The move is on: African-American Pentecostal-Charismatics in the Southwest
Kossie, Karen Lynell
Boles, John B.
Doctor of Philosophy
This study is an interdisciplinary history the African American Pentecostal-Charismatic (AAPC) movement in the twentieth century. It aims to place the rise of African American Pentecostal-Charismaticism within the context of African American religious history in general and the greater Holiness-Pentecostal movement in particular. It examines the religious traditions (in both theology and practice) out of which the AAPC arose; the specific historical context out of which the AAPC developed; the role of leadership; the social appeal of the AAPC; and the role of gender, class, and race in shaping the growth and character of the movement. The general field of African American religious history is understudied, with the possible exception of slave Christianity. For the modern period, much of the scholarship has focused on the black church's relationship to the Civil Rights movement, and the emphasis has been on the mainline black denominations. The focus in the history of Pentecostalism has been on the early twentieth-century origins of the movement, showing its interracial nature, but little has been published on such splinter movements as the Latter Rain phenomenon and the African American Independent Pentecostal-Charismatic (AAIPC) movement. My study will be the first scholarly analysis of this movement and its latter-twentieth-century variations, and the first to place them in geo-cultural/historical/religious context. Among the major interpretive points elaborated are the following: (1) contrary to the expectations of early twentieth-century scholars, African American Pentecostalism was hardly a passing phase; (2) the advent of Pentecostalism marked an end to the hegemony of purported mainline denominations in the African American religious experience; (3) unlike mainline Protestantism and Catholicism, Pentecostalism welcomed the participation of women in its leadership; (4) a proliferation of electronic media (radio, television, and the internet) has facilitated a further dissolution of racial, geographical, and denominational barriers; and (5) independent ministers looking toward the twenty-first century have begun to reconsider their initial embrace of complete autonomy and to examine the spiritual and structural ramifications of interdependence and ecumenicalism. Perhaps this is part of the often observed path from sect to denomination that has characterized many earlier religious movements.
Black history; Church history; American history; Modern history