For God and Race: The Religious and Political Leadership of AMEZ Bishop James Walker Hood. By Sandy Dwayne Martin. University of South Carolina Press, 1999. 256pp. Cloth $39.95.

This religious and political biography of James Walker Hood of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church will be useful to readers interested in African-American religion in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, questions of religion and politics in America, and southern religion. Martin’s aim in this first ever biography of Hood is to recuperate him as one of the key figures in the development of the AMEZ Church (a denomination too often neglected in histories of African-American religion) and he indeed succeeds at this. The book also works to place Hood’s work in Reconstruction-era politics in North Carolina firmly in the context of his sense of himself as a Christian. In this way, Martin provides a useful case study for understanding the particular ways in which African-American Christians have understood the relationship between the political, social, economic, and religious. It is Martin’s hope that his preliminary study of Hood’s career will motivate others to follow him in devoting attention to this important figure in black church history.

Judith Weisenfeld, Yale University

homeReturn to the American Religious Experience Main Page