Black and Spanish Harlem: Music, Religion, Politics and Culture
Dates/Times: September 15 (1-6pm) and September 16 (9am-5pm)
Location: In Person – Union Theological Seminary
Instructors: Samuel Cruz, Ph.D
Registration Deadline: September 5, 2022
This course will be a historical walking tour of Black and Spanish Harlem, both integral neighborhoods of New York City. Since the turn of the 20th century, a fascinating coalition of art, culture, politics and religion has emerged out of these neighborhoods, leaving an enduring vibrant and influential legacy. This intensive weekend course will also explore the ways in which African Americans have greatly influenced the formation of the Puerto Rican Pentecostal movement, as well as social justice and resistance movements. We will explore the fertile artistic, cultural, musical, religious and political contributions made by African American and Puerto Rican communities to the United States and the world.
Rev. Samuel Cruz, Ph. D
Rev. Samuel Cruz, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Religion and Society at Union Theological Seminary. He completed his Ph.D. at Drew University (Madison, NJ) in 2002 under the directorship of internationally renowned Philosopher and Sociologist of Religion, Dr. Otto Maduro. Dr. Cruz also received his M.Phil. degree from Drew University in 1999 and M.A. degree, Magna Cum Laude, from New Brunswick Theological Seminary. Dr. Cruz’s publications include two books: Masked Africanisms: Puerto Rican Pentecostalism (Kendall Hunt Publishing, 2005) and Christianity and Culture in the City: A Post-Colonial Approach (Lexington Books, 2013). He has an extensive background in the field of Sociology of Religion publishing and presenting ethnographic research on Afro-Latinx spiritualities, most specifically on Pentecostalism and African spiritualities of the Caribbean. Dr. Cruz now serves as the Senior Pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in the predominantly Latinx community of Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Pastor Cruz is known in New York City and Puerto Rico for advocating for Afro-Latinx rights regarding sexuality, gender, race, immigration policies, the prison industrial complex/police brutality, environmentalism, fair housing/gentrification, the release of political prisoners, and the independence of Puerto Rico. Dr. Cruz has been featured in the Stop and Frisk docu-series: “The Pastor”; he is a frequent guest on MSNBC, the Melissa Harris-Perry Show, and a guest host to WBAI-FM.