“The historical role of the church during slavery and the civil rights movement has always kept this institution at the center of the African American community. . . . The current resurgence of African Americans’ interest and participation in the nation’s 65,000 black churches is indeed a trend worth nothing. . . . Lawrence reveals much about the cultural and spiritual lives of middle-class blacks today by translating her personal experiences and conversations into a tell-all about her generation.”Booklist
Reviving the Spirit
A Generation of African Americans Goes Home to Church
978-0-8021-3499-8 • $11.00 • Paperback • Feb. 1997
“They call me Sister Lawrence. It sounds funny even to me. I am not a holy roller. I’ve never spoken in tongues and have not yet been visited by the Holy Ghost. Then again, I did not join the church to get to heaven. I joined to survive on Earth.”—Beverly Hall Lawrence
The return in record numbers of young African Americans to the church has been called “a movement sweeping middle-class black congregations” by the Washington Post. African Americans are not only returning to church in search of divine salvation; they are also returning to the only American institution they truly control, in the hope of reviving its role as a command center and strategic outpost for social change, economic reform, political activism, and urban renewal. Drawing on personal experiences, her own and those of the parishioners at one of the oldest and largest African Methodist Episcopal churches in the country, Beverly Hall Lawrence has written both a provocative analysis of an emerging cultural trend and an insightful celebration of the new African American spirituality.