Enter most African American congregations and you are likely to see the century-old pattern of a predominantly female audience led by a male pastor. How do we explain the dedication of African American women to the church, particularly when the church's regard for women has been questioned? Following in the footsteps of Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham's pathbreaking work, Righteous Discontent, Daphne Wiggins takes a contemporary look at the religiosity of black women. Her ethgraphic work explores what is behind black women's intense loyalty to the church, bringing to the fore the voices of the female membership of black churches as few have done. Wiggins illuminates the spiritual sustenance the church provides black women, uncovers their critical assessment of the church's ministry, and interprets the consequences of their limited collective activism. Wiggins paints a vivid portrait of what lived religion is like in black women's lives today.
Daphne C. Wiggins is associate pastor and coordinator of congregational ministries at Union Baptist Church, Durham, NC. Formerly, she was Assistant Professor of Congregational Studies at Duke Divinity School.