Courtney Cowart was born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1960. Her formative years were spent in the orbit of many of Atlanta's most famous civil rights leaders and her mother worked as an assistant to Coretta Scott King. Her earliest memories of the church are of rallies and demonstrations led by activist priests. At age 30 Cowart entered The General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church in New York, where she read for two degrees - a Masters and a Doctorate in Spiritual Formation and Development and American Church History. She had recently completed the terminal degree in her field and was working as Program Officer for Spiritual Formation and Social Transformation at Trinity Church Wall Street in September 2001, when terrorists attacked the World Trade Center a block and a half from her office. She and a group of 30 leading theologians, including the present Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, were trapped for a time and then evacuated onto the street as the North Tower nearly buried them alive. Four days later Cowart returned to the site and led in the formation of a renown recovery ministry at Trinity's St. Paul's Chapel, which became known as "The Little Chapel That Stood." Four years later her national church deployed her to New Orleans days after Hurricane Katrina. Since 2005 she has served at the side of the Episcopal Bishop of Louisiana, helping to forge a justice movement of sacred activists committed to building the Beloved Community from the ravages of the worst disaster in U.S. history. In October, 2008, her memoir, An American Awakening was launched at Ground Zero's St. Paul's in a moving ceremony that brought together heroes of both tragedies. Dr. Cowart has become a nationally respected voice on the topic of sacred citizenship and the heightened engagement of Americans in service, politics, government and public life that has emerged in America since 9/11, most recently revealing its values, tactics and commitments in the historic election of president-elect Barack Obama.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
An American Awakening is a memoir that tells a story of dramatic experiences tied to social commentary. As Old Testament scholar, Walter Brueggemann described the recently published work, "It is a raw human account of day-to-day care and generosity that is marked by faith and smacks of courageous staying power. It is a narrative of immense power that invites recovery of human dignity, neighborly solidarity, and active hope."
William Falvey, Publicist
Church Publishing Group
The Office of Disaster Response, Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana
The Louisiana Justice Institute
All Congregations Together
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