John Branch Isom was labeled a "radical thinker" early in the 1940's simply because he spoke out and stood up for what he believed was right. To the very end he continued his struggle to think creatively and tried his best to inspire others to do the same. His dream was the universally expressed dream of all humanity - a world free of poverty and war. World peace, racism, economic justice, organized labor and the environment are at the center of John Isom's "world and life view".
In celebration of John's 92nd birthday I launched this site of selected works, taken from his writings, dating as far back as the 1930s. His collected works span a long period of time and fall into several areas of interest so we hope you will check back from time to time to see what's new. We would love to hear from you so if you have any questions, comments or suggestions send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
John Isom was born December 2, 1909 on Sand Mountain in northern Alabama. In 1939 he graduated with a masters in theology from the Baptist Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky with, as he puts it, "more questions than he had answers." In 1944, after serving as an Army chaplain during WW II, he became pastor of the Saxon Baptist Church in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Isom left the Baptist denomination in 1951 to become a Unitarian minister. He could no longer honestly believe and preach what most Baptist wanted him to believe and preach. John and his wife Elien Isom retired from the First Unitarian Church of Des Moines, Iowa in 1975. They moved to Tucson, Arizona in 1999. John died on April 23rd, 2004 of complications following surgery for a broken hip. He was 94 years old. We miss him terribly. - Cora Elien Isom, Mary Beth Isom & Rose Bowser
I Am Me, I Am Here (1972)
"Truly, I am akin, genetically, to all races and clans - of times past, and of time to come."
Something Else of Human Nature (1995) "Ask no more nor less exchange value for the work you do, that makes human society possible, than you demand for every other worker who helps make society possible."
(Index terms: economic justice; Carl Sandburg; Wilderness Poem)
A Father Day's Letter (194?)
"How can I claim to believe in a God who said, 'Do unto others as you would have others do unto you' if I fail to raise my voice in protest against a practice that violates that principle?" (Indexing terms: racism; democracy; Christianity)
The Uncle Bill Story (An excerpt from his autobiography, As I Remember Me, written in 1986) "I had my first encounter with the sickening race prejudice, which I was to learn later, infected many people in the South and the North. A sickness of the mind and heart that I have resisted and fought, if sometimes cowardly, and never too successfully, to this day." (Indexing terms: racism; race relations)
State Convention Speech (194?) "If we are sincere in our desire to lay on the ruins of the old world a foundation for a better civilization we must not forget to put the Golden Rule down as the corner stone for race relations. You must ask that society do unto others as you want society to do unto you." (Indexing terms: racism; race relations; economic justice; poverty)
Labor and the Church - 1946 "These days anybody who wants to advance the cause of real freedom and opportunity of the workingman is tagged as a communist…If a Communist is one who believes in organized labor, and who thinks it would be in all our best interest if every worker in the south were organized, then I am a Communist."
(Indexing terms: organized labor; economic justice; race relations; Spartanburg, South Carolina)
Albert Schweitzer Page
Bill Moyers - Inequality Matters June 3, 2004
United Nations Home Page
United Nation Charter
United Nations Declaratoin of Human Rights
Unitarian Church of Des Moines, Iowa
Rev. Mark Stringer, Minister
Library of Congress