Martha Simmons, Frank Thomas, and a group of distinguished homiletitians have edited the definitive anthology of Black Sermons. The book is 960 pages of information and sermons important to the Black preaching Tradition.
There are 100 sermons that include a list of preachers that read like a Hall of Fame for Black preachers. There is Richard Allen, Frederick Douglass and Jarena Lee. There is Henry McNeil Turner, James Weldon Johns and John Jasper. There is Benjamin Mays, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr. And even a few prominent media preachers are included like T. D. Jakes and Paul Morton. There are many more included.
Besides the sermons there is a significant introduction that provides the criteria for the sermon selection as well as information on the principles of the Black Preaching Tradition. The introduction also gives categories of Black Preaching. At the end of the book, you will find the most significant article on whooping available.
Finally, you don’t want to miss this significant bibliography of Black Preaching. This book is destined to become a standard work in the field of African American Preaching. Go ahead and purchase it at Amazon through our link provided.
Some have the idea that Black preaching is only for Black people. You “preach Black” when you are in front of Black people and you “preach White” while in front of our Caucasian brothers and sisters. One wonders what are you supposed to do when preaching in front of a evenly ethnically mixed congregation.
This misconception is largely based in the idea that Black Preaching is just about style. We have already discussed that myth at this link. You shout loud while in front of Black people and you keep your volume down while in front of other groups is this faulty idea.
However, this is a myth that robs Black preaching of its ability to communicate to all. As Sherman Cox notes, “Black Preaching is not about WHO will hear our preaching, but WHO is preaching.”
No we preach to “whoever is sitting in front of us,” but we come to the text with a mindset that is born in the unique experience of being the outcasts of society. That angle on the text allows the Black Preacher to speak to all who have been alienated from the dominant. We can speak to those who have been set aside because we come from a group that has been set aside. We can speak to the depths of pain that only those who have been marginalized can feel.So no, we don’t just speak to Black People, but we do make a specialty of speaking to the hurting. So if we speak to white folks, we zero in on the hurting ones. We don’t just speak to Black People, but we do make a specialty to speak to the marginalized. we don’t speak to just Black People, but we do make a specialty of speaking to those who find themselves with “their backs against the wall.”
No!! Black Preaching is simply what we do as Black Preachers. We may alter the style somewhat in different locales, but we are still obedient to the Master who calls for us to remember “the least of these” in all of our preaching and messages.
the first of these myths is that Black Preaching is primarily about preaching style. Often when one thinks about what is Black Preaching and its connection to Black Worship, they think solely about black style. They think about a “hyped up” worship experience. As Sherman Cox has pointed out in his seminars on black preaching, “when one thinks about black preaching they normally think about style.”
the great problem is that style is a small component of strong Black preaching. In fact style can hide poor preaching. Have you ever listend to a preacher who was shouting, but was shouting about nothing? Style should always be totally dependent on content. Style should always be secondary to content. If you have to choose between style and content. Choose the content. Great content preached wholeheartedly, will bring its own style.
Great preaching is not about “yelling” or other stylistic components, it is about powerfully preaching the Word of God from the perspective of those who live with their “backs against the wall.” Our first myth that makes Black preaching solely about style trivializes the tradition and encourages the people to have a weak connection to truth.