The Baha’i Faith and African American Studies: Perspectives on Racial Justice provides readers who may already have basic or even advanced familiarity with the struggle for racial justice in the United States with new material from a less well-known angle: that of members of the Baha’i Faith, for whom the pursuit of racial justice, healing, and harmony are central to their religious expression. Inside these pages, readers will find history, social scientific analysis, and personal memoir showcasing Black Baha’is as well as Baha’is from diverse backgrounds who are working to address America’s “most challenging issue.”
Loni Bramson teaches at Clark College.
Layli Maparyan is the Katherine Stone Kaufmann ’67 executive director of the Wellesley Centers for Women and chair of Africana studies at Wellesley College.
List of Figures
Introduction by Layli Maparyan
Chapter 1: The Spread of the Bahá’í Faith among African Americans, 1898-1925 by Richard Hollinger
Chapter 2: Reconsidering the Civil Rights Era by June Thomas
Chapter 3: How the Bahá’í Teachings on Racial Unity Influenced My Academic Focus on Race Relations in the United States by Richard W. Thomas
Chapter 4: The Ruhi Training Institute Program: One Method for Creating Racial Harmony by Loni Bramson
Chapter 5: Bahá’í Efforts to Transform Society: Using FACT Data to Measure Race Unity Activity by Michael McMullen
Chapter 6: Anti-Black Racism: A Bahá’í Response by Gwen Etter-Lewis
Conclusion by Layli Maparyan
About the Contributors
This inter-disciplinary, genre-bending collection offers an indispensable introduction to the Bahá’í Faith and its multi-varied approaches to racial justice and African American Studies. Spanning the course of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, this volume’s contributors have situated Baháʼí community action within the heart of the Black freedom struggle—from the Civil Rights Movement to the Movement for Black Lives. For those currently grappling with the age-old question of “what is to be done?” this volume examines a series of possibilities from a religious community committed to doing what it can in a world that desperately needs to transform.