Rev. Dr. Prathia Hall (1940 — 2002)

Prathia Hall ~ This Far by Faith

Prathia Hall's SNCC biography

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As remembered by Wanda Guthrie, February, 2004

I first heard our beloved Parthia speak at the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Summer Institute for Children's Ministries. The experience was overwhelming and I knew we had to get her to speak at our Interfaith Children's Sabbath in Pittsburgh. We needed someone as strong and devoted to all people to preach the message here, even if only to those who were already struggling children's advocates. She did and her words brought the strength needed for the journey.

She gave me strength as well in my personal grief, losing a son, sharing her personal story and wisdom as she, too, had lost a child in the prime of life.

Subsequently, I attended a revival led by Dr. Hall at the Swissvale Union Baptist Church for four nights and again was blessed.

She will live in my heart until my last dying breath.

Wanda Guthrie
Stand for Children Organizing Group
5125 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
Phone: 412.361.3022
Cell Phone: 412.596.0066
Fax: 412.361.0540
Fax: 412.361.0540

As remembered by Reverend Evelyn Gettis Lee, February, 2003

What can we say about Prathia Hall? A sister beloved. An example of God-breathed strength and endurance. Wonderful. She blessed Sure Foundation Ministries and we shall never forget her.

As remembered by Sheila Michaels, August, 2002.

I couldn't bear to open the posting when I saw it on my computer, because I was pretty sure I knew what it had to contain. When Judy said Prathia was no longer able to eat & was about 75 pounds or so, I was stunned.

A couple of years ago at the American Academy of Religion there was a Womanist seminar which honored Prathia. I'm not sure whether her name was in the title or if it was organized around her work. It was in Disney World & the seminar was in a far hotel. I missed her speech. I was walking with Marion Wright Edelman (I don't really know her, but our paths have crossed so often over the years), both of us rushing to try to catch Prathia's talk. Of course we were discussing Prathia & Edelman  — the daughter of a minister as I remember — mentioned that Prathia was by far the best preacher she knew & her favorite. Someone she'd go anywhere to hear.

Prathia had been working with Edelman for a while. She was then teaching at Princeton Theological (Seminary?) & also spent her weekends in Philadelphia at the neighborhood church her parents had founded. She wanted to supervise the training of the children, although driving was a trial because of her back, which had been injured in an automobile accident.

Prathia's preaching was the most reasoned & analytical of anyone I've known. The most lucid, the clearest & most transparent. I am very fond of good preaching (when the moment is right), & her style was unique.

She is a woman who has borne much sorry in her life, with courage. Her own health was one of her crosses. The death of her father was another. The sudden death of her daughter, at 23, one day while feeding her toddler, was surely the worst. She never really had life easy & she was a woman of enormous strength.

Her project in Southwest Georgia, with Sherrod, was a model for all. She was one of the few women project heads (maybe the first?) when she went to Selma, in '63.

I do not have her oral history with me, or I would write a proper obituary. I will get to it in the late Fall, when I am back in New York. We did two separate interviews --as strength & time allowed-- a couple of years ago. It makes me very upset to realize that I have been using these tapes lately only to write memorials for Movement vets. But at least it gets people's stories out as they saw them.


As remembered by Joyce Barrett
October 12, 2022

Prathia and I both grew up in Philadelphia. We met in high school and both went to Temple University. As high school students and then college students we were active in an organization called Fellowship House. Fellowship House was dedicated to reducing prejudice since the 1940s.

Several times as students we did testing of public accommodations for the State of Pennsylvania department of Human Relations. When they received complaints of illegal discrimination based on race we would send a white, then Black, then white team to the place to determine if the treatment was different. Sometimes it was. We would send in a report and the Commission would take appropriate action.

We were both in college when the sit-ins began. We went with the director of Fellowship House to the meeting in Raleigh North Carolina when SNCC was formed. Our first arrests were in in Maryland where we participated in a sit-in and refused to leave when directed to. Later we both went south to Albany Georgia and worked for SNCC there.

If you ever heard Prathia speak she was dynamic and inspirational. Martin Luther King once said he never wanted to appear on a program if she spoke before him.

As a teenager she was as dignified as she was later in life. Her father was a preacher in North Philadelphia. He wanted her to become a minister too. She was determined to become a lawyer.

I planned to go into teaching and knew I would never become a lawyer. So what happened? She went to divinity school and became a minister. I became a lawyer working for a labor union. Life has twists and turns.

(FYI, in Dr. Kings autobiography, he talks about going to Crozier Theological Seminary. Crozier was just outside Philadelphia. He goes on to tell that he went into Philadelphia to place called Fellowship House to hear a speaker — the then president of Howard University — describe going to India and meeting Gandhi. Thats where Dr. King learned about nonviolent resistance.)


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