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Saturday, May 2108:35 - 10:20 AM

Session 5

What is African American Religion?

This session offers an opportunity to explore religion in African American life through various lenses: as belief system and discursive formation, as denominational affiliation and institutional materiality, and as ritual and artistic expression.


Edna Greene Medford photo

Edna Greene Medford

Howard University


Anthea Butler photo

Anthea Butler

University of Pennsylvania

Eddie S. Glaude, Jr. photo

Eddie S. Glaude, Jr.

Princeton University

Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham photo

Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham

Harvard University

Judith Weisenfeld photo

Judith Weisenfeld

Princeton University


Wallace D. Best photo

Wallace D. Best

Princeton University

Paul Harvey photo

Paul Harvey

University of Colorado, Colorado Springs

Session Time Slot(s)

05/21/2016 - 08:35-05/21/2016 - 10:20

Session Blog

A New Era in African American Religion

Edna Greene Medford opened the session, “What is African American Religion”? by describing the question as “simple, yet complex” and the panelists as “feisty rebels.”  She was correct on both accounts.  And, by the end of the presentations, I was convinced that a new era in the study of African American religion had been launched. 


The Future of the African American Religious Past

“Among our people generally the church is the Alpha and Omega of all things,” the black intellectual, abolitionist, and nationalist Martin Delany wrote in The North Star in 1849. “It is their only source of information—their only acknowledged public body—their state legislature . . . their only acknowledged advisor.” Were Delany (not to mention W. E. B.

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