Decaro, Louis A., Jr. 1957-

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Decaro, Louis A., Jr. 1957-


Born August 7, 1957, in Youngstown, OH; son of Louis A. (a minister) and Clara (a teacher) DeCaro; married Michele Sweeting (a music educator and vocalist), June 17, 2000. Ethnicity: "Italian American." Education: Westminster Theological Seminary, M.A. (religious studies), 1982; New York University, M.A. (history), 1987, Ph.D., 1993. Politics:"None." Religion: Christian.


Agent—c/o Author Mail, New York University Press, 838 Broadway, 3rd Fl., New York, NY 10003.E-mail—[email protected].


Writer, historian, religious scholar, and Christian minister.


On the Side of My People: A Religious Life of Malcolm X, New York University Press (New York, NY), 1995.

(Editor, with Robert Carle) Signs of Hope in the City, Judson Press (Valley Forge, PA), 1997.

Malcolm and the Cross: The Nation of Islam, Christianity, and Malcolm X, New York University Press (New York, NY), 1998.

Fire from the Midst of You: A Religious Life ofJohn Brown, New York University Press (New York, NY), 2002.

Contributor to books, including New York Glory: Religions in the City, edited by Tony Carnes, New York University Press (New York, NY), 2001; and The Afterlife of John Brown, edited by Eldrid Herrington, Palgrave (New York, NY), 2005.


Louis A. DeCaro, Jr., told CA: "I was reared in an Italian-American Protestant household, my father being an independent scholar and author of a religious text and a centennial study of the Italian Pentecostalist movement, which was published by his denomination. My mother was a schoolteacher. I grew up around books and Bibles and always wanted to be a writer, and always had an interest in religion and history. In college and graduate school I became increasingly interested in black history, and especially the intersection of religion and militant resistance to oppression.

"I supplemented my graduate school readings in European history with the writings of black authors, until I decided to quit my doctoral program in European church history and eventually decided to studyMalcolm X, who became a powerful and compelling figure in my life and reflection. Along with the printed and recorded speeches of Malcolm, the writings of W.E.B. DuBois and James Baldwin were very important to my development. I subsequently did my dissertation under the guidance of Gabriel Moran, a brilliant Roman Catholic religious educator, and completed my dissertation in 1993. Research for this work was utilized in my two books on Malcolm X. I maintain a strong interest in Malcolm, whom I consider to be the premier figure of twentieth-century life in the United States. Unfortunately this study is yet entangled with the eccentricities of personality, race, and competition among scholars, collectors, activists, and others who claim proprietary rights over Malcolm's legacy.

"The study of Malcolm X directed me to research on abolitionist John Brown. It is my belief that John Brown is the most misunderstood and misrepresented figure in U.S. history, and that his legacy has yet to be appreciated by the people of this country. As a Christian minister and student of history, my work on John Brown is an attempt to rectify the gross misrepresentations of Brown that have become essential to the academy. I am pleased that a whole new breed of John Brown scholarship is emerging in which his life and impact are now being appreciated. I hope to continue to explore Brown's life and work with my fellow scholars in promoting a fair and appreciative view of Brown.

"While the subjects that have motivated me are exceptional and noteworthy, I find nothing otherwise exceptional or noteworthy to speak of with respect to my writing. I hope to write for the purpose of justice, education, and edification, but especially for the glory of God."



Christian Century, May 31, 2003, Dan McKanan, review ofFire from the Midst of You: A Religious Life of John Brown, p. 29.

Library Journal, December, 2002, Sandra Collins, review ofFire from the Midst of You, p. 135.

Publishers Weekly, November 11, 2002, review of Fire from the Midst of You, p. 60.