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Interracialism and American Christianitylocked

  • Phillip Luke SinitierePhillip Luke SinitiereCollege of Biblical Studies


In its broadest sense, interracialism in American Christianity refers to constructive social interactions and collaboration across racial and ethnic boundaries—existential engagement inspired by religious ideals and religious teachings—in the interest of undercutting sanctioned divisions. Terms such as “racial interchange,” “desegregation,” “integration,” and “cross-racial” also refer to the broader ideas contained in the term “interracial.” To single out Christianity as a subject of interracial dynamics in American religious history does not deny the existence of cross-racial experiences in other religious traditions such as Buddhism, or even in the various groups within new religious movements. Rather, it reflects the largest range of documented experiences on this subject and synthesizes the major scholarship on this topic. The existence of interracialism in American religion also assumes the entanglement of race and religion. As social constructs, religious ideas and teachings contributed to conceptions of race and its lived realities, while notions of race shaped the development of religious practices, religious institutions, and scriptural interpretations. Interracialism in American religion is a concept that portends the possibility of political, social, or intellectual unity; in practice it wrestles with power dynamics where factors such as class or gender, as much as race, shapes social relations. In other words, interracialism in American religion has been a transgressive, disruptive presence that defies structures of power; at the very same time, it has exhibited social and expressive habits that reinforce existing arrangements of exploitation and division. Interracialism in American religion has existed in the course of everyday, ordinary human interaction through the spoken and written word, friendship, or sexual relations, for example. Simultaneously, interracialism in American religion has been the programmatic focus of institutional programs or initiatives, carried out by religious leaders and organizations, or supported through denominational efforts. The history of interracialism in American Christianity registers potential for unity or collaboration, while it is always subject to the pitfalls of power relations that subvert the vitality and beauty that are possible through shared experience. Protestant and Catholic Christianity have manifested the most extensive expressions of interracialism in American religion. Interracialism in American religion is in one sense as old as American religious history itself; however, given the racial discrimination written into the nation’s legal code, political system, and economic practice, interracial engagement most especially dawned at the beginning of the 20th century followed by century-long developments that continued into the first decade of the 2000s. Interracialism in American religion is a subject with longitudinal dimensions and contemporary resonance. Enduring and timely, its scholarly provenance spans across many disciplines including the fields of history, theology, literature, and social science. As the scholarship on the subject demonstrates, interracialism and racial interchange rarely produced racial harmony and did not necessarily lead to integration or desegregation; however, these impulses created specific moments of humane recognition that collectively contributed to substantive changes in the direction of racial and social justice.

Early 20th-Century Interracialism

It is imperative to understand antecedents to early 20th-century interracialism by observing selected trends in North America two centuries prior. While interracial contact took place across the American religious landscape before the 1900s, more often than not it showed snapshot moments of cross-racial encounter rather than sustained exchange designed to subvert oppression. Unequal power relations, coupled with economic motivations as well as religious ideas rooted in concepts of race, and racial ideas buoyed by religious claims, determined the scope of interracial engagement.

In the colonial period, for example, black Christians worshipped and spoke at religious services held by the British Anglican preacher George Whitefield. Africans testified during his revivals, much to the chagrin of some of the Great Awakening’s participants. Whitefield supported evangelization of Africans in North America and like some other Anglo Christians of the period promoted a kind of spiritual egalitarianism between Europeans and Africans; however, also like other Anglo Christians of the time, Whitefield did not see black people as social or political equals and therefore supported slavery. Elsewhere during the colonial period, free Africans fellowshipped with Anglo Christians. Black minister and abolitionist Lemuel Haynes led a predominantly white congregation in Vermont, for instance, and Rebecca Protten’s missionary endeavors concentrated on locations across the Atlantic world. Born on the Caribbean island of St. Thomas, Protten’s enslavement in the Atlantic system ended around the age of twelve, after which she worked as a missionary, and eventually traveled to Germany for fellowship with like-minded Christians. Moravian missionaries conducted evangelistic campaigns in the Caribbean; Protten accepted the missionary’s message and later married a Moravian minister. While this interracial union did not last, Protten’s story exemplifies another unique experience of cross-racial encounter in the colonial era.1

