Ahmad Greene-Hayes
Ahmad Greene-Hayes
Scholar + Writer + Consultant


Ahmad Greene-Hayes is a Ph.D. Candidate at Princeton University in the Department of Religion, and is also pursuing graduate certificates from the Department of African American Studies and the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies.

Photo Courtesy: The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Photo Courtesy: The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture


Thank you for stopping by my website!

Here's a little bit about who I am:

I am a Hurstonian scholar of African American religions (#ZoraNealeTaughtMe) and my research interests include 19th and 20th century Africana and African American religious histories, American religious history, Black South Studies, and Black Queer Studies. My dissertation is a religious history of Black transnationalism, African American religions, and migrations between the Circum-Caribbean and New Orleans from 1915-1954.

I currently hold the Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship, and the Princeton Dean's and President's Fellowships.

I have previously held the Princeton Program in American Studies Pre-dissertation grant (2016-2017), the Yale LGBT Research Fellowship (2017-2018), and the Religion and Public Life Fellow at the Center for the Study of Religion at Princeton (2018-2019).

Alongside my work in the academy, I am a Just Beginnings Collaborative Cohort Member, in which I work with Black churches to end child sexual abuse using anti-rape sermon workshops, public townhalls, and curriculum development, through my organization, Children of Combahee.  

I am also the creator of #BlackChurchSex on Twitter, a progressive digital conversation on gender and sexuality in the contemporary life of the Black church, and I helped plan the #BlackChurchSex convening, "Love Thyself: Black Bodies and Religious Space," co-sponsored by Princeton Theological Seminary's Office of Black Church Studies and Columbia University's Center on African American Religion, Sexual Politics and Social Justice. 

As an essayist, my public commentary on issues of race, gender, sexuality, black politics and religion have appeared in Ebony, The Root, The Feminist Wire, the Huffington Post, Essence, and News One, among many other outletsIn addition, I am a contributing writer for the award-winning blog, Black Perspectives, of the African American Intellectual History Society.

As you can probably tell by now, I love thinking, researching, digging in archives, writing, and talking.

But when I'm not busy working, you can find me cooking in my kitchen, out and about with friends, working out in the gym, on an adventure in Harlem, or traveling our beautiful world. 

each piece of our living is a protest.
— lorraine hansberry

If you're interested in my work, please consider inviting me to speak at your university, church, or community event. I've been blessed to speak at the Apollo Theater, Princeton Theological Seminary, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York University, Rutgers, the University of Arizona, Middle Collegiate Church, Children's Defense Fund, Boston University School of Theology, Columbia University, and the Department of Justice.

I am also available for talks, consultation meetings, panels, and workshops on the following topics:

  • gender, sexuality, and religion

  • sexual violence and Black Protestant churches

  • sexual violence and religion

  • LGBTQ+ issues

  • African American religions in the 20th century

  • diversity and inclusion

  • social justice movements

Contact me below.


Much love,


Research Interests

  • Black Religions in the Americas

  • African American Pentecostalism

  • Conjure, Rootwork, and Hoodoo

  • Gender, Sexuality and Religion

  • Race, Religion and Politics

  • Black Queer Studies

  • Folk and Popular Religions

  • American and Africana Religious Histories

Selected Publications

Greene-Hayes, Ahmad. ““Queering” African American Religious History.” Religion Compass (2019).

Greene-Hayes, Ahmad, and Joy James. “Cracking the Codes of Black Power Struggles: Hacking, Hacked, and Black Lives Matter.” The Black Scholar 47, no. 3 (2017): 68-78.

“Why are queer black lives ‘secular’”? In Religion, secularism, and Black Lives Matter, Vincent Lloyd, ed. The Immanent Frame, September 22, 2016.

 Judith Casselberry, The Labor of Faith: Gender and Power in Black Apostolic Pentecostalism (Durham: Duke University Press, 2017) for Reading Religion, June 1, 2018.

Teaching Experience

Selected Presentations

Princeton University

2019 — Assistant-in-Instruction to Professor Eddie Glaude, “African American Studies and the Philosophy of Race.” Department of African American Studies.

2018 — Assistant-in-Instruction to Professor Wallace Best, “The History of Gospel Music.” Department of African American Studies. Cross-listed under Religion, Music, and American Studies.

Williams College

2014 — Assistant-in-Instruction to Professor Leslie Brown, “African American History from Reconstruction to the Present.” Department of History. Cross-listed under Africana Studies and American Studies.

Invited Keynotes, Lectures and Talks:

“The Rev. James Cleveland: Sexual Indiscretion and Black Church Rumor,” Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Yale University, January 29, 2018.

