Ventura, California, February 22, 2010 — John Perkins, the Civil Rights hero and the book he co-authored Follow Me to Freedom: Leading and Following as an Ordinary Radical (Regal Books) has received special recognition recently. 

San Diego rockers Switchfoot were so moved by Perkins’ story, that they wrote “The Sound (John Perkins’ Blues),” a song inspired by Perkins’ life. The song is featured on Switchfoot’s new hit album, “Hello Hurricane,” as well as a music video of the band’s studio recording sessions.

The book Follow Me to Freedom which Perkins co-authored with Shane Claiborne has been honored by Outreach Magazine as Resource of the Year in the Justice category. The Outreach Resources of the Year is a celebration of the best books, DVDs and curricula produced to help the Church and Christians reach out in areas such as evangelism, compassionate service and cross-cultural ministries.

Perkins grew up in dire poverty on a Mississippi cotton plantation as a sharecropper’s son, dropping out of school in the third grade. After witnessing his brother’s murder by a town marshal in 1947, Perkins fled to California in fear of his life, where he was drafted into the Army. Perkins became a Christian in 1957, and later returned to Mississippi, where he emerged as an evangelical leader during the Civil Rights Movement.


In 1970, Perkins was beaten within an inch of his life by police, and later suffered a heart attack and ulcers due to the stress. However, he has forgiven the wrongs done to him, and moved forward. His Presidential counsel includes serving on President Reagan’s Task Force on Hunger, while Perkins’ has advocated for the poor his entire life, founding numerous movements around the nation.