“All We Had Was God and Each Other”: How the Transformational Leadership of Black Clergywomen Disrupts Male Dominance and Patriarchal Normativity in the Black Church

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2022

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Abstract

Despite the significant contributions made by African American women since the Black Church's founding, titles like pastor, bishop, and reverend for centuries have been freely awarded to men while being restricted to women. The leadership of black clergywomen in these roles traditionally held by men helps to challenge the stereotypes of what it means to be a leader. Black clergywomen's contributions to religious institutions like the Black Church are frequently only remembered through the prism of deconstruction. In an effort to not only deconstruct but also reconstruct the church into a more equitable organization, this study explores how the ministries of black clergywomen from the early 19th to the late 20th century undermine male domination and patriarchal normativity within Christianity. Using memoirs, interviews, sermons, and lectures, assumes that black clergywomen's transformative leadership is disruptive epistemologically, politically, and anthropologically. This study will demonstrate how different leadership avenues were altered or established as a result of the experiences of these African American preaching women by evaluating their lives and ministerial work. This essay intends to demonstrate how black clergywomen's ministries challenge orthodox beliefs, rituals, and theologies, opening up new avenues of leadership for themselves and others.

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Jennings, Kaiya M (2022). “All We Had Was God and Each Other”: How the Transformational Leadership of Black Clergywomen Disrupts Male Dominance and Patriarchal Normativity in the Black Church. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/25624.

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