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Church People in the Struggle : The National Council of Churches and the Black Freedom Movement, 1950-1970 - James F. Findlay

Church People in the Struggle

The National Council of Churches and the Black Freedom Movement, 1950-1970

Paperback

Published: 1st October 1997
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In the 1960s, the mainstream Protestant churches responded to an urgent need by becoming deeply involved with the national black community in its struggle for racial justice. The National Council of Churches (NCC), as the principal ecumenical organization of the national Protestant religious establishment, initiated an active new role by establishing a Commission on Religion and Race in 1963. Focusing primarily on the efforts of the NCC, this is the first study by an historian to examine the relationship of the predominantly white, mainstream Protestant Churches to the Civil Rights movement. Drawing on hitherto little-used and unknown archival resources and extensive interviews with participants, Findlay documents the churches' committed involvement in the March on Washington in 1963, the massive lobbying effort to secure passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, their powerful support of the struggle to end legal segregation in Mississippi, and their efforts to respond to the Black Manifesto and the rise of black militancy before and during 1969. Findlay chronicles initial successes, then growing frustration as the events of the 1960s unfolded and the national liberal coalition, of which the churches were a part, disintegrated. While never losing sight of the central, indispensable role of the African-American community, Findlay's study for the first time makes clear the highly significant contribution made by liberal religious groups in the turbulent, exciting, moving, and historic decade of the 1960s.

