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The Black Churches of Brooklyn / Edition 1

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Overview

The black church has always played a vital role in urban black communities. In this comprehensive and insightful history, Clarence Taylor examines the impact of this critical institution on city life and its efforts to provide support and leadership for urban African-American communities. Using Brooklyn as a national example, Taylor begins with the history of mainline (Baptist, Episcopal, Presbyterian, and Methodist) churches of the nineteenth century, which modified the practices of "white" churches to meet the needs of their growing congregations. These churches brought culture to their members as a mode of resistance by establishing church auxiliaries and clubs such as art and literary societies, traditionally reserved for white churches. In addition, they endorsed the education of the clergy, thereby demonstrating to American society at large that African Americans possessed the sophistication and the means to pursue and to promote culture. More exuberant and less formal than the "elite" churches, Holiness-Pentecostal churches formed the next group to influence community life in Brooklyn. By providing a stable space in which people could network, organize church and community groups, and simply socialize, they offered a myriad of activities and programs for entertainment as well as moral uplift. In short, despite the existence of firm denominational lines, the church as an institution actively answered the educational, religious, and social needs of African Americans while remaining fully involved in the general cultural and political events that affected all Americans. On a more controversial note, the book charts the successes and failures of prominent ministers, who led Brooklyn communities through McCarthyism, the civil rights movement, Johnson's War on Poverty, and the ghettoization of Bedford-Stuyvesant, the largest African-American community in the borough. With an eye on the future, Taylor analyzes the black clergy's response to the problems endemic
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Editorial Reviews

New York Times Book Review
Brooklyn's black churches have played a vital role in the borough since the early nineteenth century. Mr. Taylor quotes contemporary newspaper accounts of church events, using description of concerts and lectures to illustrate nuances of class among various congregations . . . The Black Churches of Brooklyn offers a fine overview of a too-long-neglected chapter in New York history.
Booknews
Examines how the black churches in Brooklyn have helped their members cope with life in segregated American cities, have played a role in changing society, and through the training and work of ministers have demonstrated to whites the capabilities of blacks. Considers the mainstream white denominations that were adapted in the 19th century to serve the black community and the holiness- pentecostal churches that grew out of black culture. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231099813
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 3/7/1996
  • Series: Columbia History of Urban Life Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 297
  • Sales rank: 1,013,015
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.97 (h) x 0.84 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Selected List of Churches
Introduction
1 The Formation and Development of Brooklyn's Black Churches from the Nineteenth to the Early Twentieth Centuries 1
2 The Rise of Black Holiness-Pentecostal Culture in Brooklyn 35
3 Brooklyn's Black Churches and the Growth of Mass Culture 67
4 The Failure to Make Things Better: Brooklyn's Black Ministers and the Deterioration of Bedford-Stuyvesant 99
5 The Ministers' Committee for Job Opportunities for Brooklyn and the Downstate Medical Center Campaign 137
6 Driven by the Spirit: African American Women and the Black Churches of Brooklyn 165
Conclusion: Continuing the Legacy 189
Notes 239
Bibliography 273
Index 279
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