When you think of black power, do you think about churches and religious institutions, or do you relate them more to the civil rights...

When you think of black power, do you think about churches and religious institutions, or do you relate them more to the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s? How do the social justice struggles of the past relate to those of today? In this vital reassessment of the impact of religion on the black power movement, Faith in Black Power: Religion, Race, and Resistance in Cairo, Illinois (University Press of Kentucky, 2016) presents a nuanced discussion of the ways in which black churches supported and shaped the United Front black power organization in Cairo, Illinois during the 1970s. The book deftly challenges conventional narratives of the de-Christianization of the movement, revealing that Cairoites embraced both old-time religion and revolutionary thought. Not only did the faithful fund the mass direct-action strategies of the United Front, but activists also engaged the literature on black theology, invited theologians to speak at their rallies, and sent potential leaders to train at seminaries. In Faith in Black Power: Religion, Race, and Resistance in Cairo, Illinois the author also investigates the impact of female leaders on the organization and their influence on young activists, offering new perspectives on the hypermasculine image of black power.

Based on extensive primary research, Faith in Black Power: Religion, Race, and Resistance in Cairo, Illinois contributes to and complicates the history of the black freedom struggle in America. It not only adds a new element to the study of African American religion but also illuminates the relationship between black churches and black politics during this tumultuous era.

Kerry Pimblott is a Lecturer in American History at the University of Manchester. She earned a B.A. with First Class Honours in American Studies from King’s College London and a Ph.D. in History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research interests include African American history, Black social movements, urban history, working class history, and religious cultures and institutions.


James Stancil is an independent scholar, freelance journalist, and the President and CEO of Intellect U Well, Inc. a Houston-area non-profit dedicated to increasing the joy of reading and media literacy in young people.

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