Black Gods of the Metropolis: Negro Religious Cults of the Urban North

By Arthur Huff Fauset | Go to book overview

AUTHOR’S NOTE TO
THE PAPERBACK EDITION

A FULL decade before Rosa Parks’ tired feet focused a world spotlight on Montgomery, Alabama, and the Rev. Martin Luther King, this University of Pennsylvania study indicated the likely direction that future black religious leadership would take.

Many still assume that dependence on religion is a natural function of a black man’s African heritage. E. Franklin Frazier and Robert E. Park dissented, and the present author concurs with them. The evidence still points to the fact that, African influence or no, the American black church “provided [the one] place where imaginative and dynamic blacks could experiment [without hindrance] in activities such as business, politics, social reform and social expression.” It was stated additionally that the black church in America would likely “witness a transformation from its purely religious function to functions that will accommodate the urgent social needs of the black masses under stresses of politics and economics.”

If anything the black church has exceeded the scope of this forecast. The Father Divine movement may properly lay claim to being a forerunner of the contemporary love-not-hate world movement. Their slogans are frequently identical; Father Divine’s earlier-by-two-generations program even had its flower people (Rosebuds).

The Black Muslims are directly descended from the Moorish Science Temple. Elijah Muhumud, Muslim leader, stresses economic and cultural independence of blacks. Malcolm X became Elijah’s disciple while serving a jail sentence; Eldridge Cleaver and many other recent black leaders became followers and proselytizers in this ostensibly religious movement. The tenuous thread, woven by Noble Drew Ali in long-ago tiny missions in Detroit, Chicago, and Newark, has penetrated the labyrinthine political maze all the way to the Black Panthers.

Truly those who ponder the future of our own great nation would do well to recall the aphorism, “Mighty oaks from tiny acorns grow.”

ARTHUR HUFF FAUSET

-xxiii-

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Black Gods of the Metropolis: Negro Religious Cults of the Urban North
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword vii
  • Introduction xvii
  • Author’s Note to the Paperback Edition xxiii
  • I - Negro Religious Cults in the Urban North 1
  • II - Mt. Sinai Holy Church of America, Inc 13
  • III - United House of Prayer for All People 22
  • IV - Church of God (Black Jews) 31
  • V - Moorish Science Temple of America 41
  • VI - Father Divine Peace Mission Movement 52
  • VII - Comparative Study 68
  • VIII - Why the Cults Attract 76
  • IX - The Cult as a Functional Institution 87
  • X - The Negro and His Religion 96
  • XI - Summary of Findings 107
  • Appendix A - Selected Case Materials 111
  • Bibliography 123
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