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This Far by Faith [Paperback]

Juan / Dixie Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 9.65 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

1 Dec 2003
A companion to the PBS series, "This Far by Faith" isthe story of how religious faith inspired the greatest social movementin American history -- the U.S. Civil Rights movement. Hailed upon publication as a beautiful, seminal book on the role of the church in the African American community as well as on the social history of America, "This Far by Faith" reveals the deep religious conviction that empowered a people viewed as powerless to blaze a path to freedom and deliverance, to stand and be counted in this one nation under God. Here are the stories of politics, tent revivals, and the importance of black churches as touchstones for every step of the faith journey that became the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Using archival and contemporary photography, historical research, and modern-day interviews, "This Far by Faith" features messages from some of today's foremost religious leaders.

Product details

  • Paperback: 326 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (1 Dec 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060934247
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060934248
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 18.5 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,288,345 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Charleston, South Carolina, today is a coastal city best known for its colonial past. Read the first page
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5.0 out of 5 stars The long, hard road 1 Jun 2005
By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME
Format:Hardcover
`This Far By Faith', a book that is companion to a PBS television series of the same name, is by Juan Williams and Quinton Dixie, but is in reality a series of narratives in which the authors strive as much as is possible to let the characters themselves tell their stories, for these characters were and are real-life figures, some larger than life, and others virtually unknown to the general public. The authors begin by setting the stage, showing in general historical terms the progress of black population growth in the Western hemisphere, and the differing ideas about the numbers; they take a middle-number approach, but concede (both in the essay as well as in the general format of the book) that the numbers approach is not all that helpful or useful toward true understanding of African American faith experience.
In comparing the experience to other recent struggles for liberation, the authors see a key difference. `Unlike the pope or the bishops, who built their struggle with the help of an established church, the African American freedom struggle began outside any organized religion. As slaves, black Americans were stripped away from organized worship. They came to God not through the church but through faith.' There was no institutional help for African Americans throughout much of their struggle for freedom; even churches that at one time might have been accommodating and supportive on moral and philosophical grounds gave way to separatist and class-oriented views, if not (as was most often the case) outright racial discrimination.
`Black people could have turned against the white Christian church, but instead they separated the message of Christian love from people who had no love for them.
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Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book to learn the history of faith by African Americans 4 Mar 2003
By Smootchez - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
In "This Far By Faith" Juan Williams and Quinton Dixie illustrate the chronological progression and variations of faith practiced by African Americans from the Middle Passage voyage to the 21st century. The authors wonderfully explain various religions in a non-bias manner. The term "cult" is never used to describe less popular or extreme faiths. Every practiced faith is given equal validation for its worth.
"This Far By Faith" focuses on how blacks have used faith to overcome hardship and become triumphant. The most compelling aspect of the book is the leaders and their supporters. Repeatedly throughout history, religious leaders have used faith to promote unity, separatism, prosperity, education, nationalism, equality, humanity, etc among their followers and in attempts to sway others toward the truth.
"This Far By Faith" Timeline:
Religious tribal practices
Slave masters reinforcing slavery through Christianity
Slaves acclimating to Christianity then forming black Protestant churches, e.g. AME, so blacks would not be subservient worshippers in the house of God
The role that education played in further developing the black church. The over-emphasis placed on the education lead to the founding of COGIC
The start and end to several short-lived Christian-based followings.
As people began to migrate north, new religious figures with (believed) ties to Africa began to emerge. The rise of the Moors and Muslims caused many blacks to rethink how Christianity was introduced to them during Slavery
The birth and rise of the Nation of Islam
The role that black churches and the Nation of Islam played during the civil rights movement.
The movement or freedom for blacks to practice "alternative" religions such as Hinduism or Buddhism
Modern day black church impact on today's 18 - 34 year old worshippers.
How the recent surfacing of the 5 percenters aim to explain the state of people in society and faith
The progression is explored through short stories (each chapter ~25 pages). Within the chapter there are gray page stories or inserts to offset specific events, biographies and less familiar religions. At times these mini stories were disruptive to the chapters because they either spanned too many pages or didn't clearly relate to the chapter.
Each chapter shows how individuals truly wanted faith to promote social unity and growth within their own community. The positive intentions to bring people closer to God or Allah and make their secular life better resulted in further division among people. The history of faith and social division are illustrated through the stories explaining why society will never have one agreed upon religion and why there will always be racial division among the same denomination within each denomination.
My only complaint about "This Far By Faith" is how the timeline is rushed or less researched after the height of the Civil Rights movement. The authors provide extensive detail (maybe too much) on the Nation of Islam, black churches, and specific activists during this era but no detail is given to either faith's role in shaping the community or its followers in the `70s and beyond. Black people's faith in God or Allah did not stop with the Civil Rights movement! Subsequent chapters briefly discuss other religions and excessively discuss Kirk Franklin's role in promoting faith among young adults. The authors introduce the reader to the 5 percenters but fall short on clearly identifying the appearance in society - maybe their existence is too short.
Overall, good book to easily understand and learn the history of the various faiths practiced among African Americans.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Power of Faith 16 April 2003
By The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
If you have ever wondered how people who lived during slavery survived, THIS FAR BY FAITH is the book you need to read. It is about how religious faith inspired one of the greatest movements in American history, the U.S. Civil Rights movement. With stories told regarding politics, tent revivals and ministers leading rebellions against slavery, you see how in the most trying of times the faith in God and church can prevail. There are numerous pictures of some of our most prominent black leaders, some you know and some you may not know. There are also pictures of sit-ins, voting, lynching and blacks attending church. We learn of William J. Seymour who started the American Pentecostal movement, Charles Price Jones who founded the Church of God in Christ (Holiness) and Charles H. Mason who started the Church of God in Christ, among many other ministers and political leaders.
THIS FAR BY FAITH is an indepth book about African American History. In this day and age you can't really imagine being in slavery or being told where you can sit, eat or drink. You realize how strong we are as a people to overcome and endure such demeaning treatment. And how our faith in God pulled us through then, and can pull us through now. This is a MUST HAVE for every African American household.
Reviewed by Eraina B. Tinnin
of The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Juan Williams brings his topic to life...as usual 28 Feb 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Learning more about the depth of religious experience in America was a pleasure. I recommend this book both for the perhaps obvious reason--the history of the African-American Church in the United States--but even more for the history of non-Christian religious life which is growing and thriving yet probably is less understood. I await with anticipation William's next project, whatever that chances to be.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The long, hard road 30 May 2005
By FrKurt Messick - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
`This Far By Faith', a book that is companion to a PBS television series of the same name, is by Juan Williams and Quinton Dixie, but is in reality a series of narratives in which the authors strive as much as is possible to let the characters themselves tell their stories, for these characters were and are real-life figures, some larger than life, and others virtually unknown to the general public. The authors begin by setting the stage, showing in general historical terms the progress of black population growth in the Western hemisphere, and the differing ideas about the numbers; they take a middle-number approach, but concede (both in the essay as well as in the general format of the book) that the numbers approach is not all that helpful or useful toward true understanding of African American faith experience.

