Reinhold Niebuhr
Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)

Inducted - Wednesday, September 11, 1996
Sculptor: William J. Williams

Where is Reinhold Niebuhr in the Hall of Famous Missourians?

Reinhold Niebuhr was a pastor, teacher, author and political activist. Regarded as the leading American religious thinker of his time, he moved with his family to St. Charles, where they lived until Reinhold was nine. Like his father, Niebuhr entered the ministry of the German Evangelical Synod of North America; receiving his education at Eden Theological Seminary near St. Louis and at Yale Divinity School. He was pastor of a church in Detroit from 1915 to 1928 when he became a professor of ethics at Union Theological Seminary in New York City.

A prolific writer and lecturer, Niebuhr’s best known books include Leaves from the Notebook of a Tamed Cynic, The Nature and Destiny of Man, and The Irony of American History. Through his speaking, writing and organizational activities, he sought to describe and achieve social justice through church and political means. Niebuhr also wrote the Serenity Prayer, a popular prayer about serenity, courage, and wisdom in relation to what can and cannot be changed. In recognition of his contribution to American life, Reinhold Niebuhr was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964.