Later, during the 19th century, and most especially during the post–Civil War period, interracial contact continued to take place in the realm of missionary work. White missionaries traveled to the Southern United States in support of denominationally sponsored educational initiatives. Denominationally affiliated HBCUs, for example, such as Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Morehouse and Spelman in Atlanta, stood as institutional witnesses to American Baptist efforts under the auspices of the American Baptist Home Mission Society. Similarly, Baptist missionaries carried out work among Native Americans, as well as Chinese laborers in the American west. Deep notions of racial and religious hierarchies defined how missionaries related to the groups they aimed to evangelize, not to mention both the financial opportunities and constraints that shaped the ability to travel. Furthermore, legislative actions such as the Chinese Exclusion Act in response to the influx of immigrants stoked racialized fears and violence. At the same time, spiritualized goals of conversion and Christianization at the individual, institutional, and national levels fostered interracial contact—and initiatives against nativist violence and Jim Crow racism, for instance—even if the circumstances of political and social context hampered the attainment of material or legal equality.2

The stories referenced above illustrate the constellation of factors—race, class, gender, power, nationalism, and religion, to name only a few, along with institutional and individual expressions of those factors—that inspired and shaped interracialism and American religion during the 20th century.

The social-gospel movement was one area that constituted some of the most important aspects of Christian interracialism during the early 1900s. In the realm of social Christianity, from educational initiatives, housing reforms, exposure to international culture, and uplift philosophies to social organizations such as the YMCA, the YWCA, and various women’s clubs, and the broader influence of liberal Protestantism’s support of cultural cosmopolitanism, Progressive Era activities across racial lines exemplified both promising and problematic dimensions of interracialism in American religion.

On the point of international travel, some liberal white Protestants who engaged in missionary work, despite the imperialistic context in which these endeavors took place, nevertheless at times recalibrated racial and cultural understanding upon returning to U.S. society. The YWCA was one space that hosted interracial engagements in the hopes of delivering historical understanding, cultural knowledge, and ultimately collaboration across the color line in the pursuit of justice. Such was the experience of Minnesotan activist, educator, and organizer Anna Arnold Hedgeman. While Hedgeman had experienced bristling racism in both the North and in the South, and had witnessed the devastating impact of economic inequality and racial segregation, she did have positive interactions with a few white people, often in Christian interracial situations. She possessed deep reservations about Christians who maintained commitments to segregation and faith in Jesus Christ. However, at times Hedgeman experienced interracial fellowship in congregations in New York City, for example, and among some sympathetic women whose exposure to the color line across the globe recast an approach to dealing with racism in the United States from the vantage point of social Christianity.3

One 20th-century chapter in Howard Thurman’s life, not long after Hedgeman’s experiences, presents another example of how a kind of liberal Protestant internationalism reshaped interracialist initiatives at home. A well-known theologian and pastor in Washington, DC and Boston, as well as a spiritual and philosophical mentor to numerous luminaries in the black-freedom struggle, Thurman also cofounded one of the most important, and earliest, interracial congregations in the United States. Part of what inspired his cross-racial commitments materialized after meeting Mahatma Gandhi on an international excursion to India in the 1930s related to student work within the YMCA and YWCA. In response to the question of the Christian church’s support of and complicity in upholding a racist society—which Thurman received over and over in his travels to Asia—he resolved: “We knew that we must test whether a religious fellowship could be developed in America that was capable of cutting across all racial barriers, with a carry-over into common life, a fellowship that would alter the behavior patterns of those involved.” The fellowship about which Thurman commented was cross-cultural and interracial in character. “It became imperative now to find out if experiences of spiritual unity among people could be more compelling than the experiences which divided them.”4 The practical manifestation of Thurman’s answer was cofounding an interracial congregation called the Church For the Fellowship of All Peoples (often called Fellowship Church) in San Francisco with white Presbyterian minister Alfred Fisk. In one of Fellowship Church’s founding creeds, Thurman wrote, “I desire to have a part in the unfolding ideal of Christian Fellowship through the union of men and women of varying national, cultural and racial heritage, in church communion.”5 The congregation experienced substantial growth and worked assiduously to maintain its interracial character and public witness, something black scholar W. E. B. Du Bois noticed during a visit to Fellowship Church in the 1940s. Also a keen observer of international affairs in light of domestic racial issues within the United States, Du Bois’s commentary on the pronounced interracial possibility Fellowship Church held connected to the global shape of Thurman’s own vision for interracialism in American religion.6

