Book

Faith in Black Power

Kerry Pimblott

Published by University Press of Kentucky

Published in print December 2016 | ISBN: 9780813168821
Published online May 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780813169019 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.5810/kentucky/9780813168821.001.0001
Faith in Black Power

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Using the borderland community of Cairo, Illinois as a case study, this book chronicles the Black church’s overlooked contributions to the Black Power Movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s. While Black Power’s reverberations in the church – from radicalized clergy to new institutions and theologies – have received due attention, their impact on grassroots struggles has not. Shifting focus from the seminary to the streets, this project traces the dynamic interaction between the Black church and Black Power at a critical flashpoint. Identified by contemporaries as the site of the country’s longest protracted struggle for racial justice, Cairo captured national attention and became a potent symbol of Black working-class insurgency and a beacon of radical Black Christianity. In a period plagued by sectarianism, the Cairo United Front assembled a surprisingly broad-based coalition under the banner of a new spiritual philosophy and a set of shared cultural practices rooted in the Black church. However, in an era of conservative ascendancy Black Power’s reliance upon such funds proved to be a double-edged sword. By the mid-1970s, white denominational organizations retreated under mounting opposition from state agencies and their own congregants. This project situates grassroots activists, rather than trained religious theorists, as key agents in the production, consumption, and transmission of Black Theology.

Keywords: Cairo; Illinois; Black Power; grassroots; racial justice; Black Theology; radicalized clergy

Book.  324 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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Table of Contents

Introduction in Faith in Black Power

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On Jordan’s Banks in Faith in Black Power

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From the Seminary to the Streets in Faith in Black Power

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Straight from the Offering Plate in Faith in Black Power

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The Recession of National Spirit in Faith in Black Power

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Conclusion in Faith in Black Power

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