Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology): Black Culture, Aesthetics, and the Search for a 'Green' Community
Gray, Tyson-Lord Justice
Historically religion has been a powerful agent of social justice and activism within black communities. It has also been a means of organization and agency for countless blacks in areas of politics and education. However, a leading concern within the black community often overlooked by black religious organizations is environmental injustice. This dissertation argues that this is problematic considering that many blacks are disproportionately affected by environmental risks and ecological harms, both domestically as well throughout the globalized south. This is evidenced in studies by Robert Bullard and Benjamin Chavis detailing incidents of environmental racism and environmental injustice. Additional studies have also indicated that communities of color bear a higher burden of adverse health impacts from climate change than whites who often possess adequate resources for adaptation. This dissertation, therefore, contends that black religion, i.e. preaching, worship, music and dance, at its best can bring rich institutional resources for advancing environmental awareness and mobilizing activism within black communities.