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

Other Titles


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.

Journal / Series

Volume & Issue



Date Issued




Adam Clayton Powell; Sr.; African-American Religion; Abyssinian; Jazz Age; Harlem Renaissance


Effective Date

Expiration Date




Union Local


Number of Workers

Committee Chair

Harris Jr, Robert L

Committee Co-Chair

Committee Member

Chang, Derek S.
Salvatore, Nick

Degree Discipline


Degree Name

Ph. D., History

Degree Level

Doctor of Philosophy

Related Version

Related DOI

Related To

Related Part

Based on Related Item

Has Other Format(s)

Part of Related Item

Related To

Related Publication(s)

Link(s) to Related Publication(s)


Link(s) to Reference(s)

Previously Published As

Government Document




Other Identifiers


Rights URI


dissertation or thesis

Accessibility Feature

Accessibility Hazard

Accessibility Summary

Link(s) to Catalog Record