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African Americans & Religious Freedom: New Perspectives for Congregations & Communities

The Freedom Forum presents the book launch of "African Americans & Religious Freedom: New Perspectives for Congregations & Communities."

Since 2018, the Religious Freedom Center has partnered with Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University to explore the complex politics of race, religion and religious freedom in America.

This project, supported by all six Historically Black Theological Institutions and nonprofit organizations, led to development of an academic course and public programs that raised the visibility of religious freedom through the lens of African American experiences.

Here we highlight the successes and lessons learned over the past three years of the Luce-funded project, “Religious Freedom: African American Perspectives.” Hear from the academic partners, students and contributing scholars of the new book resource.


Opening Remarks by the Honorable Suzan Johnson Cook, third U.S. ambassador-at-large for International Religious Freedom


  • Rahmah Abdulaleem, Esq., executive director, KARAMAH: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights
  • Rev. William H. Lamar IV, pastor, Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church
  • Charles Watson Jr., director of Education, Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty (BJC)
  • Teresa L. Smallwood, Ph.D., associate director, Public Theology and Racial Justice Collaborative
  • Dr. Corey D.B. Walker, Wake Forest Professor of the Humanities and Freedom Forum Senior Fellow (moderator)


  • Itihari Toure, Ed.D., director, Sankofa Center at Interdenominational Theological Center
  • Rev. Faith Harris, D.Min., director, Center for Faith, Leadership & Public Life at STVU
  • Jamar Boyd II, M.Div., Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology graduate and REL 700 – January 2020 cohort
  • Keisha Patrick, Esq., Howard University School of Divinity graduate and REL 700 – January 2019 cohort
  • Rev. Leslye Dwight, M.Div., Payne Theological Seminary graduate and REL 700 – January 2019 cohort
  • Sabrina E. Dent, D.Min., project director, Religious Freedom: African American Perspectives and fellow, Religious Freedom Center (moderator)

Recorded Jan. 12, 2021.

This program was made possible by the Henry Luce Foundation.

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