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Saved and Sanctified

The Rise of a Storefront Church in Great Migration Philadelphia

Deidre Helen Crumbley

Publication Year: 2012

During the early twentieth century, millions of southern blacks moved north to escape the violent racism of the Jim Crow South and to find employment in urban centers. They transplanted not only themselves but also their culture; in the midst of this tumultuous demographic transition emerged a new social institution, the storefront sanctified church.

Saved and Sanctified focuses on one such Philadelphia church that was started above a horse stable, was founded by a woman born sixteen years after the Emancipation Proclamation, and is still active today. "The Church," as it is known to its members, offers a unique perspective on an under-studied aspect of African American religious institutions.

Through painstaking historical and ethnographic research, Deidre Helen Crumbley illuminates the crucial role these oftentimes controversial churches played in the spiritual life of the African American community during and after the Great Migration. She provides a new perspective on women and their leadership roles, examines the loose or nonexistent relationship these Pentecostal churches have with existing denominations, and dispels common prejudices about those who attend storefront churches. Skillfully interweaving personal vignettes from her own experience as a member, along with life stories of founding members, Crumbley provides new insights into the importance of grassroots religion and community-based houses of worship.

Published by: University Press of Florida

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xii

There are books that lure you into writing them. They give you no rest until their story is told. This is one of those books. It drew me into the academy to gain the intellectual grounding and professional credentials required to tell the story of The Church in a manner that would command serious scholarly attention. ...

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1. Call

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pp. 1-28

There are many ways of being human; one is being Black in America. There are many ways of being religious; one is being a Christian. There are many ways of being Christian; one is being saved, sanctified, and full of the Holy Ghost. On one level, this book explores a universal human quest for truth and meaning through faith. ...

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2. City Tales

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pp. 29-48

Mother Brown experienced a divine call to preach in Virginia. Similarly, many founding saints reported life-changing spiritual experiences that they had while still in their southern hometowns. However, it was in the northern urban center of Philadelphia that they answered their call to a life of holiness and, together, established an enduring religious institution. ...

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3. Saints Tales

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pp. 49-106

Almost all of the founding saints migrated to Philadelphia from the South. When they were interviewed for this research project, they had risen to the office of elder, serving as the spiritual leaders of The Church, and ranged in age from seventy-six to ninety-eight. Some elders were talkative and others were laconic; ...

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4. Becoming Saints

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pp. 107-138

What does it mean to become a saint—ritually, symbolically, and culturally? For first-generation saints, becoming a saint entailed much more than just going to church. Furthermore, becoming a saint in this particular Sanctified faith community entails compliance with selected Levitical laws, a practice that is absent from many, if not most, Sanctified churches. ...

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5. Family

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pp. 139-164

The Church is “family.” The notion of family that undergirds this chapter draws on African American usages of the term to refer to relationships of mutual obligation, responsibility, compassion, duty, and loyalty between persons who may, or may not, be connected through conventional ties of descent and marriage. ...

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6. Response

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pp. 165-174

In keeping with African American traditions of worship, this book was written as a response to several calls. The founding saints’ narratives, which form the heart of this work, are a direct response to Cheryl Townsend Gilkes’s call to replace “flat images” of African Americans with three-dimensional representations of their “nuanced humanity,” ...


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pp. 175-186


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pp. 187-200


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pp. 201-210

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About the Author, Further Reading

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Deidre Helen Crumbley, author of Spirit, Structure, and Flesh: Gendered Experiences in African Instituted Churches among the Yoruba of Nigeria, is associate professor of Africana Studies at North Carolina State University.

E-ISBN-13: 9780813043555
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813039848
Print-ISBN-10: 0813039843

Page Count: 220
Illustrations: 1 line art
Publication Year: 2012