This week I am deviating from my schedule a bit. When I checked my email at the beginning of the week I had an archival request for photos of Rev. Dr. F. Thomas Trotter, a former faculty member, dean, and interim president of CST. Dr. Trotter passed away on Friday July 26th at the age of 93 and although I never had the opportunity to meet Dr. Trotter, after months spent sifting through the archives, I feel as though I had the chance to get to know him, and many other faculty members, just a little bit.
The Dr. Trotter that I met in the archives was someone who pushed for what he believed to be right not just within the academy, but beyond the halls of seminaries and universities. Someone who received a signed letter from the first director of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover. Although the archives didn’t contain the letter that Dr. Trotter sent off, the reply strongly suggests that Dr. Trotter was asking hard questions of an infamous man.
I could see Dr. Trotter’s passion for the arts, higher education, and justice in the many articles that I found folded up in the archives on racial justice, theological education, and more. Through his many letters to colleagues, bishops, and a number of Methodist boards. Through his work to support initiatives such as CST’s Project Understanding, a national program to counter racism in white churches in the 1960s and 70s. Or through the recordings of his lectures on prayer, justice, politics, and more.
If you want to read about the impact that Dr. Trotter had at CST, on students and faculty alike, feel free to check out the CST memorial posted earlier this week and if you have your own memories of Dr. Trotter, please share!