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Black Church in the Sixties

Black Church in the Sixties

Hart M. Nelsen
Anne Kusener Nelsen
Copyright Date: 1975
Pages: 184
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  • Book Info
    Black Church in the Sixties
    Book Description:

    What was the role of the black church in the rise of militancy that marked the sixties? Was it a calming influence that slowed that rise? Or did it contribute a sense of moral purpose and thus help inspire a wider participation in the civil rights movement?

    InBlack Church in the Sixtiesthe Nelsens attack the view that the church tended to inhibit civil rights militancy. The Nelsens reach their conclusions through the examination of thirty data sets derived from published surveys and from their own research conducted in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The data, subjected to Multiple Classification Analysis, reflect the attitudes of many different population groups and span the decade of the 1960s. The many tables make possible the presentation of an impressive amount of hard evidence.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-6416-8
    Subjects: Sociology, Religion, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. 1: Introduction
    (pp. 1-16)

    The study of the black church and black religiosity offers a unique opportunity to sociologists.* The increasing education, urbanization, and migration of the black population have had observable effects on worship styles, types of ministry, social class differentiation of churches, and the like. Somewhat similar changes could be observed for religious phenomena of white Protestants, but the findings would be less dramatic, because rising educational levels and urban migration occurred for them over a longer period of time. More important, these findings would be less revealing, for the white church is but one of many white institutions. On the other...

  5. 2: The Black Church before World War I
    (pp. 17-35)

    It seems clear that any examination of modern black urban adjustment and of the role of the black church in an era of black consciousness requires some background knowledge of the pre-Emancipation black church. The Afro-American church of slave times was neither monolithic nor noncontroversial. The religious life of the isolated plantation slave, whether carried on clandestinely or with the open encouragement of the master, was far removed from the sophisticated, institutionalized Christianity of the independent black church communities of the urban, free North. Many scholars who are currently in the forefront of the new black theology have engaged in...

  6. 3: The Great Migration to the Beginning of the Civil Rights Movement
    (pp. 36-57)

    With World War I came the beginning of the great migration to the North, stimulated by a variety of converging factors. Low wages and the devastation caused by the boll weevil and floods in the years 1914 to 1916 suddenly made economic conditions in the South more unbearable than usual. The sharp decline of foreign immigration after 1914 and the heightened demands of industry provided a severe labor shortage in the North. The perennial social conditions of the South, combined with the cajoling voices of the Negro press and the labor recruiter, did much to break down any barriers. Long...

  7. 4: Racial Differences in Religious Dimensions
    (pp. 58-81)

    Our next task is to examine racial differences in various dimensions of religiosity and in receptivity toward the church’s involvement in civil rights protest. The stereotype would say that blacks are more emotional in their religion and thus more otherworldly than this worldly. Consequently, religion would serve as an opiate for civil rights activism. Such a view can be dispelled by showing that blacks are not more likely than whites to report having had religious experiences, that blacks do not turn with greater frequency to prayer, and that blacks are not more likely to subscribe to a conservative religious ideology....

  8. 5: Religiosity and Militancy: An Indirect Examination of a Relationship
    (pp. 82-99)

    The most recent analysis of the possible consequences of black religion has been completed by Gary Marx, who analyzed the relationship between religiosity and militancy. His argument will be examined in greater detail in the next chapter, but it should be noted that he views religion as sedating, rather than stimulating, the drive toward radicalism among the black masses.¹ His conclusion is in a long tradition which views black religion as “a safety valve where thwarted desires and emotions may be freely vented.”² Yet Marx notes that literature identifying black religion as the source of race protest can be found.³...

  9. 6: Religiosity and Militancy: A Direct Examination
    (pp. 100-123)

    In the introductory chapter it was noted that there has been little research on social protest movements. Little concentrated attention has been given to analysis of the black church as it might have influenced civil rights militancy of blacks in the early 1960s. Scholars working within an assimilationist framework viewed black organizations as basically retarding the integration of black Americans into the larger society. The best-known spokesman for this position was E. Franklin Frazier, whose work on the black church has already been introduced. In a similar fashion, Kenneth B. Clark has commented that the black church is the “last...

  10. 7: Summary and Implications
    (pp. 124-138)

    The overall concern of this study has been with assessing black religion as acting as an opiate or an inspiration for civil · rights militancy. Such an evaluation required a comparison of black and white Americans on various dimensions of religiosity as well as on attitudes toward social change in race relations. A direct analysis of the relationship between religious ideology and militancy served to throw greater light on the basic question. This final chapter, besides briefly summarizing the main findings, will consider the relationship between minority status (or consciousness of being a member of an ethnic or minority group)...

  11. A: Bowling Green Sample
    (pp. 141-143)
  12. B: Data Sets Used in This Study
    (pp. 144-146)
  13. NOTES
    (pp. 147-168)
  14. INDEX
    (pp. 169-172)