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A stone of hope : prophetic religion and the death of Jim Crow

by Chappell, David L.

Format: Print Book 2004
Availability: Available at 1 Library 1 of 1 copy
Available (1)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Main Library Mezzanine - Non-fiction E185.61.C5435 2004
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Mezzanine - Non-fiction
Call Number  E185.61.C5435 2004
The civil rights movement was arguably the most successful social movement in American history. In a provocative new assessment of its success, David Chappell argues that the story of civil rights is not a story of the ultimate triumph of liberal ideas after decades of gradual progress. Rather, it is a story of the power of religious tradition.

Chappell reconsiders the intellectual roots of civil rights reform, showing how northern liberals' faith in the power of human reason to overcome prejudice was at odds with the movement's goal of immediate change. Even when liberals sincerely wanted change, they recognized that they could not necessarily inspire others to unite and fight for it. But the prophetic tradition of the Old Testament--sometimes translated into secular language--drove African American activists to unprecedented solidarity and self-sacrifice. Martin Luther King Jr., Fannie Lou Hamer, James Lawson, Modjeska Simkins, and other black leaders believed, as the Hebrew prophets believed, that they had to stand apart from society and instigate dramatic changes to force an unwilling world to abandon its sinful ways. Their impassioned campaign to stamp out "the sin of segregation" brought the vitality of a religious revival to their cause. Meanwhile, segregationists found little support within their white southern religious denominations. Although segregationists outvoted and outgunned black integrationists, the segregationists lost, Chappell concludes, largely because they did not have a religious commitment to their cause.

Chapter 1: Hungry liberals : their sense that something was missing
Chapter 2: Recovering optimists
Chapter 3: The prophetic ideas that made civil rights move
Chapter 4: Prophetic Christian realism and the 1960s generation
Chapter 5: The civil rights movement as a religious revival
Chapter 6: Broken churches, broken race : white southern religious leadership and the decline of white supremacy
Chapter 7: Pulpit versus pew
Chapter 8: Segregationist thought in crisis : what the movement was up against.

Published Reviews
Publisher's Weekly Review: "In 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. famously said that the South could hew "a stone of hope" from segregation's "mountain of despair." This book explores the role that religion played in shaping that hope. In a brilliant chapter on the grassroots character of the civil rights cause, Chappell argues that the movement could be considered less a political protest with religious dimensions than a religious revival with political and social dimensions. The civil rights struggle had many of the elements of revival-miracle stories, mass religious enthusiasm, music, "conversion" experiences, even messianic expectations. Chappell writes engagingly, drawing an important revisionist portrait of the crucial role of religion in defeating Jim Crow. (Jan. 26) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects African Americans -- Civil rights -- History -- 20th century.
African Americans -- Segregation -- History -- 20th century.
Civil rights movements -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
Civil rights workers -- Religious life -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
Civil rights -- United States -- Religious aspects -- Christianity -- History -- 20th century.
Christianity and politics -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
Church and social problems -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
United States -- Race relations.
United States -- Church history -- 20th century.
Publisher Chapel Hill :University of North Carolina Press,2004
Language English
Description 344 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 080782819X
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