The Talking Book casts the Bible as the central character in a vivid portrait of black America, tracing the origins of African-American culture from slavery's secluded forest prayer meetings to the bright lights and bold style of today's hip-hop artists. The Bible has profoundly influenced African Americans throughout history. From a variety of perspectives this wide-ranging book is the first to explore the Bible's role in the triumph of the black experience. Using the Bible as a foundation, African Americans shared religious beliefs, created their own music, and shaped the ultimate key to their freedom--literacy. Allen Callahan highlights the intersection of biblical images with African-American music, politics, religion, art, and literature. The author tells a moving story of a biblically informed African-American culture, identifying four major biblical images--Exile, Exodus, Ethiopia, and Emmanuel. He brings these themes to life in a unique African-American history that grows from the harsh experience of slavery into a rich culture that endures as one of the most important forces of twenty-first-century America.