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King Explores Women’s Suffrage and the Work of Ruth Bell Graham With Noted Author and Professor Anne B. Wills

February 19, 2020

King University’s Institute for Faith & Culture speaker series continues Monday, Feb. 24, with Anne Blue Wills, Ph.D., author and professor of religious studies at Davidson College in Davidson, North Carolina.

Wills will survey the involvement of women of faith in the suffrage movement, and also share excerpts from Ruth Bell Graham’s poetry collection in two separate presentations.

On Monday, Feb. 24, she will present “The Bible and the Ballot: Arguing for Women’s Suffrage” to mark the 100th anniversary of the adoption of the 19th Amendment at 9:15 a.m. in the Memorial Chapel on King’s main campus in Bristol, and “Write or Develop an Ulcer,” a look at Ruth Bell Graham through her poetry, at 7 p.m. at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, located at 700 Cumberland Street in Bristol, Virginia. Both events are free and open to the public.

“Anne’s work delves into aspects of the ordinary, from scrapbooks to obituaries to Thanksgiving celebrations, to find unique insight into large-scale movements in American religious history,” said Martin Dotterweich, Ph.D., director of the Institute. “She has broad teaching interests, including civil religion, politics, African-American traditions, Mormonism, and the art of the memoir, and is presently writing a biography of Ruth Bell Graham. We are delighted to welcome Dr. Wills to the Institute to mark the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage and present some of her discoveries about Graham.”

A graduate of Davidson College, the School of Divinity at Yale Divinity, and Duke University, Wills is an ordained elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA). She has served as president of the American Academy of Religion’s Southeast Region, and chaired the Southeastern Commission for the Study of Religion (SECSOR). She co-chairs the SECSOR’s History of Christianity section.

In addition to her current work on a biography of Ruth Bell Graham, wife of the late evangelist Billy Graham, who is the subject of her co-edited book, “Billy Graham: American Pilgrim,” Wills reflects on Ruth Graham as a case study for writing women’s history in her most recent article, “Heroes, Women, Wives: Writing other Lives.”

For more information about the Institute, including the full schedule for the speaker series, visit