The History of the Negro Church traces the construction of the black church in America from colonial times through the early years of the twentieth century. The book unfolds a series of biographical sketches of male church leaders through the decades, and offers a broad critique of church experience. Beginning with early church movements in the North and efforts to minister to slaves in the South, Woodson describes the origins of religious instruction for a race that he characterizes as "neglected" among an unenlightened colonial population. The book offers a sophisticated and roving history of the limits of black inclusion in church and state. Indeed, Woodson’s penetrating vision of the deep themes of American history and his incisive understanding of spiritual character make for a lively passage through a long history. Many of his observations about the class, caste, and church seem only more relevant with the passage of time.