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This Far by Faith: Stories from the African American Religious Experience Hardcover – January 7, 2003


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 326 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1st edition (January 7, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060188634
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060188634
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.4 x 5.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #742,694 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Williams, who wrote the companion volume to the award-winning PBS documentary Eyes on the Prize, and Dixie, an Indiana University professor, offer a well-illustrated companion volume to the upcoming PBS series "This Far by Faith." They follow the traditional contours of other studies of African-American religious history, beginning with slavery and following the tale through the emergence of free black churches; the nadir of the late 19th century; the Great Migration; the rise of black nationalism and urban religious traditions in the early 20th century; the civil rights movement; and the embrace of alternative religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and the Five Percenters in the 1970s through the 1990s. One particularly interesting segment discusses those mid-20th century black Christian leaders who adopted conservative stances on integration; Williams and Dixie have done a great service by presenting these ministers' views alongside the more familiar stories of civil rights leaders, demonstrating the ideological diversity of the African-American church. At times, the book's writing style can be abrupt and jerky, switching from one historical figure to the next, or between different cities, without transitions to help the reader. The prose is also overburdened with romantic language about heroes who laid their all at the altar of sacrifice, etc.-a device that may work well over six separate installments of a television series, but quickly becomes redundant in print. The real strength here is not the writing but the 76 memorable photographs and illustrations, which powerfully attest to the courage and religious convictions of generations of African Americans.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

This companion to a six-part PBS special airing in February 2002 examines African American religious life.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Overall, good book to easily understand and learn the history of the various faiths practiced among African Americans.
Smootchez
You really get a feel for the situations described, and for the theories and speculation done, both in those respective times and modernly.
Josie
It is about how religious faith inspired one of the greatest movements in American history, the U.S. Civil Rights movement.
The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Smootchez on March 4, 2003
Format: Hardcover
In "This Far By Faith" Juan Williams and Quinton Dixie illustrate the chronological progression and variations of faith practiced by African Americans from the Middle Passage voyage to the 21st century. The authors wonderfully explain various religions in a non-bias manner. The term "cult" is never used to describe less popular or extreme faiths. Every practiced faith is given equal validation for its worth.
"This Far By Faith" focuses on how blacks have used faith to overcome hardship and become triumphant. The most compelling aspect of the book is the leaders and their supporters. Repeatedly throughout history, religious leaders have used faith to promote unity, separatism, prosperity, education, nationalism, equality, humanity, etc among their followers and in attempts to sway others toward the truth.
"This Far By Faith" Timeline:
· Religious tribal practices
· Slave masters reinforcing slavery through Christianity
· Slaves acclimating to Christianity then forming black Protestant churches, e.g. AME, so blacks would not be subservient worshippers in the house of God
· The role that education played in further developing the black church. The over-emphasis placed on the education lead to the founding of COGIC
· The start and end to several short-lived Christian-based followings.
· As people began to migrate north, new religious figures with (believed) ties to Africa began to emerge. The rise of the Moors and Muslims caused many blacks to rethink how Christianity was introduced to them during Slavery
· The birth and rise of the Nation of Islam
· The role that black churches and the Nation of Islam played during the civil rights movement.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers on April 16, 2003
Format: Hardcover
If you have ever wondered how people who lived during slavery survived, THIS FAR BY FAITH is the book you need to read. It is about how religious faith inspired one of the greatest movements in American history, the U.S. Civil Rights movement. With stories told regarding politics, tent revivals and ministers leading rebellions against slavery, you see how in the most trying of times the faith in God and church can prevail. There are numerous pictures of some of our most prominent black leaders, some you know and some you may not know. There are also pictures of sit-ins, voting, lynching and blacks attending church. We learn of William J. Seymour who started the American Pentecostal movement, Charles Price Jones who founded the Church of God in Christ (Holiness) and Charles H. Mason who started the Church of God in Christ, among many other ministers and political leaders.
THIS FAR BY FAITH is an indepth book about African American History. In this day and age you can't really imagine being in slavery or being told where you can sit, eat or drink. You realize how strong we are as a people to overcome and endure such demeaning treatment. And how our faith in God pulled us through then, and can pull us through now. This is a MUST HAVE for every African American household.
Reviewed by Eraina B. Tinnin
of The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 28, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Learning more about the depth of religious experience in America was a pleasure. I recommend this book both for the perhaps obvious reason--the history of the African-American Church in the United States--but even more for the history of non-Christian religious life which is growing and thriving yet probably is less understood. I await with anticipation William's next project, whatever that chances to be.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 29, 2005
Format: Hardcover
`This Far By Faith', a book that is companion to a PBS television series of the same name, is by Juan Williams and Quinton Dixie, but is in reality a series of narratives in which the authors strive as much as is possible to let the characters themselves tell their stories, for these characters were and are real-life figures, some larger than life, and others virtually unknown to the general public. The authors begin by setting the stage, showing in general historical terms the progress of black population growth in the Western hemisphere, and the differing ideas about the numbers; they take a middle-number approach, but concede (both in the essay as well as in the general format of the book) that the numbers approach is not all that helpful or useful toward true understanding of African American faith experience.

In comparing the experience to other recent struggles for liberation, the authors see a key difference. `Unlike the pope or the bishops, who built their struggle with the help of an established church, the African American freedom struggle began outside any organized religion. As slaves, black Americans were stripped away from organized worship. They came to God not through the church but through faith.' There was no institutional help for African Americans throughout much of their struggle for freedom; even churches that at one time might have been accommodating and supportive on moral and philosophical grounds gave way to separatist and class-oriented views, if not (as was most often the case) outright racial discrimination.

`Black people could have turned against the white Christian church, but instead they separated the message of Christian love from people who had no love for them.
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