African-American Religion Interpretive Essays In History And Culture

African-American Religion Interpretive Essays In History And Culture-40
The initial volumes of the project's fourteen-volume edition of King's papers have contributed to a new understanding of King's graduate school experiences, demonstrating that his academic writings, though flawed by serious instances of plagiarism, were often reliable expressions of his complex, evolving Weltanschauung.Moreover, King's writings make clear that his roots in African-American religion did not necessarily separate him from European-American theological influences, because many of the black religious leaders who were his role models were themselves products of predominantly white seminaries and graduate schools.Letters written to his parents in his early adolescence reveal an intimate knowledge of the details of Baptist church life: congregational governance, ward meetings, church finances, and continual social events.

The initial volumes of the project's fourteen-volume edition of King's papers have contributed to a new understanding of King's graduate school experiences, demonstrating that his academic writings, though flawed by serious instances of plagiarism, were often reliable expressions of his complex, evolving Weltanschauung.Moreover, King's writings make clear that his roots in African-American religion did not necessarily separate him from European-American theological influences, because many of the black religious leaders who were his role models were themselves products of predominantly white seminaries and graduate schools.Letters written to his parents in his early adolescence reveal an intimate knowledge of the details of Baptist church life: congregational governance, ward meetings, church finances, and continual social events.

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As he sought to resolve religious doubts that had initially prevented him from accepting his calling, King looked upon European-American theological ideas not as alternatives to traditional black Baptist beliefs but as necessary correctives to those beliefs.

Tracing the evolution of his religious beliefs in a sketch written at Crozer entitled "An Autobiography of Religious Development," King recalled that an initial sense of religious estrangement had unexpectedly and abruptly become apparent at a Sunday morning revival meeting he attended at about the age of seven.

A guest evangelist from Virginia had come to talk about salvation and to seek recruits for the church.

Having grown up in the church, King had never given much thought to joining it formally, but the emotion of the revival and the decision of his sister to step forward prompted an impulsive decision to accept conversion.

Having arrived in Atlanta on the eve of a major period of institutional development among African-American Baptists, Williams joined two thousand other delegates and visitors who met at Atlanta's Friendship Baptist Church in September 1895 to organize the National Baptist Convention, the largest black organization in the United States. In 1917, Williams became one of the founders of the Atlanta branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

For the remainder of his life, Williams played a leading role in Baptist affairs, both at state and national levels. After becoming president of the local chapter in 1918, he mobilized newly enfranchised African-American women in a campaign to register black voters.

the feeling for ceremonies and ritual, the passionate love of Baptist music") and skills ("a great speaker ...

and he sang, too, in a fine, clear voice") that would prepare him for a preaching career.

In 1940, he revealed his commitment to social gospel Christianity in an address on "the true mission of the Church" delivered to the Atlanta Missionary Baptist Association: Quite often we say the church has no place in politics, forgetting the words of the Lord, 'The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath [anointed] me to preach the Gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and the recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised." ...

God hasten the time when every minister will become a registered voter and a part of every movement for the betterment of our people.

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