This groundbreaking book begins with slavery and gives us a remarkable account of the religious faith, social and political activism, and extraordinary resilience of black women during the centuries of American growth and change. Collier-Thomas makes clear that while religion has been a guiding force in the lives of most African Americans, for black women it has been essential. As co-creators of churches, black women were a central factor in their development. Collier-Thomas explores the ways in which women had to cope with sexism in black churches as well as racism in mostly white denominations in their efforts to create missionary societies and form women's conventions; and how, within the church, men treated women as second-class citizens despite their importance to the very existence and survival of the church itself. African American churchwomen created national organizations such as the National Association of Colored Women and the National Council of Negro Women, they confronted racism in white-led quasi Christian groups such as the YWCA, and they worked in male-dominated organizations such as the NAACP and National Urban League, to demand civil rights, equal employment, and educational opportunities, and to protest lynching, segregation, and discrimination. Jesus, Jobs, and Justice restores black women to their rightful place in American history, elucidating both the quality and consequence of their faith in themselves, their race, and their God.
Bettye Collier-Thomas is Professor of History at Temple University and a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. She is the author of "Daughters of Thunder: Black Women Preachers and Their Sermons "and the editor (with V. P. Franklin) of" Sisters in the Struggle: African American Women in the Civil Rights-Black Power Movement." She lives in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.