Emmett Price, ed. (2012)
- “Deep Calleth Unto Deep: The Future of Black Theological Education” and “A Defining Vision,” in The Journal of Religious Thought: 2008-2010.
- “A Woman’s Work, A Man’s World: Critiquing and Challenging Patriarchy in the Black Family,” in Walk Together Children, Dwight Hopkins and Linda Thomas, eds. (Cascade, 2010)
- “African American Mysticism,” in African American Religious Cultures, Anthony Pinn, ed. (2009)
Recent recognitions include:
- Fellow, Christian Leadership Initiative, American Jewish Committee and Hartman Institute, 2014-15 White House Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, 2013
- Feature Interview: Spotlight on Theological Education Journal, 2011
- Transformative Leadership Award, Candler School of Theology, 2010
- Feature Interview: Faith and Leadership, Duke Divinity School, 2010