Cover image for Fortress introduction to Black church history
Fortress introduction to Black church history
Pinn, Anne H., 1931-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Minneapolis, MN : Fortress Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
viii, 184 pages : illustrations, portraits ; 22 cm
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BR563.N4 P48 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
BR563.N4 P48 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Black History Non-Circ
BR563.N4 P48 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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A concise and accessible history

A brief history of black Christian churches in the United States has long been needed. Larger sociological and historical studies have enhanced the picture of the historically black denominations. At the same time, black-church members need a handy introduction to their own religious homes, as do college students of American history and religion.

This volume, co-authored by a black minister and a black theologian, provides an overview of the shape and history of major black religious bodies: Methodist, Baptist, and Pentecostal. It introduces the denominations and their demographics before relating their historical development – from the eighteenth century to the end of the Civil Rights Movement – into the groups we know today. A final chapter sketches the state of the black Christian church bodies today and their ongoing contributions to a more just American society.

The Pinns' book will help a new generation of black Americans assess its religious legacy and the larger society to gauge its social import.

Author Notes

Anthony B. Pinn is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Macalester College, St. Paul.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Pastor Anne Pinn and Macalester College religion professor Anthony Pinn have produced a readable, clear introductory reference guide to African-American church history. Section one offers portraits of the seven largest black denominations, including, among others, the African Methodist Episcopal Church and the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. The authors are to be commended for consistently paying attention to women, noting, for example, when different denominations began ordaining them and including biographies of leaders like AME preacher Mary Evans. In the second section, the Pinns attempt a short history of "liberation thought in the church," connecting the early 20th-century social gospel with the leadership of the black church during the civil rights movement, and outlining the development of black liberation theology. The book's most provocative portion is a two-paragraph discussion of the extent to which black theology can happen outside the church; some readers may wish the Pinns had more fully engaged such questions. Useful reference aids conclude each chapter; careful time lines and the biographical sketches of church leaders tidily distill the narrative discussions of church history, while the suggested reading lists helpfully direct readers to both primary and secondary sources. This primer is not terrifically analytical it won't replace, for example, Eugene Genovese's works on slave religion or Albert Raboteau's Canaan Land: A Religious History of African Americans (Oxford, 2001). But it provides a fact-packed, handy introduction to African-American Christian history. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved