Review of Religious Research

, Volume 60, Issue 4, pp 589–591 | Cite as

Matthew J. Cressler: Authentically Black and Truly Catholic: The Rise of Black Catholicism in the Great Migration

New York University Press, New York, 2018
  • Karen J. Johnson
Book Review

The ways Black Catholics have navigated racial and religious identities have changed throughout the twentieth century. Usually treatments of Black Catholics in the twentieth century situate them in relation to white people and prioritize the history of interracial activists in the civil rights movements. Historian Matthew J. Cressler’s Authentically Black and Truly Catholic considers Black Catholics on their own terms to explain how Black Catholics, by the 1980s, could practice distinctively Black ways of being Catholic. The notion of an “authentically Black” way of being Catholic, Cressler shows, developed in the late 1960s as Black Catholic civil rights activists engaged Vatican II’s reforms just as Black Power’s calls for self-determination gained traction. Earlier, most Black urban Catholics imagined themselves as a part of the “One True Church,” practicing a universal faith.

Cressler argues that white missionary priests and nuns who prioritized spiritual conversions were more...

Copyright information

© Religious Research Association, Inc. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wheaton CollegeWheatonUSA

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