Book Review: The Black Humanist Experience

Title: The Black Humanist Experience
Edited by: Norm R. Allen Jr., 167 pages
Reviewed by: Marcus Dunavan

If you were to sit down in a bar filled with more than 20 different Black humanist men and women and ask each one of them to tell you their life story, this book might be the result. The authors candidly relate their experiences with religion and how they have come to the humanist perspective.
For many around the globe, religion is a backdrop that influences every part life. This is even truer for many people of African descent who have had to struggle with being atheists and freethinkers in a world of theists.
Although they are a diverse crowd, each author has their own piece of wisdom to share. Some are just starting down the path of humanism, while others have been free from religion their entire lives. Some have come to be humanists by embracing reason and becoming convinced that there can be no gods while others have become disenchanted with religious institutions and discouraged by the ineffectiveness of prayer.

The essays in the book range from confused to enlightening with the majority being on the confused side of the scale. I was hoping for a book that focused more on the interaction between the both the Humanist and the Black side of the picture, but many of the essays feel more like they have been written by Humanists who just happen to be Black.
That said, the few authors that really shine (Seattle Atheists’ own Pat Inniss among them) make this book worthwhile.

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