Race & American Christianity

George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and now Rayshard Brooks. The senseless killings of these and countless other black people have drawn our attention once again to stark disparities in American culture and have created a “kairos moment”—a moment when glaring disparities in American culture due to racism have our attention.

In response to this moment, you have the opportunity to learn from Rev. Julian Cook in an online course on Race and American Christianity.

  • When: This 8-week course will in spring 2021
  • Cost: There are three options:
    • For Credit: $392/credit-hour
    • Audit: $150/course (access to class discussion and supplemental materials)
    • Webinar: Free. Access to live-sessions

What Will I learn?

Explore the complex role of American Protestant Christianity in the construction of historic and contemporary notions of race and U.S. systems of racial hierarchy. 

You will be encouraged and equipped to critically reflect on and interrogate the role of race and faith in the formation of your values, spiritual practices, lifeworlds, churches and local communities.  Special attention will be given to topics such as: anti-black violence, mass incarceration, whiteness studies, Black feminist resources in anti-racist activism, reparations and racial reconciliation.

  • Critically conceptualize and clearly articulate the significant nuanced connections of American Protestant Christianity to historic and contemporary U.S. constructions of race and racial caste.
  • Assemble a robust framework and vocabulary that connects theories about race, racism, white supremacy, theology, resistance and anti-racism to justice-seeking liberatory movements and praxes for social transformation.
  • Construct your own anti-racist vision and method for doing antiracist, justice-seeking work in your specific context (i.e. local church, community organization, office, home, classroom, etc.).

Meet the Professor

A native of Chicago’s South Side, The Reverend Julian Armand Cook ’13 is an ordained Baptist clergyman, sought-after speaker, writer, educator and public thinker. Cook serves as the Director of the Houghton College East Side program in Buffalo, NY – an Associate of Arts degree program providing underserved students a low-cost, high-quality college education that promotes the intellectual, moral and spiritual development of a cadre of emerging leaders who are academically excellent and spiritually rooted, locally connected and globally minded, socially aware and courageously creative. In addition to serving as the proud Senior Pastor of Buffalo’s historic Macedonia Baptist Church, he is also a Ph.D. student in Religion and Social Ethics at Drew University.

Julian Cook

Course Cost

$392/credit-hour for Credit
Take this course for 3 hours of undergraduate college credit
$150 for Audit
Not graded. Access to online discussion forum and supplemental resources
Houghton College is offering this course free for anyone to join via webinar


Excerpts from the following books will be made available to you and discussed throughout the course. You are welcome and encouraged to support these authors and go deeper in your understanding by purchasing some or all of these titles.

  • Cone, James H. The Cross and the Lynching Tree. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2011.
  • DiAngelo, Robin J. White Fragility: Why It's so Hard for White People to Talk about Racism. London: Allen Lane, an imprint of Penguin Books, 2019.
  • Douglas, Kelly Brown. Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God. Maryknoll: Orbis, 2015.
  • Harvey, J. Whiteness and Morality: Pursuing Racial Justice through Reparations and Sovereignty. New York and London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.
  • Jennings, Willie James. The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2011.
  • Kendi, Ibram X. Stamped from the Beginning: the Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America. New York, NY: Bold Type Books, 2017.
  • Lloyd, Vincent W., and Andrew L. Prevot. Anti-Blackness and Christian Ethics. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2017.
  • Taylor, Mark L. The Executed God: the Way of the Cross in Lockdown America. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2015.
  • Townes, Emilie Maureen. Womanist Ethics and the Cultural Production of Evil. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.
  • Williams, Reggie L. Bonhoeffer's Black Jesus: Harlem Renaissance Theology and an Ethic of Resistance. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2014.