Edwin T. Dahlberg (1890-1986) was an American Baptist minister (ordained in 1918) known for his strong efforts for social justice and peacemaking. A disciple of and sometime secretary to Walter Rauschenbusch, Dahlberg was a pacifist and conscientious objector during World War I and an early leader of the Fellowship of Reconciliation. Although his pacifism was controversial during World War II, Dahlberg was elected President of the American Baptist Churches (1946-1947) and later served as President of the National Council of Churches (1957-1960). His work supporting the Civil Rights movement, ending the Vietnam War, and promoting nuclear disarmament, led to the creation of the Edwin T. Dahlberg Peace Award by American Baptists in 1964. Awarded at the annual (now bienniel) meeting of the denomination, the award has usually, but not always, gone to other Baptists. The winners of the Dahlberg Award to date follow:
1964 Martin Luther King, Jr. for his nonviolent leadership for racial justice and for his constructive efforts for peace with justice and freedom.
1965 L. Kijungluba Ao for efforts to end violence in Nagaland, India.
1966 W. Alvin Pitcher, for constructive work for civil rights and economic justice.
1967 Kyle Hazelden, for leadership in opposing the Vietnam War and in race relations.
1968 Leon Sullivan (African American Baptist minister, businessman, and member of Congress), for promoting economic justice and working to end apartheid in South Africa. (Created “the Sullivan Principles” for investment or divestment in South Africa.)
1969 Zelma George for her leadership in creating and promoting Job Corps.
1970 Frank M. Coffin, for his work in international development assistance.
1971 George (“Shorty”) Collins (Baptist minister and longtime leader in the Fellowship of Reconciliation; one of the first whites repeatedly arrested for nonviolent civil disobedience during the Civil Rights movement; “Shorty” was lean and 6’5″) for a life championing peace with justice and freedom.
1972 Harold E. Stassen (Governor of Minnesota; envoy for peace in the Eisenhower administration; President of the University of Pennsylvania; Baptist layperson who served a term as President of the American Baptist Churches) for his role as the primary author of the United Nations Charter.
1973 William Sloan Coffin (United Church of Christ minister; Yale chaplain; Senior Minister, Riverside Church, NYC) for his leadership in opposing the Vietnam War.
1975 Mabel Martin, as American Baptist representative to the United Nations.
1977 Robert Hingson for his role in eradicating medical epidemics.
1979 James Earl (“Jimmy”) Carter for his role in bringing about the Camp David Accords and the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty.
1981 Gustavo Parajon (Nicaraguan Baptist minister) for his peace and development work in Nicaragua.
1983 Anna Dorothy Wylie for her role in promoting the nuclear weapons freeze.
1985 George W. Hill for helping to launch a National Peace Academy.
1987 George (“Nick”) Carter (American Baptist minister; now President of Andover-Newton School of Theology) as co-chair of the Coalition for a Nuclear Weapons Freeze and later the first Executive Director of the merged SANE/Freeze, today known as Peace Action, the largest grassroots membership peace organization in the U.S.
1989 Lucius Walker (National Baptist Minister), Founder of Pastors for Peace/Interreligious Foundation for Community, for the work of Pastors for Peace in delivering medical supplies and other humanitarian goods to Cuba, despite the U.S. embargo.
1991 Carl and Olive Tiller (Baptist minister and spouse; former missionaries; longtime members of the Fellowship of Reconciliation; creators of the fund that launched the Dahlberg Award in 1964) for their lifetime commitment to peacemaking.
1993 Margaret (Peg) Sherman as American Baptist representative to the United Nations.
1995 Ken Sehested (Southern Baptist minister; now Alliance of Baptists pastor) as the founding Executive Director of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America (1984-2002). Rev. Sehested is now one of the 3 founding co-pastors of Circle of Mercy congregation in Asheville, NC, affiliated with the Alliance of Baptists and the United Church of Christ. (The other two co-pastors are Rev. Nancy Hastings Sehested, who is also a chaplain in a nearby prison, and Rev. Joyce Hollyday, formerly of Sojourners.
1997 Marian Wright Edelman (civil rights activist; attorney; one of the first African-American women to obtain a law degree from Yale; early director of Head Start program) as founder of the Children’s Defense Fund, the leading non-governmental organization advocating for children’s welfare in the U.S.
1999 Mary Ruth Crook and Roger Crook (He’s a retired professor of philosophy in Southern Baptist circles) for lives of peace and justice ministries.
2001 Gordon Bennett and Mark O. Hatfield for longtime peace and justice work. (For Gordon Bennett, see comments below. Mark O. Hatfield, 1922- is a retired Republican U.S. Senator from Oregon and former Oregon governor. One of the last “liberal Republicans,” Hatfield was a Naval officer in WWII, but was a strong opponent of the Vietnam War and of nuclear weapons. He opposed abortion before that was a litmus test for Republican politicians, but also opposed the death penalty. A Baptist layperson, he defended church-state separation by opposing all attempts to reintroduce mandatory or teacher-led prayers in public schools. Hatfield retired from the Senate in 1996 after 46 years of public service, having never lost an election. He currently teaches political science in several schools in Oregon.
2003 John Lewis (Democratic U.S. Congressman from Georgia; former Chair of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) for his more than 40 years of work for peace with justice that began with his leadership roles in the Civil Rights movement and continues in his work in Congress.
2005 Charles Z. Smith (Retired justice of the Supreme Court of the State of Washington and former dean of the law schol of the University of Washington) for his work on the Stockhold Accords on Ethnic Cleansing and much else in justice and peace work.
2007 Rev. Dr. DeeDee Coleman, Pastor of the Russell Street Missionary Baptist Church in Detroit, for her work with ex-offenders, substance abusers, and high risk youth.
2009 Thomas J. Adams, of Detroit, MI will receive the 2009 Award at the American Baptist Bienniel in Pasadena, CA this June. He will receive the award for his work as president and co-founder of Chance for Life, a prison rehabilitation program.