How Do Black Women Seek Liberation in the Black Church
Womanist theology takes old (traditional) religious language and symbols and gives them new (more diverse and complex) meaning. This form of theological reflection cannot be termed "womanist" simply because the subject is Black women's religious experiences.
The term "the black church" evolved from the phrase "the Negro church," the title of a pioneering sociological study of African American Protestant churches at the turn of the century by W.E.B. Du Bois. In its origins, the phrase was largely an academic category. Many African Americans did not think of themselves as belonging to "the Negro church," but rather described themselves according to denominational affiliations such as Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, and even "Saint" of the Sanctified tradition. African American Christians were never monolithic; they have always been diverse and their churches highly decentralized. Today "the black church" is widely understood to include the following seven major black Protestant denominations: the National Baptist Convention, the National Baptist Convention of America, the Progressive National Convention, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church and the Church of God in Christ.
Though black theology places a great deal of emphasis on suffering, the Resurrection is just as significant (Grant, Jacqueline, 1993). The Resurrection is an event for Jesus, in that something radical has happened to Him. It is also an event for the disciples in that Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances awaken for them a bold witness of the gifts the Spirit will bring.
The goal of this strategy of retrieval is to defeat monolithic presentations of black life and experience.
Crawford, Elaine. “Womanist Christology: Where have we come from and where are we going.” Review and Expository, 95 (1998): 367-382.
Grant, Jacqueline. “‘Come to My Help, Lord, For I’m In Trouble’: Womanist Jesus and the Mutual Struggle for Liberation.” In Reconstructing the Christ Symbol: Essays in Feminist Christology, Ed., Maryanne Stevens. New York: Paulist Press, 1993.
American Academy of Religion Academy Series, No. 64. Atlanta, Ga.: Scholars Press, 1989.
Hopkins, Dwight N, and Edward P Antonio. The Cambridge Companion to Black Theology. Cambridge Companions to Religion. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012