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Preaching with Sacred Fire

An Anthology of African American Sermons, 1750 to the Present
Preaching with Sacred Fire: An Anthology of African American Sermons, 1750 to the Present. Norton. Aug. 2010. c.976p. ed. by Martha Simmons & Frank A. Thomas. illus. ISBN 978-0-393-05831-4. $45. REL
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Celebrating the life of the spirit that sustained a people through years of oppression, this hefty anthology showcases men and women preachers of notable skill who gave their voice to pivotal moments in the African American struggle. Simmons and Thomas (coeditors, 9.11.01: African American Leaders Respond to an American Tragedy) fill a need here for a comprehensive volume both for academic study and for personal reflection. Focusing mainly on Christian preaching, the editors front each selection with a capsule biography and follow it with sources for further reading. Divided historically, the authors go into detail outlining the social, political, and religious contexts of the time.
VERDICT On the desk, at the bedside, or at the pulpit, this is an indispensable collection for the religious and nonreligious alike. Whether used for extensive personal exploration or for a dip into the beautiful rhythms stemming from an oral tradition, Simmons and Thomas present enough material here for years of study and reflection. A list is included, for further study, of other notable preachers not selected here.

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