The 2017 Ruth Knee Lecture on Spirituality and Social Work: Forgiveness in the African American Religious Tradition

In June 2015, the murder of nine black church members in Charleston, South Carolina by a white supremacist as they attended an evening Bible study class shocked the nation. The reactions of some of the family members of the slain amazed many as they expressed forgiveness for the killer. This lecture examined the long history of forgiveness in the African-American Church tradition, stretching from slavery to the present day, to help explain their amazing act.

Albert J. Raboteau is a specialist in American religious history. His research and teaching have focused on American Catholic history, African-American religious movements, and the place of beauty in the history of Eastern and Western Christian Spirituality.

Photography by Lloyd DeGrane