Movements, Motions, Moments

USD $16.95



ISBN: 978-1-913875-19-0

88 pages

180 × 180 mm (7 ⅛ × 7 ⅛ in)

70 colour and b&w photographs

In association with the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

January 2023


The eighth volume in the Double Exposure series draws upon the visual images in NMAAHC’s collection to explore the dynamic ways religion is engaged and practiced by African Americans.

These Photographs of Spirituality in America Will Speak to Your Soul

Praise for previous volumes in the Double Exposure series:

“Compelling and historic.”—Maurice Berger, The New York Times

“Some of the most definitive photographs that chronicle the black American experience.”—Nicole Crowder, The Washington Post

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Movements, Motions, Moments shows how African Americans have negotiated their participation and engagement in religious spaces. The book is divided into three sections—Movements, Motions, and Moments. Images of figures including Rev. Henry Highland Garnett, Noble Drew Ali, Father Divine, Prophet Elijah Muhammad, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rev. Pauli Murray, Bishop Myokei Cain-Barrett, and others are depicted next to photographs of religious celebrations, ritual practices, and individual moments of faith and spirituality. Photographers include Lola Flash, Chester Higgins, Jason Miccolo Johnson, Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, Kenneth Royster, James Van Der Zee, Milton Williams, Lloyd W. Yearwood, and others.

Photographs in this volume range from the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries and include religious traditions such as Christianity, Islam, Judaism, African indigenous, non-secular, and other religious traditions (Humanism, Atheism, Spiritualism, and others). It also includes photography capturing contemporary events and movements including Black Lives Matter and the global pandemic.

This volume includes two compelling essays that focus on the Museum’s photographs to examine African American religion and spirituality across nearly two centuries. More than 65 photographs are contextualized around three themes: “Movements,” which features the vast complex of religious organizations and traditions reflected within the African American experience; “Motions,” which highlights images that capture physical movement in sacred rituals and practices; and “Moments,” which captures the cycles, seasons, and celebrations observed within Black religious traditions.

Judith Weisenfeld and Eric L. Williams
Contributions by Melanee Harvey, Anthony Pinn and Teddy Reeves
Edited by Michèle Gates Moresi and Laura Coyle
Foreword by Kevin Young

Double Exposure is a dynamic series based on the notable photography collection supporting the Earl W. and Amanda Stafford Center for African American Media Arts at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC).

Author biographies

Judith Weisenfeld PhD is Agate Brown and George L. Collord Professor of Religion, Princeton University
Eric Lewis Williams PhD is curator of religion, NMAAHC
Melanee C. Harvey PhD is assistant professor of art history, Howard University
Anthony B. Pinn PhD is Agnes Cullen Arnold Distinguished Professor of Humanities, Rice University
Teddy Reeves PhD is curator of religion, NMAAHC

Table of contents

  • Foreword by Kevin Young, Andrew W. Mellon Director, Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
  • Through a Glass Darkly by Eric L. Williams
  • The Presence of Power and the Power of Presence by Judith Weisenfeld
  • Introduction to Movements section by Anthony Pinn
  • Introduction to Motions section by Melanee Harvey
  • Introduction to Moments section by Teddy Reeves
  • Index