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

JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI - MARCH 07: 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. Residents in parts of Jackson, Mississippi, where 80% of the residents are Black, have been without running water since mid-February after the city was hit by back-to-back winter storms. The storms damaged the city’s already crumbling infrastructure and left residents without access to running water. A citywide boil notice remains in effect since February 14, when Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves and Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hosemann declared a state of emergency. During a press conference on Friday,  Charles Williams, Public Works director in Jackson, stated that only about 5,000 residents do not have water service but thousands are still under a boil water advisory. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images
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.

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.

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 studyout 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 studyon faith and Black Americans; she tweets

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

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