The Black Church and Public Policy: Retrospect and Prospect

  • Harold Dean Trulear


Public theology and engagement have characterized African American Christianity and its institutional face, the Black church, virtually from the first gatherings of Black Christians in the Western hemisphere. Christian faith intersected with public issues from the first recognition of the tension between biblical stories of freedom and the racial conventions of slavery, segregation, and discrimination. When one reads the sermons, speeches, addresses, and writings of African American Christians in any era, public theology is at work. Even when Black Christians seemingly eschewed public engagement of the forces of oppression, they did so in full recognition of their existence. Even to be otherworldly was to acknowledge that something was profoundly wrong with this world.


Public Engagement Black Church African American Church Moral Suasion Corporate Dimension 
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  1. 2.
    See Peter Paris, The Social Teaching of the Black Churches (Minneapolis: Augsburg/Fortress Press, 2009).Google Scholar
  2. 8.
    Genna Rae McNeil’s, Groundwork: Charles Hamilton Houston and the Struggle for Civil Rights (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1983) remains the standard Houston biography.Google Scholar
  3. 13.
    John Perkins, Restoring At-Risk Communities: Doing it Together and Doing it Right (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1995) both documents the work of CCDA, and provides a blueprint for their vision for community development.Google Scholar

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© Harold Dean Trulear 2016

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  • Harold Dean Trulear

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