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Saved and Sanctified

During the early 20th century, millions of southern blacks moved north to escape the violent racism of the Jim Crow South and to find employment in urban centers. They transplanted not only themselves but also their culture; in the midst of this tumultuous demographic transition emerged a new social institution, the storefront sanctified church.

Deidre Crumbley, associate professor of Africana Studies at NC State University, has written Saved and Sanctified: The Rise of a Storefront Church in Great Migration Philadelphia” (2012, University Press of Florida) “to illuminates the crucial role particular churches played in the spiritual life of the African American community during and after the Great Migration.”

The book focuses on a Philadelphia church that was started above a horse stable, was founded by a woman born 16 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, and is still active today. “The Church,” as it is known to its members, offers a unique perspective on an under-studied aspect of African American religious institutions.

Through historical and ethnographic research, Crumbley  provides a perspective on women and their leadership roles, examines the loose or nonexistent relationship these Pentecostal churches have with existing denominations, and dispels common prejudices about those who attend storefront churches. She includes personal vignettes from her own experience as a member, along with life stories of founding members and offers new insights into the importance of grassroots religion and community-based houses of worship.

Africana Studies is part of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Studies Program.