The Center for the Study of African American Religious Life

Explore Initiative

Through promoting innovative scholarship, producing public programs, and collecting religious artifacts, the Center for the Study of African American Religious Life will expand the ways religion is acknowledged and explored by our nation’s research and cultural institutions.

Religion has served a central role in shaping African American history and culture, yet it receives little attention or study in our nation’s museums. The Center will provide a critical platform of resources and convening opportunities to a global community of faith and religious leaders, publics, and scholars.

Recovering the Bones: African American Material Religion and Religious Memory

On Friday, October 27th and Saturday, October 28th the Center for the Study of African American Religious Life hosted a formal academic conference of 13 invited scholars with a focus on material religion within African American history and culture. Please visit the conference page to learn more about this event.


The Center for the Study of African American Religious Life organizes public events that explore religion’s place in African American history and culture and the contemporary roles and needs of faith leaders, organizations, and African American communities.

Visit the Museum's calendar of events for a list of upcoming programs and follow our UStream channel to watch archives of our past programs.

Our Staff

Brad Braxton, Ph.D.
Brad Braxton, Ph.D. is the Director of the Center for the Study of African American Religious Life and the Supervisory Curator of Religion. Braxton is responsible for the intellectual and managerial leadership of the Center as it promotes innovative scholarship, produces public programs, and collects artifacts relating to diverse African American religious practices and beliefs.

Braxton holds a Ph.D. in New Testament studies from Emory University, a Master’s degree in theology from the University of Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and a B.A. degree in religious studies from the University of Virginia. He is a seasoned educator who has held lectureships at Georgetown University, Harvard Divinity School, and McCormick Theological Seminary and professorships at Southern Methodist University, Vanderbilt University, and Wake Forest University. He is the author of three scholarly books and numerous essays exploring the intersection of religious practices and social justice.

Eric Williams, Ph.D. is the Curator of Religion in the Center for the Study of African American Religious Life. Williams is responsible for assisting with collections, programs, research, exhibits, publications, and other activities for the Center.  Williams holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications and Sociology from the University of Illinois at Chicago, a Master of Arts in Theological Studies from the McCormick Theological Seminary, the Master of Divinity degree from Duke University and a Doctorate of Philosophy degree in Religious Studies from the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom.

Williams has taught history, religion and African American Studies at several institutions including: Western Theological Seminary; Ashland Theological Seminary (Detroit); Iowa State University; Grandview University; Boston College; and Harvard University. Williams’ current research examines the meaning of religion within African American history and culture, and the role and influences of African religions in the Atlantic world.

Teddy R. Reeves, M.Div. is the Museum Specialist of Religion in the Center for the Study of African American Religious Life. Reeves is responsible for conducting research, assisting in collecting artifacts, exhibits and planning public programs, and faith-based community outreach. Reeves comes to the Museum from Calvary Baptist Church, where he served as the Executive Pastor, and Princeton Theological Seminary, where he served as the Program Administrator for the Center for Black Church Studies, respectfully.

In addition, Reeves has served as a high school English teacher at two prestigious independent schools and, as a fundraising consultant for a large philanthropic firm. Reeves graduated from Hampton University with a bachelor’s in English, obtained a Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary, and is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Administration and Supervision at Fordham University Graduate School of Education.

Kim Moir serves as Public Programing Specialist in the Center for the Study of African American Religious Life. He is responsible for coordinating and conducting public programs and outreach activities for the Center. Additionally, Moir will conduct research and gather information through technology, social media and online in order to make artifacts and histories available through digital technologies, web features, and digital storytelling. Moir comes to NMAAHC from Fairfax County Government where he served as a Media Technician.

In addition, Moir has worked as a videographer/editor for PBS – Baltimore, and is a nationally distributed producer, director, screenwriter and filmmaker who has produced hundreds of news and documentary feature stories as well as a feature film. Moir holds a B.A. in Mass Media Arts from Hampton University. 

Donna Braxton is the Management Support Assistant in the Center for African American Religious Life. She is responsible for all of the administrative work of the Center. Donna has experience in three industry sectors including Government, Corporate America and Non-Profit. Donna joins us from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) where she worked in the Office of Research and Development handling executive reports, project management activities, data analysis, website updates and office administration.

Prior to the EPA, Donna worked in Corporate America, specifically Verizon Communications. Starting as a management trainee, she completed a full career working in various departments including Engineering, Information Systems, Consumer Sales, Business Sales and Marketing. Donna received the Verizon Excellence award during her career. In the community, she serves as a volunteer business and computer applications instructor at a homeless transitional housing organization. Donna is a Magna Cum Laude graduate from Howard University’s School of Business and Public Administration.

Explore the Collection

Discover objects from our collection that help to expand the ways religion is acknowledged and explored.