Jesus, Jobs, and Justice






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As Bettye Collier-Thomas explains, there were female African American preachers in the nineteenth century who could pack a church or revival meeting with their inspirational Gospel sermons. At the same time, they were excluded from leadership positions. Bishops, pastors, and other leaders of African American churches and denominations recognized that women preachers were good for business. After all, females frequently accounted for a supermajority of church membership and were the most active fund raisers and organizers. The work of these women preachers and church organizers left traces in the historical record, but given the twin barriers of race and gender their contributions often went unrecognized.

In Jesus, Jobs, and Justice: African American Women and Religion, Temple University professor Bettye Collier-Thomas rescues these women – and many of their sisters in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries – from history’s slumber. Working within and outside their churches, cooperating across racial and gender lines, African American Women of faith have worked tirelessly for abolitionism, suffragism, anti-lynching legislation, civil rights, and women’s rights.

Although there are many books about the historic sweep of the Black Church, Jesus, Jobs, and Justice – in the words of reviewer M. Shawn Copeland writing in the Women’s Review of Books – “is the first [book] to comprehensively research and analyze the interplay of gender, race, and religion in the lives of African American women from the period of enslavement to the present…”

I spoke with Bettye Collier-Thomas on March 14, 2014.

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—Fred Rowland

Philadelphia’s Waterfront Wobblies

ourbigunion.jpgOn April 17, after visiting the Temple Book Club to discuss his new book Wobblies on the Waterfront: Interracial Unionism in Progressive Era Philadelphia (University of Illinois Press, 2007), author Peter Cole was interviewed by librarian Fred Rowland. In the interview, he provides a fascinating look at Progressive Era Philadelphia, an industrial dynamo of American capitalism whose busy port along the Delaware River gave rise to a successful interracial multiethnic union (IWW Local 8) that was able to overcome employer resistance to control work on the docks from about 1913 to the early 1920′s. While discussing Local 8 and its unique success in bringing together white Protestant, black, and immigrant Catholic and Jewish longshoremen, he talks about the radical Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)and their relationship to the rest of American labor, the nature of work on the docks, local labor and race relations, the effects of World War I and Bolshevik Revolution on the port of Philadelphia and the IWW, as well as lessons to be learned from Local 8′s rise and fall.  If you’re interested in Philadelphia history, you’ll like this interview.

 (MP3, 20 minutes)

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For a brief overview of the Industrial Workers of the World, go here (Temple-only).

International Medieval Bibliography Online

Temple now has access to the premier database for medievalists, The International Medieval Bibliography Online (IMB), which contains over 300,000 articles in thirty different languages. The articles come from journals, conference proceedings, essay collections, and festschriften chosen by a “worldwide network of fifty teams to ensure regular coverage of 4,500 periodicals and a total of over 5,000 miscellany volumes”. Extensive indexing–including separate indexes for subjects, people, places, repositories, and time periods–allows for precise searching. The IMB covers the period from 300 to 1500 CE and the geographic regions of Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa, making it relevant to scholars of classics, religion, philosophy, art and archaeology, history, literature, and Islamic studies. In addition to the IMB, here are some other electronic resources relevant to the study of various aspects of the Middle Ages: Encyclopedias:


–Fred Rowland

Historical Newspapers

The library is pleased to announce our new access to Proquest Historical Newspapers, encompassing complete full-text coverage of the New York Times, 1851-2003 (more recent access available through LexisNexis Academic), and the Wall Street Journal, 1889-1989 (more recent access available through Factiva). The papers are available cover to cover (including advertisements) in digital images. They are full-text searchable and searching can be limited to date ranges as well as type of article from news and editorials to editorial cartoons and photos to obituaries and marriage notices. Electronic access to these newspapers adds a range of historical news that was previously only available to us on microfilm. Students will be particularly aided by access to the New York Times of the mid-twentieth century, an era which is frequently requested by undergraduate researchers. –Derik A Badman