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African-American Faith in America
  • Format
  • Authored by: Larry G. Murphy; Series Editor: J. Gordon Melton
  • From the Series: Faith in America
  • Trim Size: 7-3/8 x 9-1/4
  • ISBN-10: 0816049904
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-8160-4990-5
  • Status: In Stock
  • List Price: $30.00
  • Imprint: Facts On File
  • Published: 11/01/2002
  • Dewey Number: 200.89
  • Reading Level: Grades 6-12
  • Pages: 128


When Africans were taken from their homes and families and brought to America as slaves, they carried with them a tradition of spirituality that over the centuries has greatly influenced the religious lives of African Americans. Initially many African slaves resisted conversion to the belief systems of their owners. In the years that followed black churches grew more freely and African Americans created their own ways of celebrating faith in their communities.

A survey of the history of African-American religion written by a leading expert in the field, African-American Faith in America discusses the many ways that African Americans celebrate faith, the significant role that faith has played in their communities, and the influence their faith has had on society at large. Paying special attention to how ancient traditions and practices have affected Christianity and Islam in America, this volume in the Faith in America set also explores cultural impacts, such as the influence of gospel and church music on mainstream music and performance and the role African-American religious leaders play in politics.

Coverage includes:

  • Short biographies of Sojourner Truth, Dr. James Pennington, Marcus Garvey, Biddy Mason, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as early African-American converts to Christianity, such as Phillis Wheatley, Henry Evans, and John Stewart
  • The origins of the Negro Spiritual
  • The establishment of the first independent black church
  • The origins of the Nation of Islam
  • Important religious leaders during the Civil Rights movement
  • Black churches' contribution to education and social service
  • The establishment of the National Association of Colored Women
  • Black churches at the forefront of the discussion about voting issues in Florida during the 2000 presidential election.


Black-and-white photographs and illustrations. Bibliography. Glossary. Chronology. Index.

About the Author(s)

Larry G. Murphy studied at Michigan State and the Pacific Institute of Religion before gaining his Ph.D. at the University of California at Berkeley’s Graduate Theological Union. He is a veteran lecturer, author, and consultant to film and television productions on the subject of religion and faith in African-American communities. Among his books are The Encyclopedia of African American Religions and Down by the Riverside: Readings in African American Religion. Murphy is the editor of the Journal for the Society for the Study of Black Religion and is currently the director of the Sankofa Saturday School, an African American historical and cultural enrichment program for school-aged children in Aurora, Illinois.

Reviews and Awards

"In-depth coverage of diverse religious worship practiced among African Americans is presented...a wealth of information accompanied by black-and-white photographs..."
School Library Journal

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