Your Spirits Walk Beside Us: The Politics of Black Religion

For a brief moment in the early months of 2008, Americans cared about the connections between African-American religion and politics. Segments of Jeremiah Wright’s sermons were splashed all over television and computer screens. With one click, he could be heard shouting “God damn America.” On every news station, he exclaimed that Jesus was a black man who was executed by whites. Wright mattered nationally and publicly because one of his congregants, Barack Obama, was running for president. Americans had so many questions: Why is Wright so angry? What is black liberation theology? Does Obama the politician share the views of Wright the prophet? Scholars of African-American religion were called on to provide sound-bite answers to these monumental concerns. But two minutes here or one magazine story there could not possibly answer the questions in full.


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