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date: 30 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter analyzes African American religious identity and practice in the twentieth century. Shaped by the Great Migration and the rise of mass culture, modern African American religious practice was both inventive and entrepreneurial. Although mainline denominations continued to dominate, Pentecostal and Holiness churches gained popularity through the rise of storefront churches, a refuge for southern migrants in the urban North. In addition, new religious movements such as the Moorish Science Temple of America, the Nation of Islam, and Father Divine’s Peace Mission Movement offered followers the opportunity to create entirely new religious and ethnic identities for themselves. The rise of radio and television transformed African American evangelism and eventually produced the era of the megachurch exemplified by the careers of Reverend Ike and T. D. Jakes. Modern African American religions competed in a spiritual marketplace that cultivated imaginative faith practices and met the material needs of their followers.

Keywords: Great Migration, Pentecostal, Moorish Science Temple of America, Nation of Islam, evangelism, megachurch, entrepreneurial, Father Divine, Reverend Ike, T. D. Jakes

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