Sacred Space: Photographs from the Mississippi Delta
Tom Rankin's black-and-white photographs explore the heartfelt religious expressions of African-Americans in the Mississippi Delta. No single institution in this region has had a more profound cultural impact than the countless African-American churches that accent the landscape. Landmarks to some, places of spiritual refuge to others, "home church" to devoted members, these sacred spaces have been planned, built, decorated, and maintained by local communities. They provide a sustaining force in both symbol and practice. The forty duotone plates in this book include landscapes with churches, church interiors, cemeteries, baptismal lakes and bayous, and black congregations. This is an elegant testimony to the persistence, creativity, and communal symbolism of the church and its affiliated expressions. In the accompanying text Rankin draws upon his interviews with preachers and church members and upon documentary recordings of church services. In the introductory essay Charles Reagan Wilson examines the symbolic meanings of sacred space and discusses the historical and cultural importance of the African-American church in the Delta.
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