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Staging FaithReligion and African American Theater from the Harlem Renaissance to World War II$
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Craig R. Prentiss

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780814707951

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814707951.001.0001

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New Territory

New Territory

(p.39) 2 New Territory
Staging Faith

Craig R. Prentiss

NYU Press

This chapter discusses how Christian churches remained the dominant institutional influence in African American communities. As Professor Anthony Pinn states, African American humanism had a distinctive flavor in light of Christianity's importance to the prevailing black corporate identity. The existence of black Christianity's power in the community called for an understated rejection, a truce of sorts, with the notion of God. Pinn emphasizes that this truce emerges as a means of maintaining a connection with a communal reality prevalent among African Americans. The plays examined in this chapter generally support Pinn's concept of “truce,” such as those of Eulalie Spence, Willis Richardson, Andrew Burris, Langston Hughes, and Owen Dodson. These plays also contributed to Benjamin Mays' thought that African American literature had crossed a frontier into new territory.

Keywords:   Christian churches, Anthony Pinn, African American humanism, Eulalie Spence, Willis Richardson, Andrew Burris, Langston Hughes, Owen Dodson, Benjamin Mays

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