The Social Gospel in Black and White: American Racial Reform, 1885-1912

The Social Gospel in Black and White: American Racial Reform, 1885-1912

The Social Gospel in Black and White: American Racial Reform, 1885-1912

The Social Gospel in Black and White: American Racial Reform, 1885-1912

Synopsis

Examines the impact of the new wave of black and white reformers, many of them social Christians, who struggled for solutions to Americas racial problems between 1885 and 1912.

Excerpt

This book must have begun one day in the summer of 1962, when I stood at the corner of Auburn Avenue and Jackson Street in Atlanta and asked a pedestrian about Martin Luther King, Jr.'s, Ebenezer Baptist Church. It was an institutional church, he said, though I did not then know what that meant, and, yes, the famous leader of the civil rights movement often preached there on Sunday mornings. I was one of the Southern white college students who joined the movement in its early years and had come to Georgia after graduating from Duke University. At the time, I was out of jail on bond, as a result of charges stemming from my work with Floyd McKissick and Arthur C. Thomas in the movement in Durham, North Carolina. My admission to Duke's Divinity School had been revoked by a high-handed dean who feared that I wanted to go to seminary only to continue the civil rights agitation.

Deciding not to become a field worker with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, I came to Georgia in a program sponsored by the National Council of Churches. It placed white seminary students as assistant pastors in black congregations and black seminary students in white congregations for the summer. My assignment was to Macon's First Baptist Church, Colored, as it was then called. After allowing me to spend my first night at Macon's YMCA, its director discovered my reason for being there, advised me to get out of town, and said that in any case I could not spend another night at the Y. But I found a place to live and despite an attorney's warning to stay out of trouble because of my case pending in North Carolina courts, I became more deeply involved than ever. First Baptist's pastor, Van J. Malone, was a leader of the movement in Macon and I worked with him and William P. Randall, Sr., in the cause. I traveled to Savannah, Liberty County, and Albany with a Southern Christian Leadership Conference staff member, John H. Calhoun. At Savannah, we talked with Hosea Williams, the brash young leader of the Chatham County Crusade for Voters. In Liberty County . . .

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