Don Perryman, Ph.D. is a 2019 graduate of the PHD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University.

Dr. Perryman at his Dissertation Defense.

L-R: Dr. Morgan Roberts, Committee Chair, Dr. Harold Trulear, Committee Member. Not shown: Dr. Philomena Essed, Committee Member, Dr. R. Drew Smith, Committee Member

Dissertation Committee

  • Laura Morgan Roberts, Ph.D., Committee Chair
  • Philomena Essed, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Harold Dean Trulear, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • R. Drew Smith, Ph.D., Committee Member


Black Church, Ethical Leadership, Mass Incarceration, Servant Leadership, War on Drugs

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This research is a qualitative examination of African American pastors from urban communities who address the needs of congregants and/or local communities affected directly, or indirectly by mass incarceration. The Black Church, because of its unique sociocultural location and historic role as resource for Black social and economic problems, must help supply the answers to the devastating collateral damage of mass incarceration that primarily affect children and families. The study sets out to understand urban pastors’ perceptions of the role of the Church in the post mass incarceration era. Specifically, the study examines the unique contributions of the African American religious experience via strategies, practices and experiences of urban pastors that directly and indirectly address the harms and collateral damage of mass incarceration on individuals, children, families and communities of color. This dissertation is available in open access at AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive, and Ohiolink ETD Center,


Rev. Donald Perryman speaks during a unity gathering in Toledo, OH in response to the racially charged violence during a 2017 rally in Charlottesville, Va." Photo Credit: The Blade/Dave Zapotosky.

Don Perryman, Ph.D.

ORCID Scholar ID #: 0000-0002-1630-5373

Since 1997, Rev. Dr. Donald L. Perryman has served as Senior Pastor of The Center of Hope Community Church in Toledo, Ohio. Under Perryman’s leadership, the church has become a center for change that connects holistic ministry in the community’s contemporary social, economic, and political life to its spiritual and cultural foundations.

In 2011, Dr. Perryman founded United Pastors for Social Empowerment (UPSE), a “solution-centered” coalition of faith leaders working in collaboration with institutional representatives and other communities of practice, to challenge the disparities affecting the poor, marginalized, and communities of color through public policy, community development and political empowerment. He also serves the community as a member of the Board of Managers for the Ohio Poverty Law Center and the Aspire Cradle to Career Network and is a member of the Neighborhood Health Association Board and the Children Services Board of Lucas County.

Described as a “catalyst or prime agent of change,” Perryman is “often sought after to lend voice, authority and position to create change” involving diversity, inclusion, equity, empowerment and social justice.