Down in the Valley

An Introduction to African American Religious History

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Julius H. Bailey
  • Minneapolis, MN : 
    Fortress Press
    , February
     286 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Regennia N. Williams forthcoming.


African American religions constitute a diverse group of beliefs and practices that emerged from the African diaspora brought about by the Atlantic slave trade. Traditional religions that had informed the worldviews of Africans were transported to the shores of the Americas and transformed to make sense of new contexts and conditions. This book explores the survival of traditional religions and how African American religions have influenced and been shaped by American religious history. The text provides an overview of the central people, issues, and events in an account that considers Protestant denominations, Catholicism, Islam, Pentecostal churches, Voodoo, Conjure, Rastafarianism, and new religious movements such as Black Judaism, the Nation of Islam, and the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors. The book addresses contemporary controversies, including President Barack Obama’s former pastor Jeremiah Wright, and it will be valuable to all students of African American religions, African American studies, sociology of religion, American religious history, the Black Church, and black theology.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Julius H. Bailey is professor of religious studies at the University of Redlands in California. He earned a PhD in religious studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is the author of Race Patriotism: Protest and Print Culture in the A.M.E.Church (2012) and Around the Family Altar: Domesticity in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, 1865–1900 (2005).


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