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God and BlacknessRace, Gender, and Identity in a Middle Class Afrocentric Church$
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Andrea C. Abrams

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780814705230

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814705230.001.0001

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Situating the Self

Situating the Self

Becoming Afrikan in America

(p.43) 2 Situating the Self
God and Blackness

Andrea C. Abrams

NYU Press

This chapter focuses on how Afrocentrism is defined and integrated into understandings of self and enacted through bodily and linguistic behaviors by the members of the First Afrikan. It describes the conversion rituals of the First Afrikan members and the ways in which these rituals are engaged to signal membership to outsiders, to nurture the bonds between those in the community, and to remind the convert of her more authentically African blackness. Importantly, the same act of Afrocentric blackness may be interpreted differently by observers and among practitioners. Thus, a consideration of these rituals provides insight into how Afrocentrism is performed and demonstrates the varied meanings of blackness embedded within those performances.

Keywords:   Afrocentrism, First Afrikan Presbyterian Church, African American congregation, rituals, Afrocentric blackness

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