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Pinn uncovers little known treasures of African American Literature such as The Slave Narrative of James Hay,

where an abused slave decides to rely on himself, rather than God, for deliverance from the horrors of slavery,

and a letter from Frederick Douglass which scandalized his religious friends by proclaiming that "One honest A

bolitionist was a greater terror to slaveholders than whole acres of camp-meeting preachers

 

 

By These Hands

A Documentary History of African American Humanism

Edited by Anthony B. Pinn

 

Review 

The Black church is often praised for its contribution to Black culture and politics. More recently Islam has been recognized as an important force in African American liberation. Anthony Pinn's new anthology By These Hands demonstrates the crucial, often overlooked role that Humanism has played in African American struggles for dignity, power and justice. Pinn collects the finest examples of African American Humanism and shows how it's embrace by a variety of prominent figures in African American thought and letters has served as the basis for activism and resistance to American racism and sexism.

Pinn uncovers little known treasures of African American Literature such as The Slave Narrative of James Hay, where an abused slave decides to rely on himself, rather than God, for deliverance from the horrors of slavery, and a letter from Frederick Douglass which scandalized his religious friends by proclaiming that "One honest Abolitionist was a greater terror to slaveholders than whole acres of camp-meeting preachers shouting glory to God." Essays by Zora Neale Hurston and Richard Wright demonstrate the profound influence of Humanism in the Harlem Rennaisance, and pieces by James Farmer, Amiri Baraka (Leroi Jones) and Huey Newton show Humanism's impact on the civil rights and Black Power movements.

Designed for classroom use, this radical reconsideration of African American history will be a must read for anyone interested in African American History, African American Religion and Philosophy, and American History.

Contributors: Norm Allen, Jr., Herbert Aptheker, James Baldwin, Amiri Imamu Baraka, J. Mason Brewer, Sterling Brown, Frederick Douglass, W.E.B.Du Bois, James Foreman, Duchess Harris, Hubert H. Harrison, Harry Haywood, Zora Neale Hurston, William R. Jones, William Loren Katz, Benjamin E. Mays, Huey P. Newton, Daniel Payne, J. Saunders Redding, William L. Van DeBurg, Alice Walker, and Richard Wright.

Contents

Preface     xiii

Introduction: Humanism in the U.S. Context     1

Part I. Nineteenth-Century Humanism: Nineteenth-Century African American History     17

A.     HISTORY, CULTURE, AND POLITICS

     1. Religious Humanism: Its problems and Prospects in Black Religion and Culture     25

        William R. Jones

     2. Nineteenth-Century Black Feminist Writing and Organizing as a Human Act     55

         Duchess Harris

B.     PERSONAL ACCOUNTS

     3. The Story of James Hay     71

         William Loren Katz, Editor

     4. An Unpublished Frederick Douglass Letter     75

         Herbert Aptheker

     5. Fredrick Douglass: Maryland Slave to Religious Liberal     83

         William L. Van Deburg

C. OBSERVATIONS

     6. Negro Folk Expression: Spirituals, Seculars, Ballads, and Work Songs     103

         Sterling Brown

     7. Daniel Payne's Protestation of Slavery     123

         Daniel Payne

Part II. Twentieth-century Humanism: Twentieth-Century African-American History     131

A.         HISTORY, CULTURE, AND POLITICS

     8. The Negro's God as Reflected in His Literature: Ideas of God Involving Frustration, Doubt, God's Impotence, and His Non-Existence     137

         Benjamin E. Mays

     9. Humanism in Political Action     147

         Norm R. Allen, Jr.

B. PERSONAL ACCOUNTS

    10. On a Certain Conservatism in Negroes     163

         Hubert H. Harrison

    11. Religion, from Dust Tracks on a Road     171

         Zora Neale Hurston

    12. Black Boy: A Record of Childhood and Youth     183

         Richard Wright

    13. On Being Negro in America     193

         J. Saunders Redding

    14. Experiences of a Chimney Sweeper     201

         Lyle Saxon, Editor

     15. The Autobiography of W.E.B. DuBois: A Soliloquy on Viewing My Life from the Last Decade of Its First Century     211

         William Edward Burghardt DuBois

    16.The Fire Next Time     227

         James Baldwin

 

    17. The Legacy of Malcolm X and the Coming of the Black Nation     237

          Amiri Imamu Baraka

 

    18. Halley's Comet and My Religion     249

          Harry Haywood

 

    19. "Corrupt Black Preachers" and "God Is Dead: A Question of Power"     261

          James Forman

    20. The Only Reason You Want to Go to Heaven Is That You Have been Driven Out of Your Mind     287

          Alice Walker

 

C.        OBSERVATIONS

 

    21. On the Relevance of the Church: May 19, 1971     301

          Huey P. Newton

 

     22. An African-American Humanist Declaration     319

           African Americans for Humanism

 

Acknowledgements     327

Index     331

About the Editor     339

 

Source: By These Hands    A Documentary History of African American Humanism

 

Anthony Pinn is associate professor in the Macalester religious studies department, teaching courses on African American religion, history of Black religious thought and Black theology. Author of several acclaimed books, including Why Lord?: Suffering and Evil in Black Theology and Varieties of African American Religious Experience, he is currently researching religion in the African Diaspora and social protest thought in the AME church.

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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update 3 December 2011

 

 

 

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