A short introduction to Black Humanism: its history, its present, and the rich cultural sensibilities that infuse it

Product Code: 9340
ISBN: 9780807045220
Format: Hardback
Publisher: Beacon Press
Pages: 160
Published Date: 05/21/2024
Availability:In stock
Price: $24.95

The December 2024 Justice and Spirit: Unitarian Universalist Book Club selection.

In the United States, to be a Black American is to be a Black Christian. And there’s something to this assumption in that the vast majority of African Americans are Christian. However, in recent years a growing number of African Americans have said they claim no particular religious affiliation—they are Black “nones.” And of these Black “nones,” the most public and vocal are those who claim to be humanists.

What does it mean to be a Black humanist? What do Black humanist believe, and what do they do? This slim volume answers these questions. Animated by six central principles, and discussed in terms of its history, practices, formations, and community rituals, this book argues that Black humanism can be understood as a religious movement. Pinn makes a distinction between theism and religion—which is simply a tool for examining, naming, and finding the meaning in human experience. Black humanism, based on this definition isn’t theistic but it is a religious system used to explore human experience and foster life meaning. It infuses humanism with rich cultural sensibilities drawn from Black experience. As shown in these pages, thinking about Black humanism this way frees readers from making unfounded assumptions and enables them to better appreciate the secular “beliefs,” ritual structures, and community formation constituted by Black humanists.

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Principles of Black Humanism

A Brief (Religious) History of Black Humanism

The Evolution of Black Humanism

Black Humanism and Justice Work

Black Humanists in Community

Works Cited

“Tony Pinn’s The Black Practice of Disbelief opens religious space in which Black does not necessarily equal Christian. It never has, of course. This book can empower Black seekers for whom traditional paths no longer serve. As a Black Unitarian Universalist minister, I treasure that space where the search for meaning is informed, not constrained by categories of identity, and grounded in the complexity of lives as they are really lived.” —William G. Sinkford, past president of the UUA and transitional minister, All Souls Unitarian, Washington, DC

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