During the early twentieth century, millions of southern blacks moved north to escape the violent racism of the Jim Crow South and to find employment in urban centers. They transplanted not only themselves but also their culture; in the midst of this tumultuous demographic transition emerged a new social institution, the storefront sanctified church.
Saved and Sanctified focuses on one such Philadelphia church that was started above a horse stable, was founded by a woman born sixteen years after the Emancipation Proclamation, and is still active today. "The Church," as it is known to its members, offers a unique perspective on an under-studied aspect of African American religious institutions.
Through painstaking historical and ethnographic research, Deidre Helen Crumbley illuminates the crucial role these oftentimes controversial churches played in the spiritual life of the African American community during and after the Great Migration. She provides a new perspective on women and their leadership roles, examines the loose or nonexistent relationship these Pentecostal churches have with existing denominations, and dispels common prejudices about those who attend storefront churches. Skillfully interweaving personal vignettes from her own experience as a member, along with life stories of founding members, Crumbley provides new insights into the importance of grassroots religion and community-based houses of worship.
Deidre Helen Crumbley is an anthropologist and associate professor in the Africana Studies Program at North Carolina State University, and the author of Spirit, Structure, and Flesh: Gendered Experiences in African Instituted Churches among the Yoruba of Nigeria.
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"Helpfully bridges the murky, occasionally roiled waters between anthropology and Christian theology."
--Anglican Theological review
“Saved and Sanctified presents a clarion call to those in mainstream Christian communities to refrain from ‘othering’ and denigrating adherents to smaller, more expressive Christian congregations and traditional African spiritual practices in the United States.”
--The Journal of African American History
In the best tradition of self-critical and self-reflexive ethnography that has been evolving over the last quarter century [Crumbley]... has produced an intimate, but yet absorbing narrative of a seventy-five-plus-year-old, and counting, "sanctified church," within which she was raised and with which she continues to remain in contact.
--Religious Studies Review