The relationship between Nannie Burroughs and Annie Armstrong also speaks to this history of social Christianity. Burroughs, a powerful black woman whose benevolence and fundraising aimed to challenge discrimination within the Christian church (in particular, her work with the National Baptist Convention), through writing, speaking, and interracial activism addressed the fierce anti-black violence that imperiled America during the late-1800s and early 1900s. Baltimore-born white Southern Baptist Annie Armstrong, active in denominational outreach and women’s reform, assisted in cross-racial cooperation with figures such as Burroughs. They collaborated on religious educational activities through the distribution of Sunday-school instructional materials, and aimed to achieve institutional changes within their respective denominations to elevate women’s work and voices. Similarly, Methodist women displayed a commitment to justice through organizations such as the Women’s Committee of the Commission on Interracial Cooperation, the Bureau of Christian Social Relations, the Woman’s Society of Christian Service, and the Fellowship of the Concerned. White members of these organizations underwent racial awakenings as black women testified to harrowing, inhumane, and racist treatment in U.S. society, and as integrated prayer fellowships and voter registration drives braided together hearts and hands. While Armstrong possessed a white paternalism Burroughs found offensive and therefore shows a problematic dimension to interracial activity of the social-gospel era, their shared experiences and constructive accomplishments, like the Methodist women as well, demonstrated the potential of interracial work for lasting religious, social, and political change, some of which flowered in the post–World War II civil-rights period.7

The rise of American Pentecostalism overlapped longitudinally with the Progressive Era and presents another chapter in American religious history that revealed aspects of interracialism. Like Christians concerned with social Christianity, Pentecostals desired that their faith influence the visible world even as their religious perspective emphasized unseen elements of divinity and spiritual power. Birthed out of the holiness movement in the 19th century that fixated on the quest for moral perfectionism, Pentecostalism touted apostolic credentials by narrating a historical and spiritual connection between early Christian ecstatic expressions such as speaking in tongues found in the New Testament book of Acts and contemporary manifestations of the Holy Spirit, which sometimes included divine healing. Figures such as Charles Fox Parham, a white Christian who had a Bible school in Kansas, and African American William Seymour, a native of Louisiana, eventually found their way to Los Angeles, where U.S. Pentecostalism started in 1906. Although it did not last long, the Azusa Street genesis of American Pentecostalism featured early moments of biracial experiences and interracial Christian fellowship.8

Along with Parham and Seymour, a black man from Mississippi named Charles H. Mason participated in the Azusa revivals, as did a Latino couple from Mexico, Abundio and Rosa López. Sermons and teachings promoted the possibility of God’s immediate presence, the centrality of the salvation experience, the necessity to evangelize and spread the message of God’s love in Christ manifested in displays of spiritual gifts, and the power of the Holy Spirit’s performance by participants engaging in speaking in tongues. In the Pentecostal periodical Apostolic Faith, the Lópezes proclaimed, “We testify to the power of the Holy Spirit in forgiveness, sanctification, and the baptism with the Holy Ghost and fire. We give thanks to God for this wonderful gift which we have received from him. Thanks be to God for the Spirit which brought us to the Azusa Street Mission, the Apostolic faith, old-time religion, I and my wife, on the 29th of last May.”9 A black woman named Lucy Farrow also contributed to the services musically by playing the piano and singing. One observer recorded that as Farrow struck the keys, “she broke out in singing in a language that I could not understand … And when she started singing in tongues and accompanying herself on the piano, and it all seemed to be so harmonious and beautiful … And we noticed that those who were down on their knees praying, began speaking in other tongues.”10