In comparing the experience to other recent struggles for liberation, the authors see a key difference. `Unlike the pope or the bishops, who built their struggle with the help of an established church, the African American freedom struggle began outside any organized religion. As slaves, black Americans were stripped away from organized worship. They came to God not through the church but through faith.' There was no institutional help for African Americans throughout much of their struggle for freedom; even churches that at one time might have been accommodating and supportive on moral and philosophical grounds gave way to separatist and class-oriented views, if not (as was most often the case) outright racial discrimination.

`Black people could have turned against the white Christian church, but instead they separated the message of Christian love from people who had no love for them.' One of the things that Abdul Rahman would comment upon with regard to Christianity is that the religion itself is worthwhile, but that it is remarkable how few people seemed to practice it.

The early chapters each focus on a particular individual - Denmark Vesey in Charleston, South Carolina; Abdul Rahman, in his Africa-to-America-and-back-again journey; Isabelle, who would later become Sojourner Truth. The later chapters draw on wider experiences, as more people became involved and the histories are better preserved, culminating with the post-World War II to the 1960s era of Civil Rights struggle. There is a bit more material after this on more recent events and people, but this is the focal point of the book.

Particularly when the narrative stays close to the individuals highlighted, the authors do a good job at showing both religion and faith matters as distinct but related. They also show the struggles that slaves might have with regard to their own religious traditions - Abdul Rahman is a case in point here, as an African Muslim who maintained his faith even while living and raising a family in a Christian-dominated plantation environment. Christianity is the dominant faith tradition throughout the text, as it is throughout the African American experience, but it is not the only one with strong roots. Some later issues of religion (the different varieties of Christian, Islamic, and otherwise religious experience continues to grow) do not necessarily have the same kind of cultural or institutional support, but nonetheless share connections with an overall historical trajectory that sees faith matters as being of vital importance for both individuals and communities.

Throughout the chapters' narrative structure, there are side-bar boxes that highlight items of special interest - they might focus on particular people contemporary with the central figure; they might explore a particular event or institution. Within the sidebar boxes, one will find the five pillars of Islam explained, a brief history of Operation Breadbasket, excerpts from David Walker's `Appeal', and biographies of people such as Rebecca Cox Jackson and Richard Henry Boyd.

The text is inviting and compelling - this is the kind of book whose stories keep one interested, even when the outcome is known. The success and the failure at various times in history make for a tempestuous and controversial tale; much like portions of the bible itself, in this book there is hope and heartache, sorrow and success.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 3 July 2014
By Meisha M Edwards - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Good Book.
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