"A solid contribution....Packed with hitherto unknown information."--Journal of American History "Findlay's well-researched and cogent study is a welcome addition to the historiography of the movement, especially as it analyzes inner tensions between liberal integrationists and apostles of black power....An informative and judicious addition to the literature of civil rights."--Choice "At a time when David Duke can command over half the white Louisiana vote, when political experts tell us that the problem today is race and not racism, when religious leaders have discarded their `black agenda,' it is important that we look again at the 1960s and their impact on white and black Americans. This was the religious community's finest hour, and Findlay shows us how and why everything came together at this particular time and place. This is an impressive and important book."--John Dittmer, DePauw University "A wonderful and very welcome study of the role of mainline Protestantism in the Civil Rights movement. Truly a pathbreaking study, the work of painstaking and meticulous research...a tour de force in academic detective work."--Leonard Sweet, United Theological Seminary "A must-read for both secular historians of the civil rights movement and for scholars concerned with the American religious experience."--Theological Studies "An impressive analysis....One of the most compelling features of Findlay's reconstruction is the way he captures the personal feelings and individual stories of key participants [of the civil rights struggle of the 1960s]....Findlay's outstanding reconstruction of these events has clarified a historical period which is still too little understood or appreciated. His account is admirably well balanced and carefully detailed."--Christian Century "A significant contribution to the study of ecumenism within American Protestantism....An outstanding study that will be appreciated by scholars interested in religion and race in contemporary America."--History: Reviews of New Books "Provides readers with important information about an era that is vital to understanding the situation of the churches today."--The Princeton Seminary Bulletin "Findlay has done the nation and its churches a great service by writing this excellent history while many who were engaged in the freedom movement are still alive and active in their communities. I ask all such to do themselves a favor: buy this book and read it. Subsequently, I am sure, you will want to buy another copy for your favorite grandchild-the one in whom injustice done to others remains a cause for both outrage and action."--American Presbyterians "A valuable reflection on the making and breaking of a justice coalition thirty years ago."--The Witness "A solid contribution....Packed with hitherto unknown information."--Journal of American History "Findlay's well-researched and cogent study is a welcome addition to the historiography of the movement, especially as it analyzes inner tensions between liberal integrationists and apostles of black power....An informative and judicious addition to the literature of civil rights."--Choice "At a time when David Duke can command over half the white Louisiana vote, when political experts tell us that the problem today is race and not racism, when religious leaders have discarded their `black agenda,' it is important that we look again at the 1960s and their impact on white and black Americans. This was the religious community's finest hour, and Findlay shows us how and why everything came together at this particular time and place. This is an impressive and important book."--John Dittmer, DePauw University "A wonderful and very welcome study of the role of mainline Protestantism in the Civil Rights movement. Truly a pathbreaking study, the work of painstaking and meticulous research...a tour de force in academic detective work."--Leonard Sweet, United Theological Seminary "A must-read for both secular historians of the civil rights movement and for scholars concerned with the American religious experience."--Theological Studies "An impressive analysis....One of the most compelling features of Findlay's reconstruction is the way he captures the personal feelings and individual stories of key participants [of the civil rights struggle of the 1960s]....Findlay's outstanding reconstruction of these events has clarified a historical period which is still too little understood or appreciated. His account is admirably well balanced and carefully detailed."--Christian Century "A significant contribution to the study of ecumenism within American Protestantism....An outstanding study that will be appreciated by scholars interested in religion and race in contemporary America."--History: Reviews of New Books "Provides readers with important information about an era that is vital to understanding the situation of the churches today."--The Princeton Seminary Bulletin "Findlay has done the nation and its churches a great service by writing this excellent history while many who were engaged in the freedom movement are still alive and active in their communities. I ask all such to do themselves a favor: buy this book and read it. Subsequently, I am sure, you will want to buy another copy for your favorite grandchild-the one in whom injustice done to others remains a cause for both outrage and action."--American Presbyterians "A valuable reflection on the making and breaking of a justice coalition thirty years ago."--The Witness "It is valuable in the details it provides of how the country's largest protestant organization dove into the movement, and the results of that action. Findlay makes good use of interviews, humanizing his effort by not relying solely on documents."--The Post and Courier "A major contribution....A fascinating and at times painful story which provides an indispensable context for understanding the place of the American church today in racial issues....Professional historians will find much of use in the text and notes, but Findlay's thorough documentation in no way impedes the general reader's progress....Those interested in black theology, Findlay's historical account is indispensable. Church People in the Struggle will engage anyone concerned with American church history or the more general question of how the church is to be related to the world."--Reviews in Religion & Theology Digest "Unlike others who just talk about the church's role in the civil rights movement, James F. Findlay, Jr. has written a valuable book about a significant aspect of the larger topic."--American Historical Review "This is an important book.,,,This essay will be of immense value to historians of the Civil Rights Movement and to contemporary church historians. For Roman Catholic historians this book can serve as a model of historiography for those now beginning to research the involvement of the Catholic Church in the same movement."--The Catholic Historical Review "This book fills an important gap in scholarship on the American churches and civil rights....His study is relevant for continuing discussions about the place of the church in the struggle to overcome racism in America."--Church History "Thoroughly researched, clearly written, fact-packed study....Findlay's angle of vision sets events in context accessibly enough to fascinate the reader who lacks lived experience of the period almost as much as the reader-participant."--The Journal of Religion "[Findlay's] meticulously researched book fills a major gap in our knowledge of recent American religion and will provide numerous valuable clues to those who wish to employ interdisciplinary methods to understand the malaise of late twentieth-century American culture and society."--The Journal of Interdisciplinary History "Findlay's study is...an academic historian's objective and meticulously assembled account of the NCC's role in the struggle for racial justice throughout the 50's and 60's."--Theological Book Review "[An] excellent study."--Indiana Magazine of History ...[a] striking book..."--Journal of American Ethnic History "Findlay's valuable monograph...is sharply focused and based on extensive archival research. He tells an often moving story."--The Journal of Southern History

Introductionp. 3
The Origins of Activism, 1950-1963p. 11
The Churches and the Civil Rights Act of 1964p. 48
"Visitors in Hell": Church Involvement in the Movement in Mississippip. 76
"Servanthood" in Mississippi: The Delta Ministry, 1964-1966p. 111
Reconciliation and "The Justice Place": The Delta Ministry, 1966-1974p. 140
The National Council of Churches and Racial Matters "At Home": Changing Circumstances, 1964-1969p. 169
The Black Manifesto and Its Aftermath: The End of an Erap. 199
Sourcesp. 237
Indexp. 245
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195118124
ISBN-10: 019511812X
Series: Religion in America
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 280
Published: 1st October 1997
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.34 x 15.65  x 1.96
Weight (kg): 0.15