The palpable energy of the interracial services deeply moved the Pentecostals present, while it puzzled, even offended, curious observers and local journalists. In a well-publicized report, the Los Angeles Times noted that the “weird babel of tongues” Pentecostals produced included a cross-class, cross-racial coalition of worshippers. “Meetings are held in a tumble-down shack,” the paper described in disdainful terms, and “devotees of the weird doctrine practice the most fanatical rites, preach the wildest theories and work themselves into a state of mad excitement in their peculiar zeal. Colored people and a sprinkling of whites compose the congregation, and night is made hideous in the neighborhood by the howlings of the worshippers who spend hours swaying forth and back in a nerve-racking attitude of prayer and supplication.” The Times described Seymour as an “old colored exhort” who “yells his defiance and challenges an answer,” a reference to the call and response of black preaching. The report also noted the presence of a black female worshipper who was “swinging her harms wildly about her, she continues with the strangest harangue ever uttered. Few of her words are intelligible, and for the most part her testimony contains the most outrageous jumble of syllables, which are listened to with awe by the company.”11 While the Times article dismissed the revivals with uninhibited racialized and religious skepticism, it also captured early interracial moments at Azusa Street. Outside of Azusa Street, in Harlem the Louisiana-born minister Robert Lawson forged an interracial Pentecostalism during the Harlem Renaissance. While his social engagement reflected religious commitments, his 1925 book The Anthropology of Jesus Christ Our Kinsman offered a theological rationale for practical interracial Christianity expressed through a prayer with which he ended his book. “O God, who has made man in thine own likeness, and who doth love all whom Thou hast made, suffer us not because of difference of race, color or condition to separate ourselves from others and thereby from Thee; but teach us the unity of Thy family and universality of Thy Love,” Lawson prayed. “As Thou Savior, as a Son, was born of an Hebrew mother, who had the blood of many nations in her veins … [and] rejoiced in the faith of a Syro-Phoenician woman and of a Roman soldier, and suffered your cross to be carried by an Ethiopian; teach us, also, while loving and serving our own, to enter into the communion of the whole human family.”12

The revivals did not produce a racial utopia even though spiritual proclamations elicited hope otherwise and even though Pentecostal publications imagined interracial possibilities; a few short years later just prior to World War I, racial divisions conformed to the era’s color line such that separate Pentecostal denominations emerged, including the Church of God in Christ, or COGIC, under the leadership of Charles H. Mason, and the predominantly white Assemblies of God and Church of God (Cleveland and Tennessee, respectively). While modes of Pentecostal worship across the color line disclosed folk customs within African American culture, this early moment of biracial Christian worship gave way to racial exclusivity entrenched firmly into American law, custom, and religion.13

Catholic Interracialism in the 20th Century

Meanwhile, Catholic interracial work during the same period documented both convergences and conflicts across racial and ethnic lines. Despite the strong ethnic affiliations and networks within Catholic communities in the United States, some priests and numerous lay leaders across the country envisioned an integrated assembly of the faithful who also worked equally diligently for justice through material and political changes in American society. If interracial Christian activity among Protestants found some of its emphasis in the U.S. South during the early 1900s, then Catholic interracialism’s localized influence took place in the North and emanated from places such as Chicago, New York City, and Philadelphia, among other locations. Organizations in the early 20th century such as the Federated Colored Catholics, a lay organization started by Joseph Turner and the Catholic Interracial Council, founded by Jesuit priest Fr. John LaFarge, employed Catholic teachings to mobilize spiritual and structural change. Individual Catholics such as African American Arthur Falls, and interracial alliances like Friendship House that Ann Harrigan, Catherine de Hueck, and Ellen Tarry founded in Chicago, demonstrated the possibility of Catholic religious work across the color line. Like Protestant interracialists, Catholic interracial activity captured moments of mutual recognition while it produced no racial utopia; however, the fruit of its work inspired post–World War II Catholic efforts for social, racial, and economic justice.14

