Guest / Limited Access /

This book supplies fresh research on one of the saddest chapters in American history. It shows how American churches contributed to the subjugation of freed slaves after the Civil War, how Christian leaders helped the Southern Democratic Party violently deprive black citizens of the vote, and how a number of thoroughly evangelical spokesmen (and spokeswomen) justified lynching as a legitimate means for putting black folk "in their place." Several chapters also explain why most Northern reformers quit the struggle against racism after the constitutional victory over slavery.

Points of light include accounts of freed slaves who persevered in the face of great opposition to build strong churches and accounts of a few whites (some from the South) who resisted the regime of racial terror. All the essays are well researched, but Gaines Foster on how the South became the "Bible Belt" and Daniel Stowell on how the word redemption came to be used for Jim Crow laws are especially effective.

Thoughtful Americans who wonder why the country has a continuing race problem should read this book; thoughtful Christians should read it and weep.



Related Elsewhere:

Vale of Tears: New Essays on Religion and Reconstruction is available from Amazon.com and other book retailers.

More information is available from Mercer University Press.

For book lovers, our 2005 CT book awards are available online, along with our book awards for 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, and 1997, as well as our Books of the Twentieth Century. For other coverage or reviews, see our Books archive and the weekly Books & Culture Corner.

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedAsian Americans: Silent No More
Subscriber Access Only Asian Americans: Silent No More
Asian American Christians are growing in influence and audience. Will they be embraced by their broader church family?
TrendingMark Driscoll Resigns from Mars Hill
Mark Driscoll Resigns from Mars Hill
"I do not want to be the source of anything that might detract from our church’s mission."
Editor's PickImmigration Status: Beloved
Immigration Status: Beloved
In Christ I am more than the ‘crime’ I committed at age 5.
Comments
Christianity Today
Religion and Reconstruction
hide thisMarch March

In the Magazine

March 2006

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.