Black is my home country: re-membering race on gospel grounds
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Citation (published version)Theodore Hickman-Maynard. "Black is my Home Country: Re-Membering Race on Gospel Grounds." Ecclesial Practices, v. 5, Issue 1. https://doi.org/10.1163/22144471-00501002
This essay presents partial findings from a study of historically black collegiate gospel choirs (HBCGCs) at predominantly white universities in northeastern United States. HBCGCs utilize the worship practices of the Black Church as resources for cultivating black communal racial identity in the context of racial difference. I theorize that HBCGCs practice a ‘narrative discipline’ that grounds their communal life together in corporate engagement with the faith stories that inspire their music. I interpret this practice in light of Walter Fluker’s proposal for reforming black ecclesiology. Fluker advances the reclamation of black identity as an existential ‘home,’ which avoids both the essentializing postures of ontological blackness and the equally dangerous narrative of post-racialism through the practice of ‘re-membering’ stories of black experience. I argue that the creative practice of narrative discipline by HBCGCs provides practical shape to Fluker’s ecclesiological hope.