By Special to the Daily World
The Rev. Dr. Ndugu G.B. T’Ofori-Atta (a.k.a. George B. Thomas), a preacher, educator and former pastor, died Wednesday, Jan. 11, at his home in Atlanta following health challenges and a subsequent period of illness. He was 87.
Dr. T’Ofori-Atta, affectionately known as “Dr. T.,” was professor emeritus of Area III: Persons, Society and Culture, where he taught Sociology of Religion as well as in the department of Missiology, Evangelism and Religions of the World at the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC), where he founded and directed the Religious Heritage of the African World (RHAW) project. An ordained minister of the AME Zion Church, T’Ofori-Atta worked as a missionary in the former Belgian Congo in the 1950s and ’60s where he made important links to the Kimbanguist independent African church movement. He was a founding organizer of the Pan African Christian Conference.
Born on July 11, 1924, in Stowe Township of McKees Rock, Pa., about 15 miles northwest of Pittsburgh, T’Ofori-Atta was christened George Benjamin Thomas, the second of four children born to George McGarner Thomas and Naomi Sykes Thomas. In the 1940s, following a three-year stint in the U.S. Army, T’Ofori-Atta received an A.B., 1950, Lincoln University; S.T.B., 1953, Boston University; S.T.M., 1954, Boston University; Diploma, 1960, School of African Studies, Brussels, Belgium; Additional Study,1965, School of International Relations, American University. In 1975, He went on to receive his Doctor of Ministry at the Colgate Rochester Divinity School. 135
The 1960s and ’70s saw Dr. T’Ofori-Atta deepening his connection to and relationship with Africa, spending significant periods of time in Nigeria, Ghana, Zambia and Congo. By the 1970s, T’Ofori-Atta and his family had moved to Atlanta where he joined the faculty of the Interdenominational Theological Center and began educating seminarians on a wholistic theological enterprise through African and African-American knowledge and experiences.
Some of his publications include “ChristKwanza” and “Mother Zion: African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church – The Birth Story a Denomination” co-authored with Dr. George W. McMurray.
He has had many appointments including serving at Shaw Temple in the ’70s and ’80s in Atlanta, and three times at Bush Chapel in