In the Land of Milk and Honey: Democratic Religion and the Forging of Black Resistance in Los Angeles, 1903-1953


ACLS Fellowship Program




“In the Land of Milk and Honey” examines the institutional, political and cultural significance of Black religion in the making of Black communities in Los Angeles. This project traces formulations of a new political order that emerged in Los Angeles through People’s Independent Church of Christ (PIC), a Black religious institution that served as a welcome center to thousands of Black migrants who relocated to Los Angeles during the twentieth century. Through a cultural reading of the church’s archive, the project uncovers how Black religious worlds intersected with and transformed politics, art, economics, and democracy in ways that have been lost to history. Black western migrants cultivated an alternative religious system that captured the imagination of Black Angelenos who wanted to make their politics and presence in the city of Angels count. The study reveals that the future of the American city was not only shaped by race but by the social force of Black religion.