Cover

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Frontmatter

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CONTENTS

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p. vii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

I could not have completed this volume without the help and support of numerous people. First, I thank my dissertation committee, Dianne M. Pinderhughes, Paul Quirk, Todd C. Shaw, and Michael Pratt. Other people have assisted greatly in my intellectual growth. Wilberforce University has provided a unique and unforgettable experience, and I am grateful for the guidance provided by others at the University of Illinois....

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Introduction

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pp. 1-8

The service at Red Memorial1 progresses like most Sunday services in Black churches. Classic hymns are sung, and the members appear relaxed but focused. The choir loft is full; the congregants are spread throughout the front half of the church and have a joyful attitude. They clap and sway to the music during the choir’s and clergy’s procession...

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CHAPTER 1. The Political Transformation of Religious Institutions

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pp. 9-20

Although intrinsically apolitical, religious institutions have consistently engaged in politics throughout American history. Scholars have long noted that many of the key ingredients that shape political behavior can be found in religious contexts (Berelson, Lazarsfeld, and McPhee 1954; Tocqueville 1945). Places of worship help shape political...

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CHAPTER 2. Call and Response: The Mechanisms of a Political Church

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pp. 21-56

As discussed in the previous chapter, a political church is a church that holds political awareness and activity as salient pieces of its identity. Keeping members politically aware and mobilized is part of how political churches understand themselves. However, the political engagement of churches is not constant. Some churches may remain out of...

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CHAPTER 3. When Will the Call Be Made? A History of Black Church Political Activism

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pp. 57-77

The preceding chapters documented the importance of the Black church in Black politics and provided an explanation and examination of Black church-based political activism. Within this discussion and analysis, the issue of environment repeatedly played a role in shaping church activism. Shifts within the sociopolitical environment greatly...

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CHAPTER 4. Who Can Facilitate the Call? The Role of Organizational Dynamics in Shaping Church-Based Political Activism

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pp. 78-97

One of the key factors in explaining church-based activism is the church itself. Beyond the pastor and members, many questions about church organization must be asked. Does it have the ability to become politically involved? Is it constrained in terms of the types of activities in which it can take part? Finally, does the church foster an environment where political activism is a justifiable action? The various dynamics that...

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CHAPTER 5. Who Will Make the Call? Pastoral Support for Church-Based Political Action

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pp. 98-123

Black pastors are viewed as community leaders, championing community causes and playing a vital role in the defense and advancement of Black interests. As with the leaders of all organizations, church activities begin to reflect pastors’ interests. Differences in leadership create differences in organizational outputs. Yet some Black clergy choose to...

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CHAPTER 6. Who Will Respond? Understanding Member Approval of Church-Based Political Activism

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pp. 124-150

As the earlier chapters discuss, a politicized church is a church that holds political awareness and activity as salient pieces of its identity. The organization’s identity comprises those characteristics that members feel are central, enduring, and distinctive about the organization (Albert and Whetten 1985). Chapter 5 examines the characteristics...

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CHAPTER 7. Conclusion

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pp. 151-164

The Black church serves as the preeminent institution in Black social life. It receives praise for its ability to unite Blacks and defend their rights. But at the same time, the church also receives criticism for its lack of action. I do not intend to step into the argument over whether the Black church is a hero or a villain but rather to examine why people have such varying views. In particular, I explain what circumstances...

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Appendixes

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pp. 165-194

To directly test my hypothesis, I conducted interviews with pastors and members of four churches in Detroit, Michigan, and three in Austin, Texas. The Detroit interviews were conducted during the summer and fall of 2002, while the Austin interviews were conducted during the fall of 2005 and spring of 2006. Four of the churches are Baptist,...

Notes

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pp. 195-197

References

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pp. 199-209

Index

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pp. 211-213