“(Re)Memory, Nostalgia and Conjure: Racial and Sexual Politics in a Neoliberal Age,” Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, University of Arizona, January 26, 2017.

Invited Presentations, Panels, and Discussions:

“Faith & Sexuality: Unlocking the Gift of God,” Judah Christian Fellowship, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, November 4, 2017. 

“Healing With Traumatized Children,” Workshop Presentation on Child Sexual Abuse in Black Churches, Children’s Defense Fund Haley Farm, July 18, 2017.

Panelist, “Holler If You Hear Me: Black and Gay in the Church,” Park Avenue Christian Church, New York, NY, April 9, 2017.

Panelist, “Our History, Our Future: a Multigenerational Conference on Human Rights,” Boston University School of Theology, April 8, 2017.

After Screening Panelist, “Get In the Way: The Journey of John Lewis,” The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, February 15, 2017.

Panelist, Remarks on Child Sexual Abuse and Black Church Communities. “Roundtable on Child Sexual Abuse,” Department of Justice, Washington, D.C., December 20, 2016.

Panelist, Unholy Touches: A Black Church Boy Speaks, Princeton Theological Seminary’s Office of Black Church Studies (co-sponsored by Columbia University’s Center on African American Religion, Sexual Politics and Social Justice), “Love Thyself: Black Bodies and Religious Space,” #BlackChurchSex Opening Plenary, March 5, 2016.

Panelist, “Reimagining Manhood: A Conversation,” Women of the World Conference, Apollo Theater, Harlem, New York, June 14, 2015.

Conference & Workshop Presentations:

Paper: “ “Legally, I Became His”: The Rev. James Cleveland, Sexual Indiscretion, and Black Church Rumor,” Gender, Sexuality and Religion Working Group, Princeton University, February 27, 2018.

Paper: “Pleasure Vocabularies: Re-membering Black Bodyminds in Africana Religious Studies,” Political Theology Network Inaugural Conference, Emory University, February 17, 2018.

Paper: “Sacred Dissent: For Queers’ Sake and On Queer Stakes in Black Religious Studies,” American Academy of Religion, November 20, 2017.

Paper: “Mother Estella Boyd’s Sons and Daughters: Sanctified Black Bodies, Healing Hands and Pentecostal Touch,” Ways of Knowing, Harvard Divinity School, October 29, 2017.

Sample Writings



Dear Pastor Kim Burell, 

I write to you as a fellow Christian (though I like to think of myself simply as a "follower of Jesus"), a historian of Africana and African American religions, and a church boy in recovery. Regarding the latter, I meet weekly with a therapist and am writing my way to freedom, as a result.

I am product of the Black church, and I am both proud and, at times, ashamed of this legacy.  I come from a family of Black preaching men and healing women (though many of the women were preachers, too, but denied ordination), prophets and herbalists, non-academic theologians and religious philosophers, and working class church folks who used Sunday School and Bible Study as a space to nurture intellectual curiosity.

new birth.jpg


Long was accused of sexually abusing four young men--Anthony Flagg, Spencer LeGrance, Jamal Parris and Maurice Robinson, who were teenagers at the time of their accusations [...]

Yet Long's members stood behind him. Although the New Birth Christian Academy closed down, the church doors remained open. Congregants heard these children’s horrifying allegations of sexual abuse and many remained faithful to Long, even as he preached messages condoning homophobia, the subjugation of women and rape culture. In fact, after news of the child sexual abuse allegations surfaced, Long used the Bible to victim-blame and deny all charges in a sermon to his megachurch followers: “I’ve been accused. I’m under attack. As I said earlier, I am not a perfect man. But this thing, I’m gonna fight. . . . I feel like David against Goliath. But I’ve got five rocks and I haven’t thrown one yet.


#pulseshooting: a homegoing for our (queer) dead

Last week I attended a church member’s funeral. Hues of black and brown formed a beautiful palette as the saints marched in their white-and-black vestments. White for the sacredness of the one to whom the service was dedicated, and black for their anguish. The preacher read Scriptures as the family processioned into the church. This was no ordinary funeral; it was a homegoing—or a celebration of life, a passing from this plane to the next, from labor to reward.

There will be many more funerals in the coming days. On Sunday, June 12, news surfaced that 49 were killed and 53 injured by Omar Mateen at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla. Fueled by toxic masculinity, homophobia and terroristic fervor, Mateen used a semi-automatic rifle and a 9 mm handgun to afflict the bodies of Latinx, black and Afro-Latinx LGBTQ individuals, their families and their friends.



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