Black Women in Black Religion: Biblical and Cultural Basis for Oppression (video)

Original Title

Black Women and Black Religion. Ella Mitchell, keynote speaker


Ella Mitchell

Streaming Media

Media is loading


Society for the Study of Black Religion Collection

Document Type


Date Information


Playing Time



Dr. Ella Mitchell gives a lecture about Black women in Black religion. She gives a series of questions to discuss the topic. Those questions deal with the biblical and cultural basis for the oppression of women in ministry within the Black church. Dr. Mitchell offers answers to the questions posed through scriptures such as 1st Corinthians 14:31 and Timothy 2:12. These biblical scriptures (along with generational put downs and self-esteem issues of women) are the basis for the oppression of women according to Dr. Mitchell. She gives examples in the AME, AME Zion and New Testament Baptist Church of Chicago (Rev. Judy Trim) of breakthroughs for women in the Black church. Her husband Dr. Henry Mitchell, Dr. Riggins Earl Jr. and Cornell West are among those in the audience.

File Name



00:00:06 Unidentified man welcomes those in attendance and introduces persons at banquet table including Henry Mitchell (Ecumenical Institute of Black Church Studies, Claremont, CA). Gives opening remarks and introduces Ella Mitchell.

00:13:35 Launches discussion with asking a brief series of questions on Black women and Black Religion introducing the biblical and cultural basis for the position of Black women in religion specifically the ministry.

00:14:45 Addresses the first question that asks why are women an issue in the first place and why we need to discuss women at all.

00:16:47 Talks about the next question dealing with why women accept lower status in Black church and take it in silence when they have such potential for power and control.

00:17:00 Talks about the acceptance of lower status being do to Black women’s collective low self-esteem and generational put downs and traditionally limited, poor, and less than adequate biblical interpretations.

00:18:21 Gives examples of scripture as a mean use by males to defend oppressive practices against women (1st Corinthians 14:31, and 1st Timothy 2:12).

00:19:41 Talks about the error of selectivity of those who use certain scriptures without consulting the whole word of God. Like slave masters who selectively quoted scripture for their own advantage so do male and female alike proof text to maintain male advantage.

00:37:21 Talks about that even in the bible the heavenly parent has been able only now and then to break through when narrow shafts of the light of liberation, so also has it been with the divine when concerning Black women in Black religion. God has had to work against a massive cultural bias against women.

00:45:34 Talks about the AME Zion church and the role of women.

00:49:43 Talks about the breakthrough of the call of the Rev. Trudy Trim to the pastorate of the New Testament Baptist church of Chicago Illinois.

01:03:36 Video ends.


The Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library acknowledges the generous support of the National Endowment for Humanities - Humanities Collections and Reference Resources Implementation Project Grant in supporting the processing and digitization of a number of its major archival collections as part of the project: Spreading the Word: Expanding Access to African American Religious Archival Collections at the Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library.


All video content in this collection is protected by copyright or is the property of the Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center, Inc., and/or the copyright holder as appropriate. For more information or to inquire about permission to publish, please contact archives@auctr.edu.



Rights Statement

In Copyright - Educational Use Permitted.