Preaching with Sacred Fire: An Anthology of African American Sermons, 1750 to the Present

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W. W. Norton & Company, Aug 16, 2010 - Religion - 960 pages
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One hundred sermons that display the victorious, although sometimes painful, historical and spiritual pilgrimage of black people in America.

A groundbreaking anthology, Preaching with Sacred Fire is a unique and powerful work. It captures the stunning diversity of the cultural and historical legacy of African American preaching more than three hundred years in the making. Each sermon, as editors Martha Simmons and Frank A. Thomas reveal, is a work of art and a lesson in unmatched rhetoric. The journey through this anthology—which includes selections from Jarena Lee, Frederick Douglass, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., Gardner C. Taylor, Vashti McKenzie, and many others—offers a rare view of the unheralded role of the African American preacher in American history.

The collection provides new insights into the underpinnings of the black fight for emancipation and the rise and growth of the Civil Rights and Black Power movements. Sermons from the first decade of the twenty-first century point toward the future of African American preaching. Biographies of the preachers put their work in the cultural and homiletic context of their periods.

The preachers of these sermons are men and women from a range of faiths, ancestries, and educational backgrounds. They draw on a vast and luminous landscape of poetic language, using metaphor, rhythm, and imagery to communicate with their congregations. What they all have in common is hope, resilience, and sacred fire. “Even during the most difficult and oppressive times,” Simmons and Thomas write in the preface, “the delivery, creativity, charisma, expressivity, fervor, forcefulness, passion, persuasiveness, poise, power, rhetoric, spirit, style, and vision of black preaching gave and gives hope to a community under siege.”

This magnificent work beautifully renders the complexity, spiritual richness, and strength of African American life.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
THE BEGINNINGS OF AFRICAN AMERICAN
9
JOHN CHAVIS
31
HOSEA EASTON
45
LEMUEL HAYNES
56
JOHN JEA
63
JOHN MARRANT
76
GEORGE WHITE
90
LIZZIE WOODS ROBINSON
460
LACEY KIRK WILLIAMS
475
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485
WILLIAM HOLMES BORDERS
498
TIMOTHY MOSES CHAMBERS
504
MARTIN LUTHER KING JR
514
EL HAJJ MALIK ELSHABAZZ
526
JOSEPH HARRISON JACKSON
545

BROTHER CARPER
111
ALEXANDER CRUMMELL
123
FREDERICK DOUGLASS
135
JARENA LEE
160
ZILPHA ELAW
166
NATHANIEL PAUL
181
JAMES WILLIAM CHARLES PENNINGTON
189
MARIA W STEWART
203
SOJOURNER TRUTH
217
RICHARD HARVEY CAIN
237
RICHARD R DEBAPTISTE
247
WILLIAM BENJAMIN DERRICK
256
ELIJAH JOHN FISHER
262
GARFIELD T HAYWOOD
266
LUCIUS H HOLSEY
272
JOHN JASPER
281
EMILY CHRISTMAS KINCH
291
WILLIAM HENRY MOSES
303
ELIAS CAMP MORRIS
313
JAMES PRESTON POINDEXTER
322
MARY LENA LEWIS TATE
339
God Is a Negro
347
WORLD WARS FREEDOM STRUGGLES
363
WILLIAM JOSEPH SEYMOUR
372
NOBLE DREW ALI
378
ZORA NEALE HURSTON
392
JAMES WELDON JOHNSON
412
to the Saints Jude 25
426
A W NIX
440
BENJAMIN ELIJAH MAYS
562
JESSE JAI MCNEIL
569
Lord Teach Us to Pray
576
FROM BLACK TO AFRICAN AMERICAN
585
CHARLES GILCHRIST ADAMS
594
CHARLES E BOOTH
605
THEA BOWMAN
612
CAESAR ARTHUR WALKER CLARK SR
626
CLAUDETTE A COPELAND
642
Toward a More Perfect Union
655
Good News for the Poor
669
HALL
687
EDWARD VICTOR HILL
700
THOMAS DEXTER T D JAKES
721
MILES JEROME JONES
736
VASHTI MURPHY MCKENZIE
753
PAUL S MORTON SR
766
ANNA PAULI MURRAY
782
FREDERICK K C PRICE
796
SANDY P RAY
811
Heavenly Grace and Human Response
824
RENITA WEEMS
837
JEREMIAH A WRIGHT JR
853
The Musicality of African American
864
Other Notable Preachers
885
Bibliography
911
Credits
953
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About the author (2010)

Frank A. Thomas is the author of They Like to Never Quit Praisin’ God: The Role of Celebration in Preaching. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee.

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