Through the Storm, Through the Night: Now Available!

Paul Harvey

Earlier this summer I blogged about my book Through the Storm, Through the Night: A History of African American Christianity, which was then slated to appear later in the summer (Rowman & Littlefield publishers).

Voila, it's later in the summer, and the book is out, so for that reason, and because my vast portfolio holdings tanked today, seemed like a good day for the time-honored self-promotional post.

Below I'll just repost what I put up earlier about the book, which describes the contents in some more detail, sorry for the repeat but definitely hoping that this book will be useful for any number of classes that some of you regular blog readers teach.

So, without further adieu, a repost. If you have the chance to use it in a class over the next year, let me know how it goes. Yes, it comes in a Kindle edition as well. Paperback version should be out in a year or so I think. For classroom instructors -- the publisher Rowman & Littlefield has an "desk/exam" copy policy here.

Later this summer [it's now out], my new book Through the Storm, Through the Night: A History of African American Christianity, will be out with Rowman & Littlefield. It's part of the "African American History" series put out by Rowman & Littlefield. And it's out just in time for your fall course text assignment!

I'm proud to have it standing there with very recent books by some tremendous historians in the same series, including Chris Waldrep's African Americans Confront Lynching: Strategies of Resistance From the Civil War to the Civil Rights Era, my old friend Burton Peretti's Lift Every Voice: The History of African American Music, and Edward Countryman's forthcoming Enjoy the Same Liberty: African Americans and the Revolutionary Era.

I'm also posting this now because some of you -- and you know who you are! -- are (if you're like me) now facing up to the fact that you've put off your fall book selections (which were due a month or two ago, remember that) long enough, and it's time to pick your texts for the fall. And for a select number of you, maybe this one will be right for you.

The text is short, about 140 pp., and written with the "general reader" and undergraduate reader in mind. I start with the diversity of religious expressions in West and Central Africa in the 14th/15th century, and end with Mama Lola and Kanye West, if that is a far enough chronological reach for you. . . .

In addition, the book comes with a "documents" section, about 60 pages, ranging from Virginia laws on baptism and freedom from the 1660s, to an account of the Stono Rebellion in 1739, to Daniel Payne's famous tour attempting to stamp out "ring shouts" in the 1870s, to Mahalia Jackson's reminiscences of growing up in New Orleans, to John Lewis reflecting on the meaning of non-violence, to Vincent Harding's great essay on the white Christ and Black Power, to Kanye West's "Jesus Walks." There is also a bibliographic essay, broken up by chapter, a Glossary, a Chronology section, and a timeline and some brief footnotes (brief enough not to scare off any freshman reader).

If any of ya'll want to preview it for possible purchase or course use, I'd by happy to send pdfs of the page proofs, or a sample chapter or something if you just want to briefly survey. Just email me, and I'll be there.

Table of contents and more info. below.

Book description (from book website):

Paul Harvey illustrates how black Christian traditions provided theological, institutional, and personal strategies for cultural survival during bondage and into an era of partial freedom. At the same time, he covers the ongoing tug-of-war between themes of "respectability" versus practices derived from an African heritage; the adoption of Christianity by the majority; and the critique of the adoption of the "white man's religion" from the eighteenth century to the present. The book also covers internal cultural, gendered, and class divisions in churches that attracted congregants of widely disparate educational levels, incomes, and worship styles.

Through the Storm, Through the Night provides a lively overview to the history of African American religion, beginning with the birth of African Christianity amidst the Transatlantic slave trade, and tracing the story through its growth in America. Paul Harvey successfully uses the history of African American religion to portray the complexity and humanity of the African American experience.

Table of Contents:
  • Introduction: Themes in African American Religious History
  • Middle Passage for the Gods: African and African American Religions from the Middle Passage to the Great Awakening
  • The Birth of Afro-Christianity in the Slave Quarters and the Urban North, 1740-1831
  • Through the Night: African Amerian Religion in the Antebellum Era
  • Day of Jubilee: Black Churches from Emancipation to the Era of Jim Crow
  • Jesus on the Mainline: Black Christianity from the Great Migration through World War II
  • Freedom's Main Line: Black Christianity, Civil Rights, and Religious Pluralism
  • Epilogue: Righteous Anger and Visionary Dreams: Contemporary Black Politics, Religion, and Culture
  • Documents Section
  • Glossary
  • Bibliographic Essay
Advance reviews:

"If you teach, study, practice, or care about African American religion, then this is the book for you. Paul Harvey provides an indispensable overview of black Christianity from the age of slavery to the ascendance of Obama. With it, Harvey offers a bevy of fascinating primary documents that range from Nat Turner's righteous rage to Mahalia Jackson's soulful songs. Through the Storm, Through the Night does it all with such clarity that even the most complex concepts make sense."—Edward J. Blum, Author, W. E. B. Du Bois, American Prophet

"Harvey provides an elegant and engaging introduction to the history of African American Christianity that charts the diversity of experience and expression among black Christians and illuminates the complex relationship between religion and race in American life."—Judith Weisenfeld, Princeton University