No Jim Crow Church

6107“A richly detailed study of the rise of the Bahá’í Faith in South Carolina. There isn’t another study out there even remotely like this one.”—Paul Harvey, coauthor of The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America

“A pioneering study of how and why the Bahá’í Faith became the second largest religious community in South Carolina. Carefully researched, the story told here fills a significant gap in our knowledge of South Carolina’s rich and diverse religious history.”—Charles H. Lippy, coauthor of Religion in Contemporary America

 

 

.

The emergence of a cohesive interracial fellowship in Jim Crow-era South Carolina was unlikely and dangerous. However, members of the Bahá’í Faith in the Palmetto State rejected segregation, broke away from religious orthodoxy, and defied the odds, eventually becoming the state’s largest religious minority.

The religion, which emphasizes the spiritual unity of all humankind, arrived in the United States from the Middle East at the end of the nineteenth century via urban areas in the Northeast and Midwest. Expatriate South Carolinians converted and when they returned home, they brought their newfound religion with them. Despite frequently being the targets of intimidation, and even violence, by neighbors, the Ku Klux Klan, law enforcement agencies, government officials, and conservative clergymen, the Bahá’ís remained resolute in their faith and their commitment to an interracial spiritual democracy. In the latter half of the twentieth century, their numbers continued to grow, from several hundred to over twenty thousand.

In No Jim Crow Church: The Origins of South Carolina’s Bahá’í Community, Louis Venters traces the history of South Carolina’s Bahá’í community from its early origins through the civil rights era and presents an organizational, social, and intellectual history of the movement. He relates developments within the community to changes in society at large, with particular attention to race relations and the civil rights struggle. Venters argues that the Bahá’ís in South Carolina represented a significant, sustained, spiritually-based challenge to the ideology and structures of white male Protestant supremacy, while exploring how the emergence of the Bahá’í Faith in the Deep South played a role in the cultural and structural evolution of the religion.

Louis Venters is associate professor of history at Francis Marion University.

A volume in the series Other Southerners, edited by John David Smith

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: African American Studies, Civil Rights, History, Publication Announcement

Author:University Press of Florida

Subscribe

Subscribe to our RSS feed and social profiles to receive updates.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. What SUP From Your Favorite University Presses, October 9th, 2015 - Yale Press Log - October 9, 2015

    […] The University Press of Florida analyzes the emergence of a dangerous interracial fellowship in Jim Crow-era South Carolina: the Bahá’í Faith. Members of this religious community rejected segregation and advocated for an interracial spiritual democracy. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: