Wednesday, January 16, 2013

This Week's "Anxious Post" at Patheos: Where Are the Studies of Twentieth-Century Black Evangelicalism?

I am working on some revisions to an article on evangelicals and political engagement in the twentieth century.  If all goes well, the essay will find its way into a collection of essays stemming from a series of Catholic-Evangelical dialogues that have taken place over the last several years at Georgetown University.  One of the readers of an earlier draft of my manuscript noted that my story of twentieth-century evangelicalism was too “Anglo” and “white.”  It was a good point.  Much of the historiography of evangelicalism in the past century has focused on white actors.  I thus set out to do some reading so that I could strengthen the essay along these lines.

In the process I made another discovery.  While there are a lot of good books written about African-American religion and political engagement in the twentieth century, almost all of them focus on Black Protestants of the liberal or mainline stripe.  Where are the black evangelicals?  What were they doing during the New Deal, World War II, the Cold War, and the Civil Rights Movement?  How did Black evangelical congregations and denominations respond to Protestant fundamentalism, the rise of neo-evangelicalism, and the emergence of the Christian Right?  What do we know, for example, about the history of the National Black Evangelical Association (organized in 1963)?

Read the rest here.

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