Now in an updated second edition, African American Religion remains an invaluable overview of the great diversity of religious groups within the modern African American community. This plethora of forms reflects a tension that has characterized African American religion since its beginnings—a tension between accommodation to and protest against white society's domination.
Viewing African American sectarianism as a response to racism and social stratification in the larger society, the authors trace the history, beliefs, social organization, and ritual content of religious groups in four types of sects. These include the Black mainline churches; messianic-nationalist sects, such as the Nation of Islam; conversionist sects, such as the Holiness-Pentecostal groups and Primitive Baptists; and thaumaturgical sects, including the Spiritual churches.
For this new edition, the authors have incorporated research that has appeared since the book's original appearance in 1992 and have added two new chapters—“African Religious Healing and Folk Medicine” and “African American Sacred Music”—because of these topics' enormous significance to the African American religious experience.