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Sparks from the Anvil of Oppression Philadelphia's African Methodists and Southern Migrants, 1890-1940

by Robert Gregg

  • ISBN: 9781566396646
  • ISBN10: 1566396646

Sparks from the Anvil of Oppression Philadelphia's African Methodists and Southern Migrants, 1890-1940

by Robert Gregg

  • List Price: $31.95
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Edition: 0695
  • Publisher: Temple Univ Pr
  • Publish date: 08/01/1998
  • ISBN: 9781566396646
  • ISBN10: 1566396646
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Description: While assuming the importance of churches within black communities, social historians generally have not studied them directly or have treated the black denominations as a single unit. Robert Gregg focuses on the African Methodist churches and churchgoers in Philadelphia during the Great Migration and the concurrent rise of black ghettos in the city to show the variety and richness of African American culture at this time. He examines the ways in which the influx of southern migrants affected relations and institutions within black communities, how opportunities for blacks changed within the city, and how increased ghettoization led to social divisions among African Americans. Black religious institutions have been charged with failure to welcome southern migrants and help them adjust to urban life. Citing the work of African Methodist intellectuals and ministers, Gregg describes the philosophy of "uplift" that was preached and practiced in A.M.E. churches, and which attempted to counter exclusiveness among church members. The church and many of its well-established members strove to create community; to provide support and outlets for cultural, economic, political, and religious expression; and to respond to migrants' and members' depressed living and work environments. The diversity within the migrant population and tensions arising from the consolidation of the ghettos, Gregg argues, undermined this philosophy of uplift. Differences in class and regional background thwarted attempts to create a unified black community in the face of racial oppression. African Methodist churches, like other institutions of the ghetto, became sites of struggle for the status and power that could not beattained outside the black community. Gregg contends that examining the migration, the ghettos, and the churches in black Philadelphia separately results in a distortion of all three. By synthesizing the interconnected developments, he reveals a new and less monolithic picture of African American communities.
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