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Black Religious Scholars Group

BRSG logo 2About the Black Religious Scholars Group (BRSG)

The guiding vision of the Black Religious Scholars Group (BRSG) is to sponsor consultations and speaking series for the edification of the liberating theology and witness of the Black Church tradition within the academy, church and wider Black community. This vision originated during a session of the Black Theology Group during the 1996 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion/Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting in New Orleans, LA.  Those in attendance realized that the discussion and work of Black religious scholars tend to be situated firmly within academic circles, causing us to lose sight of the goal of Black religion, liberation and human fulfillment in all areas of life.

We recognized that faithfulness to our call as religious scholars, preachers and community activists requires relevant theological activity that is both committed and accessible to the larger African diasporan church and society.  Our annual public forums across North America at welcoming congregations continue the process of exploring ways in which meaningful dialogue and partnership can occur between Black religious scholars and the larger Black community and its churches.  It is for this purpose that we assemble consultations that consist of panels of distinguished representatives from the church, community, theological academy and, you, the gathered audience.

We hope that these consultations and the vision they embody will continue the tradition of organizing the church and community for the spiritual empowerment, human fulfillment, and social/economic uplift of Black folk.  The BRSG is committed to facilitating these dialogues in the hope that they will contribute to the well-being and advancement of both our people and communities.

The BRSG is committed to creating dialogues that forge bonds of communication for partnership and innovation between Black peoples.  Central to our vision, is the conviction that dialogue and collaboration among scholars, churches and community activist organizations is essential for cultivating transformative debates and promoting social justice.  Each year the BRSG consultation promotes an open conversation that will be held in collaboration with Black religious scholars, clergy, and community leaders and engage directly with the general public in our host city as a precursor to the American Academy of Religion / Society of Biblical Literature (AAR / SBL) annual meeting. Since our founding over a decade ago, we have had the great privilege to recognize some of the finest scholars in Black religion such as J. Deotis Roberts, Henry and Ella Mitchell, James H. Cone, Peter Paris, Jacquelyn Grant, Katie G. Cannon, Vincent Harding, Delores S. Williams, Robert M. Franklin, Cheryl Townsend Gilkes, Gayraud S. Wilmore, Cornel West, Renita J. Weems, Walter E. Fluker, M. Shawn Copeland,Emilie Townes, Luther E. Smith, Jr., and Cheryl Kirk-Duggan, Jeremiah A Wright Jr., Michael Eric Dyson, James A. Forbes, Jr., Randall C. Bailey, Teresa Fry Brown, Kelly Brown Douglas, James H. Evans, Jr., Cheryl J. Sanders, John W. Kinney, Marsha Foster Boyd, and Lewis V. Baldwin as our annual honorees.

Contact Information:

Black Religious Scholars Group
Vanderbilt University Divinity School
411 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37240