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Breaking Through the Black and White: Expanding James Cone’s Theory of Reconciliation

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Title: Breaking Through the Black and White: Expanding James Cone’s Theory of Reconciliation
Author: Krieger, Anna
Department: Haverford College. Dept. of Religion
Type: Thesis (B.A.)
Running Time: 18417 bytes194003 bytes
Issue Date: 2008
Abstract: Cone puts forward his notion of reconciliation in his text, Black Theology and Black Power, written during the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements in the 1960s. In this text, he expresses his feeling that the black community has no voice or power in American society. He sees society as dominated by the white community. He addresses both Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X’s messages, combining them together into his own interpretation of how society should best deal with issues of race. The result is a passionate text that encourages reformation and change, performed in a way that encompasses both King’s and Malcolm X’s philosophies. He writes about working toward a peaceful society where black and white communities can live harmoniously and respectfully. Reconciliation, to Cone, is when American society reaches this harmonious state. In this state of reconciliation, the black community can have a voice, and a recognized, respected identity. Once the black community achieves this respected identity, its role as that of the oppressed group no longer exists. When the oppressed group finds its strength, and is no longer oppressed, the oppressor has no role. Thus, ideally, if Cone’s theory works, oppression as a whole would no longer have a place in American society. I discuss Cone’s theory in full, and the way in which he views reconciliation. In the second section, I bring in another one of his texts, God of the Oppressed, along with the perspective of his student Dwight Hopkins, to provide further evidence and support for his first text. In the third section, I use the perspectives of James Deotis Roberts, Delores Williams, and Victor Anderson—other black liberation theologians—in order to expand his theory and make it applicable to current American society.
Subject: Cone, James H. Black theology and Black power
Subject: Race relations -- Religious aspects -- Christianity
Subject: Reconciliation
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Krieger, Anna. "Breaking Through the Black and White: Expanding James Cone’s Theory of Reconciliation". 2008. Available electronically from

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