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The Black churches of Brooklyn

Author: Clarence Taylor
Publisher: New York : Columbia University Press, ©1994.
Series: Columbia history of urban life.
Edition/Format:   Book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
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.
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Genre/Form: Church history
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Clarence Taylor
ISBN: 0231099800 9780231099806 0231099819 9780231099813
OCLC Number: 29846419
Description: xix, 297 p. : ill., map ; 24 cm.
Contents: The formation and development of Brooklyn's Black churches from the nineteenth to the early twentieth centuries --
The rise of Black holiness-pentecostal culture in Brooklyn --
Brooklyn's Black churches and the growth of mass culture --
The failure to make things better: Brooklyn's Black ministers and the deterioration of Bedford-Stuyvesant --
The ministers' committee for job opportunities for Brooklyn and the downstate medical center campaign --
Driven by the spirit: African American women and the Black churches of Brooklyn.
Series Title: Columbia history of urban life.
Responsibility: Clarence Taylor.

Abstract:

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 to urban life throughout the country, including the exodus of the black middle class to the suburbs, the erosion of government support programs, drug abuse, and the AIDS epidemic. Taylor concludes by assessing the careers of contemporary, sometimes outspoken, black ministers of Brooklyn, such as Reverend Al Sharpton, who has gained national attention.

. Richly illustrated with photographs, The Black Churches of Brooklyn is an eloquent evaluation of the institution that has contributed so much to the development of viable, cohesive African-American communities. Taylor brings long overdue attention to its valiant two-hundred-year-old struggle to "alter the secular while maintaining the sacred."

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