Why did enslaved blacks embrace Christianity? Motivated by this question, Dr. Derek S. Hicks, in his recently published book, Reclaiming Spirit in the Black Faith Tradition, provides an interpretation of the function of Christianity for oppressed African Americans. His work emphasizes everyday religious practices that engage culture in an effort to reclaim the human spirit fractured by physical, political, spiritual, and social degradation. Giving attention to black faith as articulated during antebellum period America, Hicks asserts that restorative sensibilities—expressed in moral politics, protest documents, material culture, music, literature, and even aesthetic presentation—disclose a ‘reclaiming spirit’ that permeates all of black religious life and thought.

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