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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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Blackness in the Image of God

Blackness in the Image of God

(p.131) 5 Blackness in the Image of God
Staging Faith

Craig R. Prentiss

NYU Press

This chapter looks at plays that frame Christianity in a positive light and utilize the Bible as raw material to tell stories affirming the dignity of the African American people. Authors Marita Bonner and Randolph Edmonds perceive faith as a cornerstone of individual and collective advancement. May Miller and Zora Neale Hurston creatively tailored the scripture to cast blacks in a special role within God's providential order, while Owen Dodson employs the Gospels to call upon the sacredness of black humanity. The chapter also examines two of the most remarkable successes in African American theatrical history that were designed as instruments of evangelization: Garland Anderson's Appearances and Big Bethel AME Church of Atlanta's Heaven Bound.

Keywords:   Christianity, Marita Bonner, Randolph Edmonds, May Miller, Zora Neale Hurston, Owen Dodson, black humanity, African American theater, Garland Anderson, Big Bethel AME Church

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