Cover image for The courage to hope : from Black suffering to human redemption
The courage to hope : from Black suffering to human redemption
Dixie, Quinton Hosford.
Publication Information:
Boston : Beacon Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xiv, 267 pages : portrait ; 22 cm
General Note:
"Essays in honor of James Melvin Washington."
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BR563.N4 C69 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Black History Non-Circ

On Order



In this unique collaboration, the most prized and esteemed scholars in theology, religious history, and sociology offer a new understanding of American spiritual life by placing African-American religious experience at its center. Moving from specific cases in African-American history and theology to discussions of how African-American experiences can and should inform all studies of American life, they uncover the spiritual human soul that unites all of us. The editors call this project a "testament of hope," and it is a powerful tribute to the late James M. Washington, whose works were an inspirational search for universality.Contributors include James H. Cone, David D. Daniels III, Walter E. Fluker, Cheryl Townsend Gilkes, E. Lee Hancock, Dale T. Irvin, Carolyn Ann Knight, Charles H. Long, Sandy Dwayne Martin, Genna Rae McNeil, Richard Newman, Albert J. Raboteau, Gary V. Simpson, Mark V.C. Taylor, Judith Weisenfeld, and Lucas Wilson.

Author Notes

Quinton Hosford Dixie is assistant professor of Religious Studies at Indiana University. He lives in Bloomington, Indiana. Cornel West is Alphonse Fletcher, Jr., University Professor at Harvard University and author of many books, including Race Matters . He lives in Boston, Massachusetts. Vincent Harding is author of many books, including I've Known Rivers . He lives in Denver, Colorado.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

This is a powerful and inspiring collection of essays about the significance of religion in sustaining African Americans in their struggles in the U.S. since slavery. The collection includes James H. Cone's essay "Calling the Oppressor to Account," which examines the gross hypocrisy of the professed Christianity of Americans in regards to the brutal institution of slavery. Charles H. Long explores the "negative utopia" presented by the African slave's introduction to the New World, a new beginning with the need to forge a new religion that merged African deities with the God of Christianity. Judith Weisenfeld explores the sociological location of evil in racial differences, with blacks typically identified with evil. Other authors explore how black people have used religion to fortify themselves and resist slavery and racism. Other authors explore the passivity implied in a religion that emphasizes the rewards of the afterlife and the significance of religion--both Christianity and Islam--in the civil rights and black liberation movements in the U.S. --Vanessa Bush

Publisher's Weekly Review

This medley of well-crafted essays honors the late James Melvin Washington, a Union Theological Seminary professor and a pioneer in the field of African-American religious history. Washington's various friends, students and colleagues form an august corps of weighty thinkers: co-editor West writes that he misses his best friend of 20 years, with whom he had lunch daily at the Riverside Church. Princeton scholar Albert Raboteau thoughtfully analyzes suffering in the slave experience, while rising star Judith Weisenfeld lucidly chronicles the social construction of race in "Difference as Evil." Washington's colleague at Union, the liberation theologian James Cone, draws on Cone's previous work on Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X to comment upon African-Americans' ongoing "struggle to reconcile their faith in the justice and love of God with the persistence of black suffering in the land of their birth." The contributions are methodologically diverse, ranging from heavily documented historical articles to sermons, open letters and personal opinion pieces. Several essays directly engage Washington's own legacy and work, discussing his groundbreaking history of black Baptists in America (Frustrated Fellowship) as well as his lifelong commitments to racial justice and moral integrity. In all, the anthology pays tribute to a trailblazing scholar while illuminating the social issues that sparked his career. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This book of essays, collected in honor of the late black church historian James Melvin Washington, is held together by the theme of black suffering and prospects for the future. ContributorsÄreligious studies scholars and Washington's former colleagues at Union Theological SeminaryÄoffer insight and the hope that the poor can be empowered "to fight the monster." "Why did God permit millions of blacks to be stolen from Africa...and enslaved in a strange land?," theologian James Cone writes. "No black person has been able to escape the existential agony of that question." Two essaysÄJudith Weisenfeld's decidedly secular piece "Difference as Evil" and Walter Flurer's analysis of the role spirituality can play in overcoming African American nihilismÄstand out. Edited by renowned Harvard theologian West and up-and-coming religious scholar Dixie, this book is "theology [that's] worth the paper that it is printed on." Recommended for large public, seminary, and academic libraries, especially those with special collections in black studies and theology.ÄSteve Young, Montclair State Univ., NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Vincent HardingQuinton Hosford DixieDavid D. Daniels IIICharles H. LongAlbert J. RaboteauSandy Dwayne MartinGenna Rae McneilJames H. ConeJudith WeisenfeldWalter E. FlukerCarolyn Ann KnightMark V.C. TaylorGary V. SimpsonRichard NewmanDale T. IrvinLucas WilsonCheryl Townsend GilkesE. Lee HancockCornel West
Forewordp. ix
Introduction: The Intellectual Legacy of James Melvin Washingtonp. xi
"God's All in This Place": God and Historical Writing in the Postmodern Erap. 3
Passage and Prayer: The Origin of Religion in the Atlantic Worldp. 11
"The Blood of the Martyrs Is the Seed of Faith": Suffering in the Christianity of American Slavesp. 22
Providence and the Black Christian Consensus: A Historical Essay on the African American Religious Experiencep. 40
Evil and Salvation
Waymaking and Dimensions of Responsibility: An African American Perspective on Slavationp. 63
"Calling the Oppressors to Account": Justice, Love, and Hope in Black Religionp. 74
Difference as Evilp. 86
The Politics of Conversion and the Civilization of Fridayp. 103
Preaching and Scripture
Linking Texts with Contexts: The Biblical Sermon as Social Commentaryp. 121
What Can We Say to These Things?: James Melvin Washington and Preaching in the African American Church Traditionp. 134
Preaching by Punctuation: Moving from Texts and Ideas to Sermons That Live with Passionp. 147
Have You Not Read What David Did?: A Sermon for Jim Washingtonp. 162
Church and Community
Strangers and the Homecoming: Church and Community in the Grammar of Faithp. 173
Seeming Silence and African American Culture: Interruption as a Metaphor of Transformation in the Religious Historiography of James Melvin Washingtonp. 183
"Some Folks Get Happy and Some Folks Don't": Diversity, Community, and African American Christian Spiritualityp. 200
Letter to James: A Conversation on Archaeology and Soulp. 214
Benedictionp. 224
Notesp. 229
Contributor's Notesp. 255
Indexp. 259