“This text changed the lives of thousands and thousands of young brothers and sisters of all colors who were wrestling with the question: what does it mean to be Christian in a turbulent time in which the vicious legacy of white supremacy was being contested, pushed back as it were?”—Cornel West
First published in 1969, Black Theology and Black Power is the first systematic presentation of Black Theology that also introduced the voice of a young theologian who would shake the foundations of American theology. Relating the militant struggle for liberation with the gospel message of salvation, James Cone laid the foundations for an interpretation of Christianity from the perspective of the oppressed that retains its urgency and challenge today.
In an earlier preface to this classic Cone wrote: “This book was my initial attempt to identify liberation as the heart of the Christian gospel and blackness as the primary mode of God’s presence. I wanted to speak on behalf of the voiceless black masses in the name of Jesus whose gospel I believed had been greatly distorted by the preaching and the theology of white churches.”
James H. Cone (1938-2018) was Bill and Judith Moyers Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology at Union Theological Seminary. His many books included Black Theology of Liberation, Said I Wasn’t Gonna Tell Nobody, and The Cross and the Lynching Tree, winner of the 2018 Grawemeyer Award in Religion. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.