Politics and prayer in West Perrine, Florida: Civic social capital and the black church

Susan Oltman Fink, Florida International University


This thesis traces the mechanisms and sources responsible for the generation of civic social capital (a set of shared norms and values that promote cooperation between groups, enabling them to participate in the political process) by black churches in West Perrine, Florida. Data for this thesis includes over fifty interviews and participant observations, archival records, newspaper articles, and scholarly journals. Despite the institutional racism of the first half of the twentieth century, many blacks and whites in Perrine developed levels of trust significant enough to form an integrated local governing body, evidence of high levels of csc. At mid-century, when black and white interactions ceased, Perrine's csc decreased, leading to the deterioration of Perrine's social and physical conditions. Perrine's csc increased in the 1980s by way of broad-based coalitions as Perrine's churches invested their csc in an effort to eradicate crime, clean up its neighborhood, and win back its youth.

Subject Area

Black history|Religious congregations|Religion|Social structure

Recommended Citation

Fink, Susan Oltman, "Politics and prayer in West Perrine, Florida: Civic social capital and the black church" (2005). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI1432273.