Synopses & Reviews
A comprehensive treatment of the black church and the southern environment in which it functioned from 1865 to 1900.
"The need for racial understanding and tolerance is still strong in the United States. The most divided time in America is Sunday morning during church services. This deplorable situation can only be understood through reflection upon the history of the African-American religious experience. Montgomery's book details the emergence of the African-American church in the South from 1865 to 1900. The author weaves the story through well documented narratives which convey not only facts, but he allows the reader to feel the joy and pain of African-Americans as they start their journey into religious freedom. The value of this work extends beyond the confines of religious studies to the historical relation of the African-American church to politics. A
book that will reward and change the reader." Reviewed by Daniel Weiss, Virginia Quarterly Review (Copyright 2006 Virginia Quarterly Review)
The half century that followed emancipation was a crucial time for African Americans, most of whom had been slaves and were struggling with little reliable support and against determined opposition to attain the full promise of freedom. The church played a vital role in that struggle, providing spiritual comfort, social services, political leadership, and a strong sense of community. In Under Their Own Vine and Fig Tree, William E. Montgomery presents a comprehensive treatment of the black church and the southern environment in which it functioned from 1865 to 1900. What emerges from his study is a portrait of a vibrant and powerful institution, one that is often seen as the purveyor of an otherworldly opiate for an oppressed people but that in reality was an important instrument for the steady advancement of African Americans.