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The Substance of Things Hoped For: A Memoir of African-American Faith
     

The Substance of Things Hoped For: A Memoir of African-American Faith

by Samuel DeWitt Proctor
 

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The Pastor Emeritus of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem reflects on faith's role in his own life and in the African-American experience. Dr. Proctor chronicles his family's journey--from his grandmother's slavery through the monumental victories of the NAACP to his own involvement in the King Oasis and through subsequent presidential eras--to show the common

Overview

The Pastor Emeritus of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem reflects on faith's role in his own life and in the African-American experience. Dr. Proctor chronicles his family's journey--from his grandmother's slavery through the monumental victories of the NAACP to his own involvement in the King Oasis and through subsequent presidential eras--to show the common thread in the lives of millions of African Americans: pure enduring faith.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Proctor-pastor emeritus of Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, an ex-professor and college administrator and former associate director of the Peace Corps-has lived a life sustained by faith and clear-eyed optimism about the possibilities and problems faced by American blacks. His warm, lucid memoir covers so much ground that it seems skimpy in places. However, his anecdotes resonate: they relate to the backbone he gained from family, church and black society in the segregated South; his role as mentor to Martin Luther King Jr. and many others; and his conviction, after trips to Africa and other foreign lands, that black Americans are inherently American. Though a man of tradition, he calls for the black church to liberalize its attitudes toward women. He has strong policy suggestions to reclaim lost youth: reinvest in teaching; have black churches link up to gain clout; establish a Peace Corps-like National Youth Academy at deactivated military bases to educate youngsters whom schools haven't helped. That would cost much less than prisons, he warns. Literary Guild alternate; author tour. (Jan.)
Library Journal
Proctor, the grandson of a slave, became the president of two black colleges, a top administrator in the Peace Corps and at Rutgers University, and pastor of Harlem's huge Abyssinian Baptist Church. He reminisces here about his tireless lifetime struggle to better the lot of blacks through education and religion. He devotes a major portion of this work debunking both racist stereotypes held by whites and what he views as futile separatist agendas among blacks. He outlines an ambitious plan, grounded in education, religion, and traditional values, to rescue blacks from poverty, ignorance, and despair. Proctor's work is a passionate and eloquent call to action, founded on a lifetime of fulfilling achievement. Highly recommended for undergraduate and public libraries.-Richard S. Watts, San Bernadino Cty. Lib., Cal.
Ray Olson
Like many major actors in the struggle for black Americans' full citizenship, Proctor has been a minister (Baptist) first, and only then also a college teacher and president and Peace Corps official. Although his own success story, launched from the basis of a sound family believing firmly in the Christian promise of "the substance of things hoped for," figures prominently in his memoir, the rise of many other black Americans to distinguished service to community and nation appears in passing because Proctor helped these great black achievers when they were young and needed it. Clearly Proctor has much to be proud of, but he is not vainglorious. Rather, he is gravely concerned by the persistent and deepening divide between black Americans who succeed and those who do not. He is cogent and down-to-earth about what racism is and does these days, and he is modest but exact about what successful blacks, whites, and society's institutions, from churches to governments, could and should do to finally expunge racism and black poverty.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780399140891
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
01/03/1996
Pages:
1
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.34(h) x 1.01(d)

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