The work of Arthur Falls, a Chicago doctor who was also a member of the National Urban League, through a local Catholic Worker chapter, converged with the efforts of Chicago Inter-student Catholic Action, an organization of young white Catholics. Interracial collaboration, as Falls put it, sought to align “white and colored Catholics for mutual enterprise.” Interracial work in Chicago also took place at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary. Seminary rector Reynold Hillenbrand supported interracial activism by inviting speakers to present on the subject of racial and economic equality and teaching summer courses on social outreach to African Americans. Including interracial thought, discussions, and experiences within a seminary educational context, Hillenbrand also promoted economic equality through a committed anticommunism, which presented to priests and priests-in-training the labor question not just as a material issue, but a moral concern as well. In these cases, both lay people and Catholic leaders forged contacts and connections that resulted in various interracial activities.15

Harrigan, de Heuck, and Tarry’s work at Friendship House built on broader Catholic conceptions of structural inequality in modern capitalist society even as it promoted the importance of friendships and relationships across racial and ethnic lines. Catholic teaching known as the Mystical Body of Christ—the idea that the Holy Spirit mystically united people of all backgrounds and situations in the Body of Christ under the leadership of Jesus Christ—rooted religious activities that prized racial unity, social harmony, and political equality. Catholic interracial perspectives at Friendship House thus held that all people were equal; Harragan stated that “whether a man be a capitalist, a communist, a Negro, a Jew, a Protestant, etc., he is our brother because ALL MEN ARE OUR BROTHERS.” New Testament verses from Matthew 25 about feeding the hungry and clothing the naked also became foundational teachings at Friendship House. Conceptualizing Christian love to friends and neighbors in material ways led white Catholic interracialists such as Harrigan to imagine Jesus as black, which emphasized the dismantling of injustice in both church and society. The integrated social spaces that Friendship House harbored allowed for interracial contact and created the potential for friendships and collaborations to take place; its focus on housing, education, and social outreach through a meal-sharing initiative in which black and white people dined together in one another’s homes aimed to address localized impacts of racism in Chicago and model ways to extend Christ’s love into the community. These experiences prompted a black volunteer at Friendship House, Gerry Adams, to observe, “I really went there kind of seeing for the first time that Black and White people could live together … my experience had been that … It was just impossible for us to live together.” While Friendship House’s vision of interracial unity across racial and economic lines held considerable promise, in practical terms its mission met with resistance on many levels even though its institutional testimony in broader U.S. society portended the possibility of future change with the establishment of Friendship Houses in Wisconsin, Louisiana, Portland, and Washington, DC, and later Canada.16

In continuity with earlier efforts, Roman Catholics were also very active through interracial work during the modern civil-rights period. Resulting from changing opinion at the level of U.S. Catholic leadership, interracial initiatives were carried out in Chicago, Saint Louis, MO, and San Antonio, TX, for instance. Catholic social-justice work in collaboration with the broader black-freedom struggle such as the Young Christian Students continued to make traction in both political and religious circles. Due to the work and urging of Catholic interracialists—including Josephite priests such as Fr. William Morrissey, who oversaw Holy Family Catholic parish in Natchez, Mississippi, during the civil-rights period, and robustly supported black freedom—the church displayed a fuller acknowledgment of white supremacy’s role in religious, political, and economic segregation, and indicated more structural solutions to racial discrimination. At the same time, not every Catholic Church leader supported social and racial justice; struggles persisted to integrate local parishes according to religious principles of justice and equality.17

