Born Again Black: Tracing Diaspora and Nation through the Diasporic A.M.E. Church
As the first legally recognized African American institution in the United States, the AME Church (est. 1816) has historically symbolized black liberation and self-determination for African Americans and African descendants throughout the world. Yet, in today's global context, where events like the 2015 Charleston Emmanuel AME Church shooting and the Black Lives Matters movement reverberate across nations, the historical "black church" is a microcosm of racial solidarity and diasporic friction. In this presentation, Dr. Davidson analyzes the AME Church as a diasporic institution that has both inspired and offended non-American sensibilities. Focusing on the Caribbean, Dr. Davidson argues that Afro-Caribbean AME leaders have developed a unique understanding of race and the African diaspora that not only stands in opposition to local and global vestiges of white supremacy but also to U.S. African American cultural imperialism.
Dr. Christina C. Davidson is a historian of the Caribbean and African diaspora and an Instructor in the History Department at Duke University. Her research centers on religion and racial formation in the circum-Caribbean, and she is currently working on a book manuscript tentatively entitled, "Converting Spanish Hispaniola: Race, Religion, and U.S. Diplomacy in Santo Domingo, 1880-1899."