SPIRITUALITY & RELIGION

The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song

Penguin Pr. Feb. 2021. 304p. ISBN 9781984880338. $30. REL
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The Black church is the oldest and most successful organization created by and for African Americans, serving as a foundation for Black religious, political, social, and economic life. The importance of the Black church and its role in Black life and the struggle for freedom and revolutionary thinking cannot be understated. It is within the church that the struggle for freedom, political power, and revolution was nurtured along with an abiding prophetic hope for a better future. Gates (Dir., Hutchins Ctr. for African and African American Research, Harvard; Stony the Road) has written a broad historical survey of the Black church from its origins in the South, as enslaved peoples’ religious traditions merged with Christianity to create a new form of praise and worship up to and including modern megachurches. This book, a companion to Gates’s PBS series of the same name, features interviews with scholars and ministers to give a thoughtful analysis of the Black church. A gallery of important Black religious leaders and figures, both historic and modern, is a nice addition to the text.
VERDICT Readers of American religious and African American history will not want to miss this title.

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