Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

“Remember” the Sabbath: African-American Sunday schools, education, activism and community building in the South, 1890–1954
by Haggler, Patricia, Ph.D., New York University, 2009, 189; 3361971
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation examines the two largest black denominations in the South, the National Baptist Convention and the African Methodist Episcopal Church, as case studies in the role of African-American Sunday schools in the South and the effect that these schools had on the education and racial identity of black Americans between Jim Crow and the dawn of the Civil Rights movement. This study utilizes the research of theologians, historians of education, literacy, entrepreneurship, social scientists and historians to unearth a pedagogical methodology that took place outside of the academic classroom and which assisted in race advancement and the equality of first-class citizenship rights for African Americans. I define this method as "a black activist theology of education"—an education that transmitted knowledge and training for the educational, social, political, and economic transformation of African-American people as informed by Christian faith and interpretation of scripture.

The African-American Sunday school was an independent black organization that produced an educational ideology which was comparatively different from other contemporary educational models created for black Americans by northern white philanthropists and southern white progressives. The education of African-American Sunday schools was different in that it sought to liberate and free the oppressed as opposed to maintaining the oppressive tactics of white racist demagogues. African-American Sunday schools were agents of change that challenged the southern social status quo while at the same time made progress towards the acceptance of black Americans in the South and pressed for their achievement of first class-citizenship in America. Sunday schools inculcated race pride, unity, self-help, survival, resilience, agency and control in an effort to encourage blacks to aspire to their highest potential during the Jim Crow era.

This dissertation also analyzes the faith and belief of black Americans who worshipped and studied in black churches in the South as an ideological tri-partite (African, American, and Christian) method of self-identification for an oppressed group of American citizens and their efforts in social activism and community building from the height of Jim Crow in 1890 to the theoretical dismantling of southern segregation following Brown v. Board of Education in 1954.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Zimmerman, Jonathan L.
School: New York University
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 70/06, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Black history, Religious history, Education history, Religious education, Ethnic studies, African American Studies
Keywords: A.M.E. Church, Activism, African Methodist Episcopal, African-American, African-American education, Baptist, Community building, National Baptist Convention, Segregation in the South, Sunday School
Publication Number: 3361971
ISBN: 978-1-109-20974-7
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