Date of Award


Degree Type


University or Center

Atlanta University (AU)

Degree Name



Political Science

First Advisor

Professor Robert A. Holmes


The Black Christian Nationalists under the leadership of the Reverend Albert B. Cleage, Jr., the founder of the Shrine of the Black Madonna of the Pan-African Orthodox Christian Church, act as a separatist by seeking to establish their own separate black institutions in order to gain power the. black community. Reverend Cleage asserts that the "traditional" black church has failed the black community by addressing only the spiritual -needs of its members. Although Reverend Cleage claims that the Shrine is the only black church meeting the needs of the black community, the majority of their institutions are designed primarily to aid only their members and not the entire community. The research is designed to address the question of whether the "traditional" black church has failed the black community while examining the political, social, and economic philosophy of the Shrine of the Black Madonna.

Reverend Cleage's program of "institutional power" acts as a model for other black churches by combining poli tical philosophy with religious doctrine in order to aid the black community. The ideologies of Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X, and the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., are also analyzed in order to examine their contributions to the black religious community. The methodology utilized in conducting the study involves the Descriptive Case Study Method and the Document Study, in addition to David Easton's systems theory as the dominant paradigm.