Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Religious Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Moultrie

Second Advisor

Dr. Strozier

Third Advisor

Dr. Bell


My research will explore the recent and explosive growth of those African Americans who identify as “NONES.” My research also examines whether or not identifying as a NONE is the first step to secularism for some African American NONES, and if so, what are the ramifications of a more secularized African American community. I posit that secularization (Secularization, an attitude or political ideology aiming to eradicate religion from public life as defined by the Encyclopedia of Sciences and Religions) of the African-American community will affect every aspect of the community, including interpersonal relationships, how and where they allocate financial resources, education (embracing science), socialization, and other cultural issues. My research on this topic is essential because an increasing number of African Americans identify as “NONES.” NONES, defined by the Pew Research Center, are individuals who respond to a survey asking to describe their religion; they choose atheist, agnostic, or “nothing in particular.” . African Americans make up the second-largest demographic of NONES at 34.9%, . Relatively little scholarship has been done on this phenomenon. The methodology used for this project will consist of an exhaustive and robust analysis of the available scholarship on this topic. My textual analysis will examine the work of those who have written about NONES as a collective and those individuals who have written about the specific life experiences of African American NONES. I will also examine the available scholarship on secularization as it applies to the African American community. My research will identify and fill the substantial gap in scholarship related to African American NONES. I will answer the questions of why there is a sudden growth in African American NONES, whether there is a causational relationship between an expanding African American NONE category and secularization of the African American community, and if so, what are the ramifications. My research has multilayered implications. Its results are instrumental in reimagining how community financial resources can be more effectively used to better the community. My research can also be used to create updated political strategies for reaching African American NONES. Finally, my research can be used to track the changing cultural patterns of the African American community and how those changing patterns affect every aspect of African American and larger U.S. society.


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