Jazz Age Jesus: The Reverend Adam Clayton Powell, Sr., And The Ministry Of Black Empowerment, 1865-1937

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The purpose of "Jazz Age Jesus: the Reverend Adam Clayton Powell, Sr. and The Ministry of Black Empowerment, 1865-1937," is to illuminate the African American religious developments occurring during the Jazz Age. Additionally the goal is to expand the notion of who the thinkers of the Harlem Renaissance were-making room for religious figures, not simply as ministers, but active players in the developing cultural climate that was proud of being African American and sometimes even racially militant, signaling the beginning of a movement designed to empower African Americans to rise from their inferior status in the American body politic. This is a social history that examines the life and ministry of the Rev. Powell, Sr., pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church (1908-1937). Analyzing the rise of African-American Protestantism in New York City, through Powell, Sr., illustrates that the Jazz Age was not singularly about decadence and secular creativity, but that there was a sacred or religious awakening occurring simultaneously. This study maintains that migratory patterns in the early decades of the twentieth century where African Americans moved from rural spaces into urban ones were not simply about the transmission of simply aesthetic culture such as food, clothing, music and speech, but important for this particular analysis is that African Americans brought their faith-believed and practiced. Thus, "Jazz Age Jesus" is the title of this work and the Rev. Adam Clayton Powell, Sr., during this period rose to acclaim pastoring the oldest African American Baptist church in New York State, and by the end of his pastorate had facilitated and encouraged its growth, helping it blossom into the largest Protestant congregation in America, if not the world.
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Adam Clayton Powell; Sr.; African-American Religion; Abyssinian; Jazz Age; Harlem Renaissance
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Harris Jr, Robert L
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Chang, Derek S.
Salvatore, Nick
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Ph. D., History
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Doctor of Philosophy
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Government Document
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dissertation or thesis
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