Since posting a few days ago that the class I teach at church will be doing an eight-week study on the history of religion and race in the United States beginning in June, I’ve had several conversations with friends asking for reading suggestions. As a historian, I’m not particularly well-positioned to put together a list of books focused on the current moment as such, but below is a list of twelve books, one for each month from June 2020-May 2021, that in some way touch on the history of race and religion in American history.
The list below includes seven works related directly to the history of Churches of Christ (or the Stone-Campbell/Restoration Movement more broadly), and five works which speak to American religious history in other contexts. My hope is that this will allow for a deep dive into the history of our own fellowship which is also informed by the larger narratives of American religious history. A few caveats before we get to the list:
- There are tons (probably a literal ton) of books that would have been worthy inclusions, but there are only twelve months, and so it is 100% certain that there are notable titles that have been left off the list. Consider this a starter pack, not a comprehensive bibliography.
- I have done my best to include a range of authorial perspectives and topics, but there are likely blind spots or areas of omission. For instance, the list focuses primarily on 19th- and 20th-century history, meaning that earlier centuries get short shrift. Again, this is a list to start, rather than finish, a conversation.
- Books can be expensive, and scholarly works are no exception. Costs can mitigated somewhat by purchasing used copies, downloading electronic versions, or checking out works from your local library (particularly if you live near a large university library).
Without further adieu, here is the list. I pray that you find it useful.
June 2020: Edward J. Robinson, Hard-Fighting Soldiers: A History of African American Churches of Christ. Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee Press, 2019. https://utpress.org/title/hard-fighting-soldiers/
July: Tanya Smith Brice, ed., Reconciliation Reconsidered: Advancing the National Conversation on Race in Churches of Christ. Abilene, TX: ACU Press, 2016. https://store.acupressbooks.com/products/reconciliation_reconsidered
August: Wes Crawford, Shattering the Illusion: How African American Churches of Christ Moved from Segregation to Independence. Abilene, TX: ACU Press, 2013. https://store.acupressbooks.com/products/shattering_the_illusion-1
September: Daisy L. Machado, Of Borders and Margins: Hispanic Disciples in Texas, 1888-1945. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. https://global.oup.com/academic/product/of-borders-and-margins-9780195152234?cc=us&lang=en&
October: David L. Chappell, A Stone of Hope: Prophetic Religion and the Death of Jim Crow. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2004. https://uncpress.org/book/9780807856604/a-stone-of-hope/
November: Carolyn Renee Dupont, Mississippi Praying: Southern White Evangelicals and the Civil Rights Movement, 1945-1975. New York: NYU Press, 2013. https://nyupress.org/9780814708415/mississippi-praying/
December: D. Newell Williams, Douglas A. Foster, and Paul M. Blowers, eds. The Stone-Campbell Movement: A Global History. St. Louis: Chalice Press, 2013. https://chalicepress.com/products/the-stone-campbell-movement-a-global-history
January 2021: Barclay Key, Race and Restoration: Churches of Christ and the Black Freedom Struggle. Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 2020. https://lsupress.org/books/detail/race-and-restoration/ ; you can also read my review of R&R here.
February: James L. Gorman, Jeff W. Childers, and Mark W. Hamilton, Slavery’s Long Shadow: Race and Reconciliation in American Christianity. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2019. https://www.eerdmans.com/Products/7623/slaverys-long-shadow.aspx
March: Ansley L. Quiros, God with Us: Lived Theology and the Freedom Struggle in Americus, Georgia, 1942-1976. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2018. https://uncpress.org/book/9781469646763/god-with-us/
April: Luke E. Harlow, Religion, Race, and the Making of Confederate Kentucky, 1830-1880. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014. https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/religion-race-and-the-making-of-confederate-kentucky-18301880/7519F2D70BD6B30C969A836470C33D4F
May: Joshua Paddison, American Heathens: Religion, Race, and Reconstruction in California. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2012. https://www.ucpress.edu/book/9780520289055/american-heathens