Exploring Black Religion: An eBook Special

This month, as we celebrate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., we look to his role as a leading figure in the African American church. MLK’s important work inspires us to explore the history, complexity, and influences of Black religion in American life. Browse the eBooks below to find studies on Black women’s Christian activism, the connections between Black religion and cooking traditions, the influence of religion on the poetry of Langston Hughes, and other important interventions in the study of Black religion. Get each eBook for just $1.99 through the end of January!

Offer good through January 31, 2020, only available through US retailers


Langston’s Salvation

American Religion and the Bard of Harlem

by Wallace D. Best

“Best weaves together the varied and often controversial strands of Hughes’s life—an unsuccessful religious conversion, progressive politics, and an intriguing but doomed trip to Russia to create a film—in order to paint a more complete picture of a nonconformist and his modern relationship with religion. . . a well-researched argument that offers a vivid perspective on a literary giant.”—Publishers Weekly


New World A-Coming

Black Religion and Racial Identity during the Great Migration

by Judith Weisenfeld

“This book is the most thorough and sophisticated treatment of the emergence and early development of these religio-racial movements…Anyone seeking to understand the role of religion and race in American life, and in particular the religious imagination and religious practices of specific black religio-racial movements in the interwar period would do well to read carefully Weisenfeld’s exemplary monograph.”—African American Review


The Soul of JudaismThe Soul of Judaism

Jews of African Descent in America

by Bruce D. Haynes

“This eye-opening look at the different ways Jews of African descent view themselves not only challenges readers’ thoughts about how Jews identify as white in the New World, it also offers the intriguing perspective of Black Jews who feel they are the true descendants of the biblical chosen people… The Soul of Judaism is highly recommended for anyone who thinks seriously about Judaism and Jewish identity in the contemporary world.”—The Reporter


Black Women’s Christian Activism

Seeking Social Justice in a Northern Suburb

by Betty Livingston Adams

“With care and nuance, Betty Livingston Adams illuminates the social worlds and religious activism of a group of ordinary black working women who made extraordinary contributions to black public life. Well researched, engaging, and accessible, Adams’s work adds new dimensions to our understanding of the history of the black women’s club movement, their participation in interracial social reform and political organizing, and leadership in black churches. She has done a great service in restoring these women to a place of importance in the narrative of African American religious history.”—Judith Weisenfeld, Princeton University


Authentically Black and Truly Catholic

The Rise of Black Catholicism in the Great Migration

by Matthew J. Cressler

“A significant contribution to understanding the context of black Catholics gravitation to Catholicism. It is a must read for scholars interested in black religious identity.”—Journal of the Scientific Study of Religion

“This book has the potential to promote important conversations about the historic relationships of black and white Catholics, about the status and experiences of black Catholics today, and about what is required to properly recover and interpret the deep and rich history of black Catholics in the United States.”—U.S. Catholic Magazine


Religion in the Kitchen

Cooking, Talking, and the Making of Black Atlantic Traditions

by Elizabeth Pérez

“A major contribution to the scholarship of Black Atlantic traditions, bringing much needed attention to cooking, talking, and the women and gay men who do both . . . With an accessible introduction and opening chapters, Pérez’s careful, erudite analysis offers methodological direction and a theoretical vocabulary for all scholars interested in the intersection of everyday practice with religious subject formation.”—Nova Religio

“A pleasure to read. The lucid writing … illuminates the spaces in the back of the house, where so much of the crucial work of making food and making family takes place.”—New West Indian Guide


Pillars of Cloud and Fire

The Politics of Exodus in African American Biblical Interpretation

by Herbert Robinson Marbury

“Marbury brilliantly functions as historical, literary, rhetorical and ideological critic in this work. Most exciting is how he demonstrates the sophisticated exegetical and hermeneutical usages of the biblical text by African Americans over three centuries. . . . . Fundamental to all of the individuals explored in this work and to Marbury is the belief that using the biblical text for inspiring African Americans to strive for freedom and for motivating other racial ethnic groups to assist in this effort is a worthwhile endeavor. This work is a must read.”—Randall C. Bailey, Interdenominational Theological Center


Preaching on Wax

The Phonograph and the Shaping of Modern African American Religion

by Lerone A. Martin

“Although histories of American religion have focused on the relationship of radio to the growth of preaching in America, especially among white clergy, there has been no study of the impact of the phonograph on the development of black preaching in the mid-20th century. Martin draws deeply on record company archives to explore how the phonograph sermons of black Protestant preachers between 1925 and 1941 significantly shaped African-American religion and culture…. Martin’s vital study contributes significantly not only to the history of religion, but also to the lively, ongoing discussion of ‘race records’ by African-American musicians in early 20th-century America.”—Publishers Weekly


Women of the Nation

Between Black Protest and Sunni Islam

by Dawn-Marie Gibson and Jamillah Karim

Women of the Nation will prove an essential resource for any scholar or teacher interested in the experiences and contributions of black women to both Islam and black nationalism in American history.”—The Journal of American History

“A fascinating and well researched book that expands our knowledge about Islam in the United States. Its analysis of the interactions between the Nation of Islam and mainstream Islam is a model for the scholarship on African American Islam. Anyone who wishes to understand the complex religious identities of contemporary African-American Muslim women should read this book.”—Richard Brent Turner, author of Islam in the African-American Experience Second Edition


God and Blackness

Race, Gender, and Identity in a Middle Class Afrocentric Church

by Andrea C. Abrams

“Abrams has written a striking interrogation of the multivalence of black identity constructions within Afrocentric communities wedded to Christianity. Using First Afrikan Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, GA, as a lens by which to expose the problematic nature of racial essentialism within concepts of Afrocentrism, Abrams reveals the fluid, convoluted ways black identity is constructed through class and gender experiences within local black Christian communities seeking to root themselves in Afrocentric paradigms. Furthering the arguments of Victor Turner and W. E. B. DuBois around liminality and double consciousness, Abrams discloses the numerous ways in which black Christian nationalism, Americanness, and middle classness are structured within Afrocentric Christian identities. Summing Up: Recommended.”—CHOICE


Embodiment and the New Shape of Black Theological Thought

by Anthony B. Pinn

In this first text on black theology to take embodiment as its starting point and its goal, Pinn interrogates the traditional source materials for black theology, such as spirituals and slave narratives, seeking to link them to materials such as photography that highlight the theological importance of the body. Employing a multidisciplinary approach spanning from the sociology of the body and philosophy to anthropology and art history, Embodiment and the New Shape of Black Theological Thought pushes black theology to the next level.

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