Malcolm Boyd

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Malcolm Boyd (born June 8, 1923) is an American Episcopal priest and author.

Early life[edit]

Boyd was born in Buffalo, New York, the son of Beatrice Lowrie, a fashion model, and Melville Boyd, a financier and investment banker whose own father was an Episcopalian priest.[1][2][3] Boyd was raised Episcopalian (his maternal grandfather was Jewish).[4][5]

In the early 1930s Boyd's parents divorced and his mother retained custody of him.[6] Boyd moved with his mother to Colorado Springs, Colorado, and then to Denver.[6] During his time in college, despite early spiritual interests, he decided he was an atheist.[6]

Secular career[edit]

In the 1940s Boyd moved to California and eventually became a Hollywood junior producer.[7] He began moving up in the Hollywood world, eventually founding PRB, a production company, with Mary Pickford.[7] At the same time, amidst all the abundance, he found himself looking for meaning in different places — including churches.[7]


In 1951 Boyd began studying to become a priest at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, California.[8] He graduated in 1954 and was ordained a deacon.[8] In 1955 he continued his studies abroad in England and Switzerland and then returned to Los Angeles for ordination as a priest.[8] During 1956 and 1957, Boyd studied further at Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York and wrote his first book, Crisis in Communication.[8] In 1959 Boyd became Episcopal Chaplain at Colorado State University.[8] In the 1960s, Boyd became known as "the Espresso Priest" for his religiously-themed poetry-reading sessions at the Hungry i nightclub in San Francisco, at the time of the San Francisco Renaissance poetry movement.


Boyd went on to become a prominent white clergyman in the American Civil Rights Movement. He participated as one of the Freedom riders in 1961. Later that year, he became the Episcopal Chaplain at Wayne State University in Detroit. It was while he was here that he attended an interfaith conference for racial integration in Chicago. His presence at the event is mentioned by Malcolm X in his 1963 speech "The Old Negro and the New Negro." Malcolm X references Boyd's criticism of the speakers chosen for the conference. As Malcolm X said, "Rev. Boyd believes that the conference might have accomplished much good if the speakers had included a white supremacist and a Negro race leader, preferably a top man in the American Black Muslim movement." He quotes Boyd:

A debate between them (meaning this white racist and a Black Muslim) would undoubtedly be bitter, but it would accomplish one thing: it would get some of the real issues out into the open. In this conference we have not done that. The money spent to bring these people here has been wasted. We have done nothing to solve the race problem either in our churches or in our communities.[9]

Boyd was also active in the anti-Vietnam War movement, marching with Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968.


In 1977 Boyd came out of the closet, becoming the most prominent homosexual clergy person to come out. In the 1980s Boyd met the homosexual activist and author Mark Thompson, who would become his long-time partner.[10] They live in Los Angeles, California. Boyd serves on the Advisory Board of White Crane Institute and is a frequent contributor to the homosexual wisdom and culture magazine White Crane.


Boyd is the author of over 30 books and, as of 2013, writes for The Huffington Post.[11]


Edited by Malcolm Boyd[edit]


  1. ^ "Melville Boyd Beatrice Lowrie", Books, CA: Google, p. 826 .
  2. ^ Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, Boston University .
  3. ^ "Biography", Malcolm Boyd 
  4. ^ Boyd, Malcolm, My Jewish grandfather, Huffington Post .
  5. ^ "Malcolm Boyd, Episcopal priest in Brooklin around 1890", Books, Google .
  6. ^ a b c
  7. ^ a b c "Forties", Malcolm Boyd .
  8. ^ a b c d e "Fifties", Malcolm Boyd .
  9. ^ X, Malcolm (1971), Karim, Benjamin, ed., The End of White World Supremacy: Four Speeches, New York: Arcade, pp. 94, 95 .
  10. ^ "Eighties", Malcolm Boyd .
  11. ^ Rev Malcolm Boyd, Huffington post .

External links[edit]