The Black Christ offers a compelling portrait of who Jesus is for the Black community, from the times of slavery to the struggles of the present. Douglas identifies the Black Christ not strictly in terms of race or theological constructs, but in relation to current social problems and everyday life. On the most elementary level, Douglas points out, the image of a blond, blue-eyed Christ neither empowers nor nurtures Black people. Moreover, the “Blackness” of Christ has more to do with commitment to Black freedom that appearance.
The Black Christ first provides the historical background to the development of Black Christ to date, from the earliest testimonies of the enslaved, through the writings and thought of figures religious and literary, through the dynamics and developments of the civil rights and Black Power era, the traditions of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the nationalist challenge of Malcolm X.
Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas is Canon Theologian at the Washington National Cathedral and Director of the Religion Program at Goucher College, Baltimore, MD, where she holds the Susan D. Morgan Professorship of Religion. Prior to coming to Goucher College she was Associate Professor of Theology at Howard University School of Divinity, Washington, DC, and served as Assistant Professor of Religion at Edward Waters College, Jacksonville, FL.
A native of Dayton, OH, Dr. Douglas was ordained in 1985 at Saint Margaret's Episcopal Church—the first black woman to be ordained an Episcopal priest in the Southern Ohio Diocese, and one of only five nationwide at the time. In 2012 she was the first to receive the Anna Julia Cooper Award by the Union of Black Episcopalians for her “literary boldness and leadership in the development of a womanist theology and discussing the complexities of Christian faith in African-American contexts." Essence magazine counts her “among this country’s most distinguished religious thinkers, teachers, ministers, and counselors."
She is widely published in national and international journals. Her other books include The Black Christ, What’s Faith Got to Do with It? (both from Orbis Books) as well as Black Bodies/Christian Souls, and Black Bodies and the Black Church: A Blues Slant. She is also co-editor of Sexuality and the Sacred: Sources for Theological Reflection.
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