Christian Citizens: Reading the Bible in Black and White in the Postemancipation South

Elizabeth L. Jemison. Univ. of North Carolina, $29.95 (256p) ISBN 978-1-4696-5969-5
Historian Jemison debuts with a thorough exploration of how Black and white Christians drew on their faith in the aftermath of the Civil War to make radically divergent claims about an ideal political order. According to Jemison, Black Christians asserted that racial prejudice was a sin and Christian practice demanded religious, social, and political equality. White Southerners, on the other hand, drew on antebellum proslavery and patriarchal theologies to justify their campaign of white supremacist terror. They also constructed false histories of their own Christian benevolence toward the Black Southerners whose autonomy they so fiercely opposed. Jemison charts the theological and political arcs of Black and white Christian practice from emancipation to 1900, arguing that both groups understood their “Christian identity formed the contours of social and civic belonging” and “demarcat[ed] the boundaries of what was possible.” Jemison’s enlightening investigation will be of interest to both scholars and readers with a more general interest in the nation’s religious history. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 08/03/2020
Release date: 11/01/2020
Genre: Religion
Hardcover - 256 pages - 978-1-4696-5968-8
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