New Day Begun: African American Churches and Civic Culture in Post-Civil Rights America
R. Drew Smith is Director of the Public Influences of African-American Churches Project and Scholar-in-Residence at The Leadership Center at Morehouse College in Atlanta. He is an Advisory Board Member for the Institute for the Study of Christianity and Politics at Calvin College and for the Pew Civic Partnership. He has a Ph.D. in political science and a masters degree in divinity from Yale University.
New Day Begun presents the findings of the first major research project on black churches’ civic involvement since C. Eric Lincoln and Lawrence H. Mamiya’s landmark study The Black Church in the African American Experience. Since the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act, the scale and scope of African American churches’ civic involvement have changed significantly: the number of African American clergy serving in elective and appointive offices has noticeably increased, as have joint efforts by black churches and government agencies to implement policies and programs. Filling a vacuum in knowledge about these important developments, New Day Begun assesses the social, political, and ecclesiastical factors that have shaped black church responses to American civic and political life since the Civil Rights movement.
This collection of essays analyzes the results of an unprecedented survey of nearly 2,000 African American churches across the country conducted by The Public Influences of African-American Churches Project, which is based at Morehouse College in Atlanta. These essays—by political scientists, theologians, ethicists, and others—draw on the survey findings to analyze the social, historical, and institutional contexts of black church activism and to consider the theological and moral imperatives that have shaped black church approaches to civic life—including black civil religion and womanist and afrocentric critiques. They also look at a host of faith-based initiatives addressing economic development and the provision of social services. New Day Begun presents necessary new interpretations of how black churches have changed—and been changed by—contemporary American political culture.
Contributors. Lewis Baldwin, Allison Calhoun-Brown, David D. Daniels III, Walter Earl Fluker, C.R.D. Halisi, David Howard-Pitney, Michael Leo Owens, Samuel Roberts, David Ryden, Corwin Smidt, R. Drew Smith
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