Sparks from the Anvil of Oppression: Philadelphia's African Methodists and Southern Migrants, 1890-1940 (Google eBook)
The richness of African American culture during the early years of the century emerges from Robert Gregg's wide-reaching study of African Methodist Churches, southern migrants, and expanding ghettos in Philadelphia. Contending that isolating these powerful forces distorts social history, Gregg examines their interconnected developments to reveal a new and less monolithic picture of African American communities. While some histories have charged black religious institutions with failure to help southern migrants adjust to urban life, Sparks from the Anvil of Oppression cites the work of African American Methodist intellectuals and ministers to illustrate the philosophy of ""uplift"" preached and practiced in A.M.E. churches. The church and many of its established members attempted to create community and respond to the migrants' depressed living and work environments. Class and regional differences, diversity among migrant populations, and the consolidation of the ghetto undermined attempts to create a unified black community, Gregg argues. African Methodist churches became sites of struggle for the status and power that could not be attained outside the black community.
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