chapter  8
24 Pages

“The Alpha and Omega of Our People”

A Sociological Examination of the Promise and Problems of the Contemporary Black Church
BySandra L. Barnes

Over 150 years ago, when Martin Delany (1849) characterized the Black Church as the alpha and omega of all things, he provided a testimony of its legacy. This chapter presents a meta-analysis to examine black church and racial demographics, intra-church challenges, and systemic problems. It considers the debate over same-sex marriage as an attempt to use the Black Church to divide and conquer the black community and detract attention from more pressing social problems. When W. E. B. DuBois's The Negro Church was published in 1903, it was the first comprehensive examination of black religious life in the US His work was also seminal given the historic context and prevailing racist ideology. Intolerance by aversive racists generally manifests in the form of discomfort, uneasiness, disgust, fear, and ultimately, avoidance of blacks. Systemic problems associated with poverty, educational gaps, black male incarceration, and health-related inequities undermine the quality of life among growing segments of the black population.