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Article

Mothers of the Movement: Evangelicalism and Religious Experience in Black Women’s Activism

Department of Religion and Program in African and African American Studies, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755, USA
Academic Editors: Randall Balmer and Edward Blum
Religions 2021, 12(2), 141; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12020141
Received: 22 January 2021 / Revised: 18 February 2021 / Accepted: 19 February 2021 / Published: 22 February 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evangelicalism: New Directions in Scholarship)
This article centers Black religious women’s activist memoirs, including Mamie Till Mobley’s Death of Innocence: The Story of the Hate Crime that Changed America (2003) and Rep. Lucia Kay McBath’s Standing Our Ground: The Triumph of Faith over Gun Violence: A Mother’s Story (2018), to refocus the narrative of American Evangelicalism and politics around Black women’s authoritative narratives of religious experience, expression, mourning, and activism. These memoirs document personal transformation that surrounds racial violence against these Black women’s Black sons, Emmett Till (1941–1955) and Jordan Davis (1995–2012). Their religious orientations and experiences serve to chart their pursuit of meaning and mission in the face of American brutality. Centering religious experiences spotlights a tradition of Black religious women who view their Christian salvation as authorizing an ongoing personal relationship with God. Such relationships entail God’s ongoing communication with these Christian believers through signs, dreams, visions, and “chance” encounters with other people that they must interpret while relying on their knowledge of scripture. A focus on religious experience in the narratives of activist Black women helps to make significant their human conditions—the contexts that produce their co-constitutive expressions of religious and racial awakenings as they encounter anti-Black violence. In the memoirs of Till and McBath, their sons’ murders produce questions about the place of God in the midst of (Black) suffering and their intuitive pursuit of God’s mission for them to lead the way in redressing racial injustice. View Full-Text
Keywords: Mamie Till; Emmett Till; Lucia McBath; Lucy McBath; Jordan Davis; Sybrina Fulton; Trayvon Martin; civil rights; Black Lives Matter; gun violence; gun control; activism; maternal activism; Congress; Christianity; religious experience; Evangelicalism; Evangelical left; Pentecostalism; mourning; memoir Mamie Till; Emmett Till; Lucia McBath; Lucy McBath; Jordan Davis; Sybrina Fulton; Trayvon Martin; civil rights; Black Lives Matter; gun violence; gun control; activism; maternal activism; Congress; Christianity; religious experience; Evangelicalism; Evangelical left; Pentecostalism; mourning; memoir
MDPI and ACS Style

Booker, V.A. Mothers of the Movement: Evangelicalism and Religious Experience in Black Women’s Activism. Religions 2021, 12, 141. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12020141

AMA Style

Booker VA. Mothers of the Movement: Evangelicalism and Religious Experience in Black Women’s Activism. Religions. 2021; 12(2):141. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12020141

Chicago/Turabian Style

Booker, Vaughn A. 2021. "Mothers of the Movement: Evangelicalism and Religious Experience in Black Women’s Activism" Religions 12, no. 2: 141. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12020141

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