About the Crossroads Project

The Crossroads Project responds to challenges that call for deeper public understanding of and scholarly engagement with Black religious histories and cultures. Facing racial inequities shaping the impact of COVID-19 on Black people, religious communities and leaders have responded, adapting spiritual and material resources to the pandemic. Black religious leaders are articulating moral grounds for social change amidst intensified racial and economic justice activism, and elected officials routinely turn to Black clergy as representatives of “the African American community.” The project emphasizes the diverse landscape of Black religions, reflecting the voices and leadership of those not featured in traditional accounts. Surveys show that African Americans have a consistently high degree of religious participation, even as the number of religiously affiliated Americans declines. In the contemporary context, urgency about the importance of a robust understanding of the complexity of religion in African American history and life animates our work in this project.

The project aims to create opportunities for scholarly collaboration, provide support for graduate students and early-career faculty in the field, and produce resources for public engagement of the history, theology, politics, and cultures of Black religions. It will engage a geography beyond the US, recognizing the historical and contemporary impact of African American religious connections to Africa and the Americas and the influence of immigration from the Caribbean and Africa on religious life in the United States.

Press Releases:

"Judith Weisenfeld brings CSR $1 million grant from Henry Luce Foundation," Center for the Study of Religion, May 4, 2021

"The Crossroads Project: $1 Million Henry Luce Foundation Grant," Penn Almanac, February 9, 2021