I’ve finally decided on a title for my thesis. And Be Not Conformed to This World: the Impact of Religious Participation on the Political Participation of Black Americans in the Non-Metropolitan South, a Case Study of Hunt County, Texas. Pretty long and wordy, but it explains exactly what the research is about.
In my studies, I consistently find information about how religion functions among black Americans to encourage political participation, both electorally and non-electorally. However, everything that I read discussed how this phenomenon occurs exclusively in the metropolitan areas, and I was interested by that. Commerce, Texas, would never be called metropolitan, yet local history shows evidence of the black churches in the historically segregated Norris community coming together to elect a black man to the City Council and later to the Mayor’s office, and also with students at the local university to address the continued mistreatment of blacks by the wider community. Thinking about the 2008 and 2012 elections, I was curious about whether these same churches provided encouragement to their congregants to participate in the presidential elections, either through the polls or through other means. As a result, I constructed a survey that is in the process of being administered to black congregants of the local black churches, and hope to publish my findings in a thesis by May 2014.