Swing Low, volume 2: An Anthology of Black Christianity in the United States

Swing Low, volume 2

An Anthology of Black Christianity in the United States

Swing Low Set

General Editor Walter R. Strickland II
Associate Editor Justin D. Clark, Yana Jenay Conner, and Courtlandt K. Perkins

Swing Low, volume 2
  • Length: 512 pages
  • Dimensions: 6 × 9 in
  • Published: October 29, 2024
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: A0900
  • ISBN: 9781514009000

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A Groundbreaking Portrait of African American Christianity

The history of African American Christianity is one of the determined faith of a people driven to pursue spiritual and social uplift for themselves and others to God's glory. Yet stories of faithful Black Christians have often been forgotten or minimized. The dynamic witness of the Black church in the United States is an essential part of Christian history that must be heard and dependably retold.

In this groundbreaking two-volume work, Walter R. Strickland II does just that through a theological-intellectual history highlighting the ways theology has formed and motivated Black Christianity across the centuries. In this volume 2, an anthology of readings drawn from primary sources, Strickland and a team of editors uncover the breadth of these historical documents from throughout the centuries of Black history so that we can listen to Black Christianity in its own words.

From a 1776 sermon by pastor Lemuel Haynes to podcasts and interviews with people like Christina Edmondson and Lecrae, these selections illustrate the diversity, creativity, and resilience of the Black church throughout American history. The anthology features familiar names such as Phillis Wheatley, Gardner C. Taylor, and Martin Luther King Jr., as well as authors and leaders who are largely unknown, revealing insights from the church, academy, and beyond.

Swing Low offers a defining rubric under which to observe, understand, and learn from the diverse and living entity that is African American Christianity. Volume 1, a companion narrative history, tells the story of these themes from the 1600s to the present, exploring the crucial ecclesiastical, social, and theological developments.

"Walter Strickland's narrative of Black American Christianity provides a well-researched, carefully organized, and immensely informative history of an immensely important subject. The accompanying volume of well-chosen and well-introduced documents makes a valuable project even more useful. With its focus on Black Protestants, these books are landmarks for the exploration of the nation's past and its perennial struggles over race. Most of all they record a story that has been regularly neglected in accounts of American Christianity. It is the often unexpected, sometimes contentious, but enduring impact of the Christian gospel throughout African American history."

Mark Noll, author of America's Book: The Rise and Decline of a Bible Civilization, 1794–1911, and C. S. Lewis in America

"In Swing Low, Strickland takes readers on a profound journey by combining historical narrative (volume one) with primary resources (volume two) to illuminate the triumphs, struggles, and theological developments that have shaped and continue to shape Black Christianity's enduring legacy in the United States. Throughout the entirety of these volumes, readers are invited to deeply explore how the Black church in America continues to navigate the challenges and opportunities of our contemporary world. They are simultaneously encouraged to envision a future where the Black church remains a catalyst for holistic liberation and spiritual renewal and continues to be a voice for justice, reconciliation, and communal transformation. This book is essential reading for pastors, theologians, and all who seek to understand the unique and profound contributions of the Black church in America and to honor its enduring legacy, learn from its theological insights, and join in the ongoing pursuit of liberation, healing, and reconciliation in our communities and beyond."

Bryan Carter, pastor of Concord Church in Dallas, Texas

"In these complementary volumes, Walter R. Strickland II provides a detailed and profound rendering of the story of African American Christianity. The assembled documents, dating as far back as 1619 and as current as the present year, illustrate thought formed in response to various matters of concern. Among this wide range of ideas, Strickland brings to the fore the recurring, interrelated convictions about God, Jesus Christ, the Bible, conversion and sanctification, and freedom and liberation in each era."

Frederick L. Ware, professor of theology at Howard University School of Divinity

"Walter R. Strickland II has made an incredible contribution with both volumes of Swing Low, laying out a well-organized history of the African American Christian tradition, and supporting it with an expansive anthology of primary sources. His thorough work highlights people and movements that were instrumental in American religious history. It is a valuable resource for those studying the holistic story of the church in America."

J.D. Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina

"There are many ways to tell a story; Walter Strickland tells the story of the Black church through a theological lens. These scholarly and accessible volumes tell the story of the Black church by introducing us to many faithful saints, some familiar but many less well-known. These lives show us how the Black church pursued and embodied a faith where beliefs matter as much as faithful and liberating practice. We encounter a holistic faith where we see many ways to walk faithfully in a world full of tremendous challenges. Strickland has given us a long-needed historical narrative and anthology."

Vincent Bacote, professor of theology and the director of the Center for Applied Christian Ethics at Wheaton College

Read an Excerpt



Section 1: Pre-emancipation: 1619–1865
Section 2: Reconstruction and Its Aftermath: 1865–1896
Section 3: Civil Rights Era: 1896–1968
Section 4: Black Evangelicalism: 1963 and Beyond
Section 5: Black Theology: 1969 and Beyond
Section 6: Into the Twenty-First Century

Scripture Index


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