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Majority-Black Congregations Have Long Been An Important Part Of Black American Life. How Is That Evolving?




A worker with the World Central Kitchen gives a resident food at a water and food distribution drive held by College Hill Baptist Church and the World Central kitchen on March 07, 2021 in Jackson, Mississippi.
A worker with the World Central Kitchen gives a resident food at a water and food distribution drive held by College Hill Baptist Church and the World Central kitchen on March 07, 2021 in Jackson, Mississippi.
Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

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Churches and mosques have held an important role in the lives of many Black Americans, whether as sites of racial solidarity in the fight for civil rights or as spaces for community building.

But a new study out of Pew Research Center found that the relationship younger Black Americans have to religion is changing. Researchers found that while just 11% of Baby Boomers and 5% of the Silent Generation are religiously unaffiliated, 28% of Black Gen-Zers and 33% of Black Millenials are unaffiliated. The generational shift has prompted conversations about the future of Black churches. Many Black adults still feel that Black churches serve an important function in the fight for racial equality— 29% of Afircan-American adults say that Black churches have done a “great deal” (and 48% “some”) to help Black people fight for equality, which is higher than the share of respondents that credited the federal government.

Today on AirTalk, we’re learning more about the evolving relationship that many Black Americans have to their church. Do you attend a majority-Black congregation? What is your relationship like to religion, and how has it evolved? What do you hope to see for the future of Black churches? Join the conversation by commenting below or giving us a call at 866-893-5722.

Kiana Cox, research associate at Pew Research Center and lead researcher on a recent study on faith and Black Americans; she tweets @kianacoxphd

Dwight A. Radcliff Jr., academic dean for the William E. Pannell Center for African American Church Studies and assistant professor of mission, theology and culture at Fuller Theological Seminary