The son of a sharecropper, John M. Perkins was born into Mississippi poverty. When he was 17 years old, he fled to California after his older brother was murdered by a town marshal.
Although Perkins vowed never to return, after he accepted Christ in 1957, he returned to his boyhood home in 1960 to share the gospel of Christ with those still living in the region. His outspoken support and leadership role in civil rights demonstrations resulted in repeated harassment, imprisonment, and beatings.
John Perkins and his wife, Vera Mae Perkins, founded the John and Vera Mae Perkins Foundation, of Jackson, Mississippi. In 2016, their daughters Elizabeth Perkins and Priscilla Perkins were appointed co-presidents of the foundation. Dr. Perkins is now the foundation’s president emeritus.
One of the leading evangelical voices to come out of the American civil rights movement, Dr. Perkins is also an internationally known author, speaker, and teacher on issues of racial reconciliation and Christian community development. In 1989, he co-founded the Christian Community Development Association, a network of evangelical congregations and organizations working in urban settings. Discover more about his and Vera Mae’s legacy.
Despite dropping out of school in the third grade, Dr. Perkins is an author and international speaker and teacher on issues of racial reconciliation, leadership, and community development. For his tireless work, he received honorary doctorates from Wheaton College, Gordon College, Huntington College, Geneva College, Spring Arbor University, North Park College, and Belhaven College. In 2006, he was named distinguished visiting professor at Seattle Pacific University.
He has written and co-authored more than a dozen books, including One Blood: Parting Words to the Church on Race (2018), A Quiet Revolution, Let Justice Roll Down, Beyond Charity, He’s My Brother, and A Time to Heal. John Perkins has served on the board of directors of World Vision, Prison Fellowship, National Association of Evangelicals, Spring Arbor University, and more than a dozen others.
In 2004, Perkins partnered with Seattle Pacific University to launch the campus-based John Perkins Center for Reconciliation, Leadership Training, and Community Development.
The Center is a first-of-its-kind partnership, and what Perkins describes as “the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.”