Political Behavior

, Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 517–537 | Cite as

Some Children See Him...: Political Participation and the Black Christ

  • Laura A. Reese
  • Ronald E. Brown
  • James David Ivers
Original Paper


This paper explores the role that membership in a politicized church and believing in a black Christ have on the political mobilization and participation of African Americans. Using data from the 1993–94 National Black Politics Study (NBPS), the authors conclude that imagining a black Christ is a radicalizing force on political participation. Hearing politicizing messages in a place of worship and believing that Christ is black appears to shift African Americans from relatively conservative or traditional forms of political participation, such as contacting officials, to more non-traditional political protest. Further, it appears that imagining a black Christ is distinct from other aspects of a racial belief system and while it has political implications, it clearly has religious roots that separate it from other racial beliefs.


Voting behavior Political participation Religion and politics 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura A. Reese
    • 1
  • Ronald E. Brown
    • 2
  • James David Ivers
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Political Science and Global Urban Studies ProgramMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  2. 2.Department of Political ScienceWayne State UniversityDetroitUSA
  3. 3.Department of Political ScienceEastern Michigan UniversityYpsilantiUSA

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