Reverend Albert Cleage Jr. and the Black Prophetic Tradition: A Reintroduction of The Black Messiah considers how Albert Cleage Jr., in his groundbreaking book of sermons, The Black Messiah (1969), reconfigures the rules of the game as it relates to Christianity and the social political realities of Black people in Detroit and across the country. Taking a rhetorical approach, this book explores how and what The Black Messiah (1969) has contributed to the broader scope of Black Liberation Theology and Black religious rhetoric. Scholars of rhetoric, communication, religious studies, and African American history will find this book particularly useful.
Earle Fisher is senior pastor of Abyssinian Baptist Church and adjunct instructor of religion, communication, and African American studies at several local colleges and universities.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: What The Black Messiah Offers Religious and Rhetorical Studies
Chapter 3: A General Rhetorical Assessment of The Black Messiah
Chapter 4: Albert Cleage’s Epistle to Stokely (A Close Reading)
Chapter 5: Brother Malcolm, Dr. King, and Black Power
Chapter 6: Conclusions
About the Author
"This book is not only an important and long-overdue study of the rhetoric of the Reverend Albert Cleage, but it also develops a robust analytical framework that avoids the limitations of the Eurocentrism that has informed much previous scholarship on prophetic rhetoric. Dr. Fisher’s dexterous close readings reveal the subtlety and power of Cleage’s sermons, while also amplifying the potential of these sermons to both describe and disrupt the intersections of rhetoric, race, and religion. The Reverend Cleage speaks through Dr. Fisher’s skillful analyses in a way that surely will, and surely should, engage a new generation of scholars. This is an eloquent, excellent book."
The Reverend Albert Cleage Jr. and The Black Prophetic Tradition, is a valuable contribution to deepening our historical understanding of black theology and reaffirming Cleage within the canon of black
"The Reverend Earle Fisher, Ph.D. has provided us with a feast of historical, theological, rhetorical, and prophetic proportions in his delving into the life, ministry, and times of the Rev. Albert Cleage, Jr. (Jaramogi Abebe Agyeman). Dr. Fisher's deep dive into Rev. Cleage's role in the black prophetic tradition as he preached and lived it out in Detroit in the late 1960s comes to us with compelling evidence and engaging writing. Even the pieces that I already knew leapt from the pages with fresh insight and nuance. Every historian, rhetorician, theologian, and homiletician needs this book. Indeed, everyone interested in the freedom enterprise for black peoples should read it. I hope they will."
Fisher provides a close study of the rhetoric of Reverend Albert Cleage Jr. (1911–2000), a Black Nationalist Christian minister who played an important role in the Civil Rights Movement. Fisher reintroduces The Black Messiah (1968), Cleage’s pivotal and controversial work, and examines Cleage’s rhetoric for fresh insights into race and public discourse. Fisher’s close reads reveal not only the content of Cleage’s rhetoric but also the impact. Fisher engages the relationships between Black Power and Black Libertarian Theology and posits that Cleage is a prophet. In this volume Fisher gives new relevance to Cleage’s powerful rhetoric. This is a must-read for scholars of religious rhetoric, especially those interested in the Black prophetic tradition. Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty.