This book is a comprehensive study of the historic development of African American Christianity from early African spirituality through slavery in America to the present time. The basic thesis of the book is that in order to understand the evolution of the African American Church one has to search diligently earlier formative social and theological thoughts and movements; and, to elucidate how they impacted African American Church life. It contains nine chapters dealing with such themes as, Early Christianity in Africa, Euro-African Faith tradition and evangelism among American slaves; the social and religious thought which dominated church life in bi-racial churches; the rise of African American separate churches; slave preachers and early African American churches; the evolution and Institutionalization of African American Churches; Emancipation, Church Growth and New Religious Movements, dealing with mainline denominations, Pentecostal and Holiness denominations, sects and cults; Christian Missions of African American Denominations and the emerging globalization of Christian Missions; the Rise of Denominational Schools; the Social and Political Tradition of African American Churches, drawing significantly from African American newspapers to explore such themes as the abolitionist movement, slave revolts, the Civil War and Reconstruction, moral reform movements, segregation and discrimination in the South, the anti-lynching movement, enforcement of voting rights, impact of migration on the churches, the civil rights movement and the "Black Power" movement; and, Emerging Trends In African American Church Life, exploring such subtitles as the ecumenical movement, affirmative action debate, reparation movement, up-ward mobility in church life, women in ministry, rise of mega-churches, and the exploding moral crisis debates, regarding human sexuality and gay marriages.
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About the Author
Dr. Fitts is an Adjunct Instructor of Church History at the Ecumenical Institute of Theology, St. Mary's Seminary and University, Baltimore, MD., and Pastor Emeritus of the First Baptist Church of Baltimore. He received graduate degrees from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, North Carolina; Baltimore Hebrew University, Baltimore, MD.; and, additional studies at the NEH Institute of African American Studies, Princeton University. He has lectured at various colleges, universities and seminaries. His scholarly/published works include: Lott Carey: First Black Missionary To Africa, Judson Press, Valley Forge, PA., 1979; A History of Black Baptists, Broadman Press, Nashville, TN, 1985; The Lott Carey Legacy of African American Mission, Gateway Press, Baltimore, MD., 1994; contributed biographical essays and other articles for such publications as "African American Religion: Research Problems for the 1990's", published by the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York City Public Library,1993; The Encyclopedia of African American History and Culture, published by Columbia University, New York City, 1995; the Lott Carey Herald, Lott Carey Baptist Foreign Mission Convention; Encyclopedia of African American Religion, published by Garland Publishing, Inc., 1993; and The Baptist Heritage, 2008.