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Painting the GospelBlack Public Art and Religion in Chicago$
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Kymberly N. Pinder

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780252039928

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252039928.001.0001

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Where the Black Christ Suffers and the Politics of Black Tragic Space in Chicago

Where the Black Christ Suffers and the Politics of Black Tragic Space in Chicago

(p.136) Conclusion Where the Black Christ Suffers and the Politics of Black Tragic Space in Chicago
Painting the Gospel

Kymberly N. Pinder

University of Illinois Press

This conclusion reflects on the conflation of empathetic realism and tragic space inside and outside black churches in Chicago. It examines complex issues of ownership, displacement, and tragedy that make the black church fulfill many needs regarding refuge and racial affirmation. It considers various sites of black tragedy in Chicago, citing as an example Pilgrim Baptist Church which burned to the ground on January 7, 2006, resulting in the loss of historically significant murals, a historic landmark, and many primary documents concerning the birth of gospel music. The author places this loss in the context of “tragic tourism,” arguing that it is part of a lineage of “tragic Black spaces” in Chicago that also connect to other such sites across the country and across history. She notes that many black churches have been set on fire due to racial intimidation. She ends the discussion by emphasizing the integral role of black suffering in the activation of empathy and the diverse and shifting publics for its imagery.

Keywords:   empathetic realism, tragic space, black churches, Chicago, black tragedy, Pilgrim Baptist Church, murals, tragic tourism, black suffering, empathy

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