"In Authentically Black and Truly Catholic, Matthew Cressler offers an original and insightful portrait of Chicago’s Black Catholics from the community’s early years through the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements and sheds new light on the dynamic relationship between race and religion in twentieth-century America. With Chicago at the center of the broader story of a 'revolution in Black Catholic identity,' this well-researched and engaging study reveals the complexity and texture of Black Catholics’ religious lives and negotiations of what it meant to be committed to both Black solidarity and community life and to the Roman Catholic Church. Cressler advances the study of Black Catholic history in exciting ways and makes an invaluable contribution."
—Judith Weisenfeld, author of New World A-Coming: Black Religion and Racial Identity during the Great Migration
"In Authentically Black and Truly Catholic, Matthew Cressler turns a spotlight on the efforts of Black Catholics to articulate and dramatize their faith in an idiom reflective of the spirituality and aesthetics nourished by their culture and explores the understudied influence of the rhetoric and aesthetics of Black Power on the 20th century reemergence of an active Black Catholic Movement. This work makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of diversity in the Catholic Church in the United States!"
—M. Shawn Copeland, editor of Uncommon Faithfulness: The Black Catholic Experience (Orbis Books)
"This book has the potential to promote important conversations about the historic relationships of black and white Catholics, about the status and experiences of black Catholics today, and about what is required to properly recover and interpret the deep and rich history of black Catholics in the United States."
—U.S. Catholic Magazine
"A fascinating, richly detailed social history of the black transformation of an American Catholicism that traditionally welcomed and nutured Catholic ethnic immigrants in America. In many ways the book is deceptively complex. It is at once a social history of black Catholics that vividly uses the words of those black migrants to describe their experiences in the church and their new surroundings. Yet the book is also an intellectual history of the role that American Catholicism played in the Great Migration, truly making readers rethink the major sociopolitical movements of the last century and the Catholic Church's role in shaping (and being shaped by) them. Cressler's work demonstrates that the presence of religion in African American and American history is crucial to our understanding of what America is."
—Journal of American History
"Authentically Black and Truly Catholic makes crucial contributions to wider scholarly conversations about 'Black religion' and 'the Black church,' the relationship between race and religion, and the history of Catholicism in the United States, as well as to other historical topics such as the Great Migration, Black Power, the urban North, and twentieth-century US history more generally."
—The Journal of Religion
"A significant contribution to understanding the context of black Catholics’ gravitation to Catholicism. It is a must read for scholars interested in black religious identity."
—Journal of the Scientific Study of Religion
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