Dr. Lerone A. Martin graduated from Anderson University in 2002 with a bachelor of arts degree in Christian ministries. After pursuing African American religion and American religious history throughout his graduate studies, he has recently been hired into the religion department at Wake Forest University.
Martin will begin his tenure-track position as assistant professor of African American religions on July 1, 2014. “My position will entail teaching introductory courses on the study of religion as well advanced courses in African American religious experience and advising students,” said Martin.
Currently, Martin is working as a post-doctoral fellow at the Washington University John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics, teaching and further exploring the role of religion in the United States. “At the center, I am teaching one course and finishing up a book with New York University Press, entitled ‘Preaching on Wax: The Phonograph and the Making of Modern African American Religion,’” he said.
While at AU, Martin explored many different areas of campus involvement. He dedicated time to prison ministry, track and field, and worked as a resident assistant. “The leadership skills I learned from participating in campus ministries, residential life, and athletics helped to prepare me not just for academic and vocational achievements, but also for confronting personal and social problems, such as racial disparities and gender discrimination,” said Martin.
Dr. James W. Lewis, professor of theology and ethics at AU and mentor to Martin, had the opportunity to help Martin grow in his interests of African American religion. “I had him as a student in the class African American Experience in American Christianity, and that was my first interaction with him,” said Lewis. “Once he came to AU, he was stretched spiritually and exposed to more scripture and religious ideas. He was influenced by a lot of courses at AU and began to picture himself as a teacher, which got him thinking about seminary.”
Martin’s education at AU paved the way for additional degrees and a deeper study of religious history. “My education at AU has proven tremendously helpful,” said Martin. “Upon entering seminary, I felt immensely prepared for academic success.”
After graduating from AU, Martin entered into Princeton Theological Seminary where he was awarded full tuition for a three-year M.Div. degree program. “During my time at Princeton, my vocational goals shifted from local church ministry to teaching,” said Martin.
Martin spent a year as the program fellow at Princeton University’s Center for African American Studies and the following year began a focused study in American religious history to pursue his Ph.D. “I was accepted into the Ph.D program in American religious history at Emory University in 2006 on a five-year, full-tuition, graduate school fellowship,” said Martin.
Dr. Gary M. Laderman, professor of American religious history and cultures at Emory University, watched Martin’s interests develop throughout graduate school. As an advisor to Martin, he encouraged Martin’s goals of pursuing teaching. “He knew during his graduate studies that he wanted to go further with American religion, religious history, and African American history,” said Laderman.
After graduating in May of 2011 from Emory University, Martin began teaching what he had previously dedicated years of study to. “From Emory I accepted the position of assistant professor of American religious history at Eden Theological Seminary in Saint Louis,” said Martin. He was on faculty at Eden from fall 2010 until spring 2013.”
Now with a future tenure-track position ahead of him, Martin will begin a foundation for a long running position at Wake Forest. “This is a great accomplishment for him, and Wake Forest is lucky to have him,” said Laderman. “I think he will be appreciated and valued. I expect great things from him in the years to come.”
As a professor at Wake Forest, Martin will be able to dedicate his teaching to African American religion and share his knowledge for years to come. Martin said, “Moving ahead, I am looking forward to finishing my book, teaching, and advising students, and further research projects on African American religion and media.”
— Amanda Sills is a senior from Seattle, Wash., majoring in communication arts. Sills is an associate with Fifth Street Communications®, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications..
Anderson University is a private Christian university in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God (Anderson, Ind.), Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.