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No Jim Crow Church : The Origins of South Carolina's Bahá'í Community

Author: Louis Venters Affiliation: Francis Marion University
Publisher: University Press of Florida 2015-09-22
Edition/Format: Book Book : English
Summary:
No Jim Crow Church recounts the unlikely emergence of a cohesive interracial fellowship in South Carolina, uncovering the origins of what is today the state’s largest religious minority. In the midst of the extraordinarily hostile environment of Jim Crow segregation and violence, white and black Bahá’ís in South Carolina took great personal risk to make spaces for genuine friendship, cooperation, and shared identity across the color line, coming to think of themselves as one people—equal members of an emerging spiritual commonwealth that spanned the globe. The book presents an organizational, social, and intellectual history of this movement, situating it at once within the dramatic changes in society at large—especially the civil rights movement—and as an integral part of the cultural and structural evolution of a new world religion. The story begins with the local Bahá'í community in Washington, D.C., the first in the country to attract a significant number of African Americans to the faith, including Louis G. Gregory, an attorney and civil servant who became the first Bahá'í to spread the new religion in his native South Carolina as early as 1910. It focuses on the emergence of the first local Bahá'í communities in four urban areas—Augusta-North Augusta, Charleston, Columbia, and Greenville—and introduces the Beaufort and Florence areas, which would prove critical to the rapid growth of the Bahá’í Faith in South Carolina after 1968.  Read more...
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Details

Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Louis Venters Affiliation: Francis Marion University
ISBN: 9780813061078; 9780813051352
Language Note: English
Unique Identifier: 5982928165
Awards:
Description: 336 Pages

Abstract:

No Jim Crow Church recounts the unlikely emergence of a cohesive interracial fellowship in South Carolina, uncovering the origins of what is today the state’s largest religious minority. In the midst of the extraordinarily hostile environment of Jim Crow segregation and violence, white and black Bahá’ís in South Carolina took great personal risk to make spaces for genuine friendship, cooperation, and shared identity across the color line, coming to think of themselves as one people—equal members of an emerging spiritual commonwealth that spanned the globe. The book presents an organizational, social, and intellectual history of this movement, situating it at once within the dramatic changes in society at large—especially the civil rights movement—and as an integral part of the cultural and structural evolution of a new world religion. The story begins with the local Bahá'í community in Washington, D.C., the first in the country to attract a significant number of African Americans to the faith, including Louis G. Gregory, an attorney and civil servant who became the first Bahá'í to spread the new religion in his native South Carolina as early as 1910. It focuses on the emergence of the first local Bahá'í communities in four urban areas—Augusta-North Augusta, Charleston, Columbia, and Greenville—and introduces the Beaufort and Florence areas, which would prove critical to the rapid growth of the Bahá’í Faith in South Carolina after 1968.

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