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What was the role of the black church in the rise of militancy that marked the sixties? Was it a calming influence that slowed that rise? Or did it contribute a sense of moral purpose and thus help inspire a wider participation in the civil rights movement?

In Black Church in the Sixties, the Nelsens attack the view that the church tended to inhibit civil rights militancy. The Nelsens reach their conclusions through the examination of thirty data sets derived from published surveys and from their own research conducted in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The data, subjected to Multiple Classification Analysis, reflect the attitudes of many different population groups and span the decade of the 1960s. The many tables make possible the presentation of an impressive amount of hard evidence.

Hart M. Nelsen is chairman of the Department of Sociology at Catholic University of America.

Anne Kusener Nelsen is a doctoral candidate in American history at Vanderbilt University.

"The Nelsens use strong statistical arguments to reject the stereotype of the emotional, sectarian religious orientation commonly associated with black beliefs, and instead point out ‘the close ties between black religion and protest,’ emphasizing and discussing the Black Muslims, storefront churches, and the March on Washington."—Library Journal

Publication Date



The University Press of Kentucky

Place of Publication

Lexington, KY






African American churches, African Americans, Civil Rights Movement



Black Church in the Sixties
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