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The Black Social Gospel Tradition and the “Spiritual Left.”

In accordance with the theme for AAR 2021, “Religion, Poverty, and Inequality: Contemplating Our Collective Futures,” we invite papers that examine theologies and ideologies that resist social inequalities and re-imagine different worlds and other futures. To achieve this goal, we seek proposals that place King in dialogue with a Black Social Gospel tradition and the rise of the spiritual left. The most recent Georgia senatorial race, for example, put on display a Black Social Gospel theology as performed in the ministry and politics of Rev. Raphael Warnock, who pastors a church once led by King. Issues such as universal healthcare, worker’s rights, political disenfranchisement, and equal education standards, are deemed as “radical” by the so-called “Christian right.” We invite papers to consider the “radical” and the “extreme” in the thought of Martin Luther King, Jr. How might reading King in the Black Social Gospel tradition and the spiritual left lend insight into a theology that imagines our collective future? We invite papers to reflect creatively on this theme and take up a host of issues that shed light on new ways of reading the Black Social Gospel and the spiritual left.


Jawanza Eric Clark, jawanza.clark@manhattan.edu

Nichole Flores, nichole.flores@virginia.edu

Hak Joon Lee, hjlee@fuller.edu

Leonard McKinnis, leonardm@illinois.edu

Frederick Simmons, frederick.v.simmons@gmail.com

Eboni Marshall Turman, eboni.marshallturman@yale.edu