The prophetic witness of Martin Luther King Jr. did not arise spontaneously, social ethicist Gary Dorrien argues in his new book Breaking White Supremacy. Instead, the activism and ministry of King and other civil rights leaders was part of a long tradition of the black social gospel. Using a cross disciplinary approach, Dorrien deals with social ethics, theology, politics and intellectual history to examine the lives of King, Howard Thurman, Benjamin Mays, Pauli Murray, Adam Clayton Powell Jr. and a host of other black religious leaders. This book is a follow-up to Dorrien’s 2017 The New Abolition: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Black Social Gospel, which won the Grawemeyer Award in religion. The cumulative effect of both works is to make a strong case that the black social gospel Christian tradition has had a more lasting influence than the better known white social gospel movement.
Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:
“In this follow up to The New Abolition, Gary Dorrien proves that a sequel can be on par with or even better than the original. Anyone seeking to understand Black religious thought in the era of Black Lives Matter would do well to start here.”—Andre E. Johnson, University of Memphis
“Monumental and meticulous, this is a fascinating work of intellectual history. Dorrien’s great contribution is to name and to illuminate a tradition— the Black social gospel—that had no name.”—William D. Hart, Macalester College
“This must-read book masterfully tells the stories of African American Christian leaders struggling for racial justice and social democracy in the twentieth century. A powerful inspiration for religious activists today.”—Vincent Lloyd, Villanova University
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