In Memoriam: Albert J. Raboteau

September 22, 2021

The James Madison Program mourns Albert J. Raboteau, Henry W. Putnam Professor of Religion Emeritus, who died on September 18, 2021 after a lengthy illness. Professor Raboteau was a leading scholar in the field of African-American religious history, and a celebrated and beloved teacher. Robert P. George, Director of the James Madison Program, paid tribute to his longtime friend and colleague:

“Al Raboteau profoundly illuminated the landscape of African-American history, and thus of a key part of American history, beginning with his first book, Slave Religion: The ‘Invisible Institution’ in the Antebellum South, which was published in 1979, three years before he arrived at Princeton. His gift was to allow those held in bondage to speak for themselves of their encounters with God in the midst of oppression and suffering. Most moving was a theme Al continued to develop throughout his scholarly career, the theological meaning and significance of the mixture of joy and sorrow in the life of the Christian believer. For him, as a man of deep Christian faith, this was a matter of personal existential significance as well as scholarly inquiry.”

The Madison Program gives thanks for the life, work, and wisdom of Professor Raboteau and extends to his family our deepest condolences.

Photo: Princeton University Department of African American Studies