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Davis Lecture to Address Role of Black Church in American Politics

Historian Barbara Savage, author of “Your Spirits Walk Beside Us,” to deliver annual lecture

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October 22, 2009 | by Wendy Leopold
EVANSTON, Ill. --- Historian Barbara D. Savage -- whose most recent book challenges the assumption that black churches and black progressive politics in America are inextricably and easily intertwined -- will deliver the Allison Davis Lecture Thursday, Oct. 29, at Northwestern University.

Savage, Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania, will speak on "The Politics of Black Religion" at 4:30 p.m. at McCormick Tribune Center Forum, 1870 Campus Drive, Evanston campus. Her presentation is free and open to the public.

Savage's 2008 book, "Your Spirits Walk Beside Us: The Politics of Black Religion" (Harvard University Press), is an historical examination of the debates about the public responsibility of black churches and the role of religion in racial leadership. In it, she describes a highly diversified religious community that maintained an uneasy and often contentious relationship with political activists that championed black causes.

Savage also is the author of "Broadcasting Freedom: Radio, War, and the Politics of Race, 1938-1948" (University of North Carolina Press, 1999), winner of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library Award for best book in American history in the 1916 to 1966 period.

In addition, Savage is co-editor of "Women and Religion in the African Diaspora" (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006), a collection of new work from scholars associated with a three-year Ford funded project coordinated with Professor R. Marie Griffith at Princeton University.

Presented yearly by Northwestern's African American Studies department, the Allison Davis Lecture honors Davis, who in 1949 became the first black academic to receive tenure at a major university. Past Allison Davis speakers have included William Julius Wilson, Mary Frances Berry, Patricia Williams, Johnnetta Cole and Michael Eric Dyson.

For further information, call (847) 467-3005 or e-mail e-ure@northwestern.edu.