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American Prophets


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi Introduction xiii 1 Abraham Joshua Heschel, Prophet of Divine Pathos 1 2 A. J. Muste: The Redemptive Power of Nonviolent Suffering 27 3 Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker Movement: Doing the Works of Mercy 63 4 Howard Thurman: In Search of Common Ground 95 5 Thomas Merton: Contemplation in a World of Action 119 6 Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement: Religion in US Politics 141 7 "Is This America?" Fannie Lou Hamer and the Voices of Local People 163 Afterword 195 Notes 201 Index 213

About the Author

Albert J. Raboteau is the Henry W. Putnam Professor of Religion Emeritus at Princeton University. His books include Slave Religion: The "Invisible Institution" in the Antebellum South, A Fire in the Bones: Reflections on African-American Religious History, and Canaan Land: A Religious History of African Americans. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey.


"This scholarly yet accessible primer to the role of faith in the lives of American activists challenges contemporary notions of the role of religion in politics and argues that empathy is a critical first step in addressing the suffering of others."--Publishers Weekly "The subjects [of American Prophets] knew one another and participated, often shoulder-to-shoulder, in events like the great southern civil rights marches and the anti-Vietnam War demonstrations of the 1960s. As important, they wrote, spoke, and guided the movements. Let the study of them together start with these concise yet weighty appraisals."--Ray Olson, Booklist "Raboteau offers inspiring and challenging examples of embodied faith in the modern world."--Library Journal "Compelling and provocative... A momentous scholarly achievement as well as a moving testimony to the human spirit, American Prophets represents a major contribution to the history of religion in American politics. This book is essential reading for anyone who is concerned about social justice, or who wants to know what prophetic thought and action can mean in today's world."--Rabbi Dov Peretz Elkins, JewishMediaReview "A powerful text, empowering to read. I highly recommend it."--Tavis Smiley "American Prophets invites the reader closer to the kind of faith that insists on justice. At its best, the book not only extends an invitation to see how figures of faith mobilized their communities, but reminds us that the prophetic spirit is still calling us to action."--Susan Haarman, Commonweal "Written in lucid prose, Raboteau's seven luminous biographical sketches of such figures as Abraham Joshua Heschel, Martin Luther King Jr., Fannie Lou Hamer, and Thomas Merton tell a radical story... Raboteau illuminates the historical and social connections that his radicals had with one another."--Choice "A powerful book about what faith in action truly means. Its underpinning of first-rate scholarship combined with eloquent analysis will compel many different audiences."--Nancy L. Roberts, Catholic News Service

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