Divine Rage: Malcolm X's Challenge to Christians
By: Marjorie Corbman
"Marjorie Corbman makes an outstanding contribution to the study of Malcolm X's political and theological legacy. No other book traces Malcolm's impact on the development of the Black Power movement and the emergence of Black Theology quite like Divine Rage. It is a must read for students of twentieth century African-American religious thought!"--Mark L. Chapman, Associate Professor, African and African-American Studies, Fordham University.
"Historically rigorous and interdisciplinary in its approach, Divine Rage, illuminates the ongoing challenge of Malcolm X's legacy to Christianity in the U.S., the call for an end to the idolatry of whiteness and its ritualistic practice of anti-Black violence. By critically reading the heirs of Malcolm X's legacy, Corbman convincingly reveals that the fulfillment of Malcolm X's legacy is not limited to political liberation but also the hard fought spiritual experience of Black joy."--Rufus Burnett, Jr., Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology, Fordham University.
Malcolm X asked: did Christianity have nothing more to offer Black Americans than spiritual “novocaine,” enabling them to suffer peacefully? He gave voice to the frustration many Black Americans felt over the expectation that, unlike white Americans, Black people were expected to respond to violence with “superhuman” calm and forgiveness.
Malcolm’s apocalyptic vision—in which the world’s oppressed would join together to make God’s righteous judgment on racism, colonialism, and all forms of slavery—galvanized, outraged, and troubled many. Divine Rage shows how Christian activists and theologians wrestled with it, including Rev. Albert B. Cleage, Jr., a Congregationalist minister who based his community, the Shrine of the Black Madonna, on Malcolm’s message; a young scholar, James Cone, inspired to develop a Christian theology of Black Power; Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons, a Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) leader who embraced Islam and pushed SNCC to espouse a more radical Black consciousness; Thomas Merton, a Catholic monk and public figure who struggled with his relationship to Catholic peace activists and the Black Power movement; and Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, queer activists of color who moved fluidly between the revolutionary language of Black Power and a religious practice grounded in the saints.
Marjorie Corbman is an educator and scholar working as an academic director at Mansfield Hall, a residential living-learning community for neurodivergent college students in Burlington, VT. Alumna of the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London (MA) and Fordham University (PhD), Corbman was assistant professor in the department of theology and religious studies at Molloy College from 2020 to 2022.