Something Within: Religion in African-American Political Activism. By Fredrick C. Harris. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. 227 pp. n.p.
What has been the role played by African-American Christian churches in relationship to black political activism? Historically, the answers fall under two broad theories. Some scholars, most of whom studied black society during the Jim Crow era, argue that black religion pacifies any idea of political resistance. African-American churches offer their people help and hope with their personal and social difficulties, often by focusing on future, heavenly rewards, without proposing overt challenges to a system characterized by racial inequality. In contrast, more recent theologians submit that AfricanAmerican Christianity encourages and inspires political activism and the quest for racial equality.
In Something Within, Fredrick C. Harris reasonably and concisely argues that there is an undeniable link between black political activism and the African-American Christian community. Using a variety of methodological research tools such as national surveys, sermons, and firsthand encounters, blended with historical narrative and reflection, the author demonstrates the multidimensional influence of the black church on African-American political awareness and activity.
Harris considers the role of African-American churches on political mobilization. Just as black church leadership in Chicago rallied to the support of Carol Moseley Braun's congressional bid in 1992, black church leadership has displayed a desire throughout most of the twentieth century, not only to support …