Student Project Profile

The Art and Architectural Histories of Atlanta Black Churches

Project Title

The Art and Architectural Histories of Atlanta Black Churches

Faculty Mentor(s)

Project Description

A study carrel with stacks of books.

My research project intends to create a catalog of the art and architectural histories of Black churches in the city of Atlanta. Atlanta has historically been a nexus of both Black Christianity and political action in the South. Through the physical space of the church, I’m examining how Black political ideology and religious philosophy interact with one another, and how that interaction is expressed through the visual.

My project has two aims: first, to create a documentary resource of church photographs and historical information of future researchers, and secondly, to engage with the inherently paradoxical nature of the Black church. I’m seeking to understand why such a contentious religious tradition has found such a strong following within the Black community, and how the visual is a landscape across which that paradox is expressed.

Why is your research important?

Unfortunately, there is a major gap in the literature of the Black church examined through an art historical lens. It is difficult to obtain even photographs for the vast majority of Black churches across the South, regardless of their historical importance. The church is a major space for Black life and community, and it’s important that these spaces are documented.