"A carefully researched account."
"Brings a heretofore overshadowed denomination to light."
"This history of Florida AMEZ beginnings gives the first account of the role of black AMEZ churchmen in the struggle for the civic participation of Florida's African American population through Reconstruction and the era of 'Jim Crow.'"
"Brown and Rivers have provided an invaluable service to historians of religion, African Americans and Florida, in their painstaking documentation of the AMEZ Church's formative years in the sunshine state."
"The AMEZ Church, though small, exhibited with courage and grace a vital role in meeting the spiritual needs of many black Floridians. Its history is one of triumph of the human spirit against great difficulties."
"Through a blend of denominational sources, newspapers, and public documents, the authors have reconstructed the Florida history of a significant but little-known religious body. Their narrative tells as much about the AMEZ Church as it does about the broader black experience in the postbellum South."
--The Journal of American History
"This book breaks new ground as the first state study of the Zion church."
"An important contribution to the historical understanding of African American religion in the South and Florida."
--Journal of Southern History
"With the publication of their rich and informative work, For a Great and Grand Purpose, the gap in literature on the black church experience has become a little less conspicuous."
"Brown and Rivers have broken new ground in African American church and religious history."
--The Journal of Southern Religion
"Provides students of Florida and African American religious history with an informative account of black religious self-determination and institution building in the Deep South."
--The Journal of African American History
"For a Great and Grand Purpose and its companion volume, Laborers in the Vineyard of the Lord, begin to fill a serious void in the literature on black churches. Indeed, these books are the only two of their kind. No other state benefits from such closely detailed histories of black Methodism. Moreover, their careful eye to competition between churches and denominational distinctives caution us to avoid casting varied and contested forms of African-American Protestantism as a monolithic "black Church.""
--Florida Historical Quarterly