I am a pulpit preacher. I do not come down to the floor in an effort to connect better with the congregation. I do not wander around the sanctuary with anxious energy meandering through my sermon, like a child in a corn maze. No, I stand firmly in my pulpit. Because when I am preaching from the pulpit, I am standing on the shoulders of women who are the propagators of the black church.
Black women have a long and intricate history with the church. Women, making up 70 to 90 percent of black congregations, have always found the institution of the church a place of refuge, of solace and hope. As far back as African American history begins, during a time when their bodies were bound by the violence of slavery, black women gathered to worship communally a God who gave freedom and liberation in the salvific power of Christ.
The Civil Rights Movement, a movement that is inextricably bound to the African American church was primarily a movement of black women. While the great male leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. typically get the credit, it was women like Rosa Parks and Fannie Lou Hamer, and the tens of thousands of unnamed women who were at the March on Washington in 1963 who planned, participated, and even died for the movement.
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