Segregation and Spirituality: Rediscovering American Pentecostalism’s Biracial Roots Within Binary Traditions
CitationLacy, Dennis B. 2019. Segregation and Spirituality: Rediscovering American Pentecostalism’s Biracial Roots Within Binary Traditions. Master's thesis, Harvard Extension School.
AbstractAccepted and rejected, American Pentecostalism permeates and dominates the global religious scene over the last one hundred years. What is it about this eccentric movement which arouses diametrically polarizing responses? An analysis of the movement’s inauspicious beginnings in 1906 at 312 Azusa Street, in the context of the normative racially segregated patterns of religious gatherings of Post Reconstruction American culture, reveals that Pentecostalism’s nature contains dual heritages—one European and one African. American Pentecostalism’s saga includes the inflammatory practice of race mixing and upsetting the prevailing trend of segregated church attendance. The socially progressive Pentecostal revival evoked mixed feelings of amazement and abhorrence, allure and repulsion; thereby exposing America’s desperate need for enclaves of inclusion to release the tightly wound spring of racial tension. The Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles, which ignited American Pentecostalism, transcended the binary trend of segregation by fusing European theology and African tradition together to produce a new, racially inclusive phenomenon.
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