Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

In Darkness with God: The Life of Joseph Gomez, A Bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church

Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

In Darkness with God: The Life of Joseph Gomez, A Bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church

Article excerpt

In Darkness with God: The Life of Joseph Gomez, A Bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. By Annetta Louise Gomez-Jefferson. (Kent, Oh., and London: Kent State University Press, c. 1998. Pp. xvi, 439. $45.00, ISBN 0-87338-607-8.)

Annetta L. Gomez-Jefferson presents a very engaging biography of her father, Joseph Gomez (1890-1979), a minister and later bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. Gomez-Jefferson begins her clearly written narrative with a discussion of Gomez's ancestral origins and childhood in Antigua and Trinidad. She proceeds to describe his education at Wilberforce, the influence of family and friends in the lives of him and his wife Hazel Gomez, and his pastorships in Bermuda, Ontario, Detroit, Kansas City, St. Louis, and Cleveland. In 1948, after a few unsuccessful attempts, the Reverend Gomez was finally elected bishop. He served five years in Texas, then served in Tennessee, Kentucky, Michigan, and, finally, eastern Africa. The book provides a good internal look at the AME Church, a major African American denomination, and demonstrates (without engaging in either romanticism or denominationalism) the active involvement of the AME in state, national, and international affairs.

Gomez-Jefferson discusses the struggle of African American Christians with non-southern racial prejudice, the involvement of the AME Church in the civil rights movement, and the international context of the denomination's operations, involving, for example, members in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, and Africa. She observes Gomez's interactions with and viewpoints of denominational leaders and both white and black politicians, such as Reverdy Ransom, Martin Luther King Jr. …

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