Fortress Press

Fortress Introduction to Black Church History

Fortress Introduction to Black Church History

Anne H. Pinn (Author), Anthony B. Pinn (Author)


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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.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9780800634421
  • Dimensions 5.5 x 8.5
  • Pages 192
  • Publication Date November 7, 2001


Preface vii

Introduction The Making of Black Christians
Christianization of the Slaves
Northern Efforts
Southern Efforts
The Great Awakenings
First Awakening
Second Awakening
The Response of Africans to Christianization
Rejection of the Christian Faith
African Religions in North America
Africanization of Christianity
Suggested Reading

Part One: The Development of the Black Church

Chapter 1 African American Methodist Churches
The Development of Methodism
Methodism in the United States
African Americans and Methodism
Study Questions
The African Methodist Episcopal Church
Selected Leaders / Study Questions / Suggested Reading
The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church
Selected Leaders / Study Questions / Suggested Reading
The Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
Selected Leaders / Study Questions / Suggested Reading

Chapter 2 African American Baptist Churches
The Development of the Baptist Faith
The Baptist Church in America
African Americans and the Baptist Church
Study Questions
National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., Inc.
Selected Leaders / Study Questions / Suggested Reading
National Baptist Convention of America
Selected Leaders / Study Questions / Suggested Reading
Progressive National Baptist Convention
Selected Leaders / Study Questions / Suggested Reading

Chapter 3 African American Pentecostalism
The Development of the Holiness Movement
African Americans and Pentecostalism
Study Questions
The Church of God in Christ
Selected Leaders / Study Questions / Suggested Reading

Part Two: The Black Church and Social Justice

Chapter 4 Liberation Thought and the Black Church
What the Black Church Thinks
Study Questions
The Social Gospel
Selected Leaders / Study Questions / Suggested Reading

Black Liberation Theology
Black Theology within the Church
Black Theology outside the Church
Selected Leaders / Study Questions / Suggested Reading

Documentary Appendix
Social Gospel: "Duty and Destiny," Reverdy C. Ransom
Black Theology: "Black Theology," National Committee of Black Churchmen



"This book will be welcomed by all who seek a concise, readable history of the origins and growth of African American denominationalism in the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries. Its format makes it an excellent guide for both adult reading and youth study groups."
—Peter J. Paris, Princeton Theological Seminary

"A detailed comprehensive treatment, The Fortress Introduction to Black Church History examines all the historic black denominations—their origin, history, theology, and witness; their bureaucratic structures, splits and realignments; their fight for social justice and the crucial role of black Christian women. Anyone concerned about the large relation between religion and society will do well to read this book."
—Dwight N. Hopkins, University of Chicago Divinity School


"Pastor Anne Pinn and Macalester College religion professor Anthony Pinn have produced a readable, clear introductory reference guide to African American church history. ... 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. ... 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. ... [The book] provides a fact-packed, handy introduction to African American Christian history."

— Publishers Weekly (November 12, 2001)