After a chapter exploring black women's religious context and presenting early examples of this work by women of the ante-bellum and post-Reconstruction eras, Ross looks at seven civil rights activists who continue this tradition. They are Ella Josephine Baker, Septima Poinsette Clark, Fannie Lou Hamer, Victoria Way DeLee, Clara Muhammad, Diane Nash, and Ruby Doris Smith Robinson.
In a fascinating narrative style that draws on biography, social history, and original archival research, Ross shows how their moral formation and work reflect both womanist consciousness and practices of witness and testimony, both emergent from the black religious context.
Ross' major work is engrossing history and moving ethical challenge. Examining black women's civil rights activism as religiously impelled moral practices brings a new insight to work on the movement and lifts up a paradigm for engagement in the mountainous challenges of contemporary social life.
The Civil Rights Movement was not only an epochal social and political event but also a profound moral turning point in American history. Here, for the first time, social ethicist Ross examines the religiously motivated activism of black women in the movement and its moral import.
Using one Muslim and six Christian women as moral exemplars of faith-based
action aimed at advancing the common good, Ross (ethics, United Theological
Seminary of the Twin Cities) explores the confluence of religion, civil rights
activism, and black women's contributions to the civic and moral life not only
of black Americans but of all citizens. She grounds her argument in summary
stories of the pragmatism and spirituality of these seven activist women,
displaying their different backgrounds, contexts, and practices. Ross also
highlights their common struggle for freedom and universal human flourishing,
which she identifies as core black religious values. Ross's engaging and
provocative discussion further develops the detail and dimension of the Civil
Rights Movement and its legacy not only in battling racial oppression but in
confronting inequality in its sundry, insidious guises. A nice complement to
works on black organizing tradition, such as Charles Payne's I've Got the
Light of Freedom, and an interesting contrast to Anthony Pinn's The Black
Church in the Post-Civil Rights Era and A. Roy Eckardt's Black-Woman-Jew.
Recommended for larger collections in religious or women's studies, civil
rights, black, and U.S. history.-Thomas J. Davis, Arizona State Univ., Tempe
Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
While much attention has been paid to the role of religion in the civil rights
movement, most of that has been lavished on ordained clergy and prominent male
leaders. Rosetta Ross builds a strong case for women's grassroots importance
to the movement in Witnessing and Testifying: Black Women, Religion, and Civil
Rights. Ross examines six Christian and one Muslim woman activist, exploring
how the history of black women's religious experience in America informed
their sense of social responsibility. Ross, an associate professor of ethics
at United Theological Seminary in Minnesota, adopts a writing style that is
most suited for an academic audience, but the subject matter will have broad
appeal. Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.