Week of October 2: Black Religion

Image: Ethel Shariff in Chicago, 1963. By Gordon Parks (1912-2006)

For Wednesday 10/2, we’ll go to chapter 5 in (Black Religion) Maulana Karenga’s Introduction to Black Studies.

  • Read pages 189-222, 225 (Black Christian Womanist Theology) and the section on the Nation of Islam/Malcolm X (232-239) only.
  • Focus on the sections on: The Dogon Tradition, Maat, Social Ethics of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, Black Liberation Theology
  • Read for the following:
    • How central tenets (beliefs) of the Dogon and Maat shape the worldview of African people
    • How Dr. King and Malcolm X’s interpretations of their religious traditions form a challenge to the US

Also read pages 329-364 in Dr. Clarke’s Notes for an African World Revolution, “Image and Mind Control in the African World.” Read this first to gain a conceptual understanding for Karenga’s approach above

  • Pay attention to how Dr. Clarke frames religion and religious images
  • What role does Clarke suggest religion should play?
  • How does religion shape people’s view of the world, according to Dr. Clarke?

Please Bring both books (or copies) with you to class next week. We’ll be doing some in-class work that you’ll need to look at the book to follow–and do productively.

Quick highlights from 9/25 class:

  • Reviewed sections of Chapter 4 on Civil Rights-Black Power in Maulana Karenga’s Introduction to Black Studies (pages 150-168).
  • Reviewed Dr. John Henrik Clarke’s essay “Malcolm X: the Genesis of His African Revolution” (pp. 139-159) in Notes for an African World Revolution. See the Lecture Notes page for a copy of my presentation with highlights from the text
  • Watched the last part of the Dr. Clarke documentary film A Great and Mighty Walk: watch it on YouTube here
  • Musical transition: Traci Chapman: “Talkin’ Bout a Revolution”–on YouTube here
  • Resource/for further reading: Peniel E. Joseph’s Waiting ‘Til the Midnight Hour a narrative history of the Black Power movement. In the CUNY library system here, the NYPL here, and you can buy it used online starting at about $5.


  • Lecture notes (my slide presentations) are posted on the Lecture Notes page
  • NY State’s voter registration deadline is approaching for the November elections. Download an application here (PDF). New applications must be postmarked by 10/11 and received by 10/16. Changes in political party affiliation deadline is 10/11. Address change deadline is 10/16. You can also register/change info in person. Full details at the Board of Elections website.