Conversations with God: Two Centuries of Prayers by African Americans

Conversations with God: Two Centuries of Prayers by African Americans

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by James M., PhD Washington PhD, James Melvin Washington
     
 

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A unique and moving collection of prayers by African-Americans spanning two centuries that has sold more than 30,000 copies and been unanimously embraced as "a powerful testament of faith and hope" (Corettta Scott King).

Overview

A unique and moving collection of prayers by African-Americans spanning two centuries that has sold more than 30,000 copies and been unanimously embraced as "a powerful testament of faith and hope" (Corettta Scott King).

Editorial Reviews

Sacred Fire
These 190 prayers, which span 235 years of African American faith in God, the church, and their fellowman, provide revelatory insights into the hearts and minds of African Americans. These pieces were culled from the work of historical and literary figures such as W. E. B. Du Bois, Countee Cullen, Martin Luther King Jr., James Baldwin, Sojourner Truth, and Alice Walker and from letters, journals, and newspapers from more obscure sources. Presented together, they form an undeniable documentation of the resolute and sustaining faith of African Americans.

Conversations with God is a glimpse into the divine because it illuminates the powers of spiritual perseverance while giving insight into the oratory and rhetoric of personal prayer. Washington explained the coherence religion brought to black life as follows: "The absurdities of racism insinuate themselves in conscious and unconscious ways in the lives of black people. Religion has been a central way for us to maintain our sanity." By presenting this collection of moving and powerful sermons, poems, and oratory, Dr. Washington also answers the perplexing question of faith: "Why do people who suffer continue to believe in a God who supposedly has the power to prevent and alleviate suffering?"

Dr. Washington, professor of church history at Union Theological Seminary and adjunct professor of religion at Columbia University, has been an ordained Baptist minister for more than twenty-five years. Here he has given us an exhaustive and uplifting source of information and inspiration, complete with a glossary, a bibliography, and a contributors' page that is also an invaluable biographical resource.

Cornel West
“This is the definitive collection of powerful and poignant prayers of a determined yet degraded people. Only James Washington, with his indefatigable research and theological vision, could have made this available to us.”
Marian Wright Edelman
“Prayer, as James Washington’s moving book chronicles, was the fuel that enabled our black foremothers and forefathers to get over the mountains of slavery and through the valleys of segregation. This testament to the spirit of African Americans. . . Will revive your spirit as it did mine.”
Quarterly Black Review
“Washington’s eloquent statements explaining why we should revere these prayers as living testaments of not only our faith, but also our courage and strength, are powerful and spiritually uplifting. Conversations with God is a very special book that will warm your soul and awaken your spirit.”
Christianity Today
“James Melvin Washington has compiled a unique history of the African-American Christian experience. . . From Phillis Wheatley to Jesse Jackson, Conversations with God presents a prolific legacy of faith, ranging from personal meditations to resounding communal celebrations.”
Coretta Scott King
“These prayers speak not only to African Americans, but to the hearts and souls of people everywhere. . . A powerful testament of faith and hope that will provide a rich, enduring source of inspiration for its fortunate readers.”
American Visions
“This anthology of amazingly graceful passages will serve as a testament of hope for those who have carried everything to God in prayer.”
Trenton NJ Times
“It has been years since I have seen a book which will prove such a treasure. . . Here is not a quaint collection of dusty ethnic curiosities, but a living thing with a past and a future.”
Carolina Times
“Washington takes a giant step in helping to preserve the rich tradition of spirituality in African-American culture—and by extension all American culture—and celebrates the legacy of prayer that has supported and strengthened generations of blacks through good times and bad.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060926571
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
09/28/1995
Series:
African-American Studies Series
Pages:
400
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.00(d)

What People are saying about this

Cornel West Harvard University
"This is the definitive collection of powerful and poignant prayers of a determined yet degraded people."

Meet the Author

James Melvin Washington, Ph.D. was Professor of Church History at Union Theological Seminary and Adjunct Professor of Religion at Columbia University. He is the editor of A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings of Martin Luther King, Jr. and I Have a Dream: Writings and Speeches That Changed the World, and the author of Frustrated Fellowship: The Black Baptist Quest for Social Power.

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Conversations with God: Two Centuries of Prayers by African Americans 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When in college, i discovered this book by accident. It by far ranks amoung the top. I have read hundreds of books The prayers in here work. The book is a blessing. About 5 years after graduating, I lent it to a coworker and she never returned, I am so happy to get another copy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is so special. So much we can experience in the great tribulatons of history and YET it is our conversations with and about God in Christ that truly matters. In this book we hear from people who are hated, hounded and murdered in America. Still they find a way to still believe in the the mercy of God and redemption through Christ. The late Dr. Washington created a masterpiece of a book.