Lift Up Your Voice like a Trumpet: White Clergy and the Civil Rights and Antiwar Movements, 1954-1973

Synopsis

When the Supreme Court declared in 1954 that segregated public schools were unconstitutional, the highest echelons of Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish religious organizations enthusiastically supported the ruling; and black civil rights workers expected and actively sought the cooperation of their white religious cohorts. Many white southern clergy, however, were outspoken in their defense of segregation, and even those who supported integration were wary of risking their positions by urging parishioners to act on their avowed religious beliefs in a common humanity. Those who did so found themselves abandoned by friends, attacked by white supremacists, and often driven from their communities.

Michael Friedland here offers a collective biography of several southern and nationally known white religious leaders who did step forward to join the major social protest movements of the mid-twentieth century, lending their support first to the civil rights movement and later to protests over American involvement in Vietnam. Profiling such activists as William Sloane Coffin Jr., Daniel and Philip Berrigan, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Eugene Carson Blake, Robert McAfee Brown, and Will D. Campbell, he reveals the passions and commitment behind their involvement in these protests and places their actions in the context of a burgeoning ecumenical movement.