Praying Grounds: African American Faith Communities
A Project of the Initiative for the Study of Religion and Spirituality in the History of Africa and the Diaspora (RASHAD)
"More than a century after the publication of The Souls of Black Folk...the church remains at the center of African American social life. However, like other aspects of social history, much of the history of religious institutions is “disappearing beneath our feet,” because not enough is being done to collect and preserve the primary evidence of the work of the church and to make this archival information available to established and budding 21st-century scholars. Praying Grounds: African American Faith Communities promises to help address this problem through the collection and preservation of archival material related to the history of these institutions in Greater Cleveland..."
— Dr. Regennia N. Williams (Read the entire essay)
Features & Further Reading:
- Complete List of Religious Institutions
- Complete List of Interviews
- A guide to the Praying Grounds project materials This finding aid to the Praying Grounds Project Collection contains materials related to African-American churches and music with a focus on the Cleveland area, including photographs, musical recordings and other audiovisual materials, videotapes of sermons and gospel music performances, newspaper clippings, academic articles, correspondence, and personal ephemera.
- Websites of Interest
- Suggestions for Further Study
- Traditions and Beliefs: Official Newsletter of the Initiative for the Study of Religion and Spirituality in the History of Africa and the Diaspora (RASHAD)
- Site Credits
- Traditions & Beliefs, Spring-Summer 2021
- Traditions & Beliefs, Summer 2020
- Traditions & Beliefs, Winter-Spring 2020
- Traditions & Beliefs, Summer-Fall 2019
- Traditions & Beliefs, June 2019
- Traditions & Beliefs, Spring 2019
- Traditions & Beliefs, Winter 2019
- Traditions & Beliefs, Winter-Spring 2018
- Traditions & Beliefs, Summer 2017
- 2016 - 2017 Annual Report / Spring 2017 Newsletter
- Traditions & Beliefs, Summer 2016
- 2016 Women's History Month Archival Gems, Part I: The Women and Spirituality Symposium, Souvenir Program Booklet (2009)
- 2016 Women's History Month Archival Gems, Part II: The Women and Spirituality Symposium, Newsletter Keepsake (2009)
- Traditions & Beliefs, Spring 2016 - Women's History Month Issue
- Traditions and Beliefs "Jubilees to Jazz" Winter 2016 Workshop Newsletter
- Special 2016 African American History Month Newsletter: James Cleveland and GMWA
The Negro Church of Today...
...is the social center of Negro life in the United States . . . Various organizations meet here, -- the church proper, the Sunday-School, two or three insurance societies, women's societies, secret societies, and mass meetings of various kinds. Entertainments, suppers, and lectures are held beside the five or six regular weekly religious services. Considerable sums of money are collected and expended here, employment is found for the idle, strangers are introduced, news is disseminated and charity distributed. At the same time this social, intellectual, and economic center is a religious center of great power.
— W.E.B. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk, 1903