Selma, and the well-documented 1965 march, illustrates Catholic interracial work in the South. One example is the ministry of Fr. Maurice Ouellet, a priest at St. Elizabeth’s and ordained in the Society of St. Edmund. Local parish obligations occupied his time, as did his passionate support for black voting rights, especially through the prodding and encouragement of Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) activist Bernard Lafayette. While Fr. Ouellet attempted to build bridges between Selma’s moderate whites and African American residents, he soon found his life threatened by vicious segregationists. In the midst of threats to his life, the committed priest recalled that a deep religious faith and connection with like-minded black people and clergy fortified his resolve. “The two of us decided that day that our lives were very much in danger, but we were men of peace and wanted to remain non-violent. We were just going to put it [our fate] in the hands of God and whatever happened, happened,” Ouellet stated; “They could threaten what they wanted; we were just going to go on and do what we thought was the right thing.” Despite his deep commitment to interracial Christian witness and racial justice, the archbishop who presided over Ouellet’s diocese removed the prophetic priest from his congregation and sent him to Edmundite headquarters in Vermont. While church leaders had removed Fr. Ouellet from Selma—to the great dismay of African Americans in Selma who sent nearly 900 letters to the archbishop in protest of his ouster—he stayed close to the struggle through speaking engagements and training future priests in both the Christian religion and the development of a social conscience.18

Interracialism and the Modern Civil-Rights Movement

The period of the Great Depression and New Deal did much to foster opportunities for interracial experiences. Shared economic struggles sometimes melded religious and racial interests that inspired moments of racial interchange, particularly among some radical and progressive Southern initiatives that campaigned against lynching, organized union activity, and worked for desegregation. Organizations such as the Fellowship of the Concerned, the Southern Conference for Human Welfare, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the Journey of Reconciliation, and the Highlander Folk School carried out some of this work, which also included members of the Quaker tradition, a Christian group long involved in antiracism. Comporting with trends earlier in the century, mainline Protestants who had global experience through missionary work—men and women David Hollinger calls “missionary cosmopolitans”—carried out consequential racial and social justice work that produced new scholarship and theological reflection, the integration of educational institutions, and pursued other innovative antiracist activism in the context of interracial alliances. This historical backdrop also helps to contextualize some of the interracial activities that constitute part of the modern black-freedom struggle. One of the most richly documented of interracialism’s chapters in American history is the period from the 1930s through the 1960s.19

During the New Deal era, white Presbyterian Claude Williams and black Baptist Owen Whitfield joined forces in the interest of interracial Christian witness, racial justice, and economic equality. Both southerners had experienced the economic disaster of the Great Depression and found unsatisfying a spiritualized Protestant Christianity that offered platitudes in response to capitalism’s pressing problems. Whether in their pulpits preaching or in the streets organizing, Williams and Whitfield offered a gospel for the working class designed to put feet on the ground and hands to work. It was a gospel about everyday life for the working class, a message about how to energize fatigued bodies, to revolutionize and rebuild broken spirits, and to feed hungry stomachs, not about biding time until reaching an unseen heavenly paradise.20

During a 1936 sermon at Whitfield’s church, Williams proclaimed, “We have to build the Kingdom of God on earth … The Kingdom is not of this world, but it is in this world. What Jesus meant by ‘world’ was the social order … Jesus said, ‘Blessed are the poor’—why? Because they are the ones that need the Kingdom—they are the ones that will bring it, because they need it.” In a speech three years later, Whitfield echoed a similar sentiment. “I am preaching now about a present God in the hearts and minds of men—the brotherhood of man and I am seeking to build a heaven here on earth.” Eventually, after many seasons of union work coupled with pastoral and educational labors, they collaborated on the People’s Institute of Applied Religion (PAIR), an organization aimed at promoting authentic faith through action, and putting into practice economic strategies for the working class’s survival based on communalist teachings of Christianity. Just like Williams’s sermons and Whitfield’s orations, PAIR preached that people should become the answers to their prayers. The interracial alliance of Whitfield and Williams embodied a unity across the lines of class and race. While the struggle was never easy and met frequently with resistance and difficulty, the pair’s gospel for the working class realized the tandem power of equality in Christ and economic democracy.21

Rooted in the soil of Georgia during the very same years Williams and Whitfield aligned, Clarence Jordan’s working-class gospel manifested itself in a cooperative project known as Koinonia Farm. A Georgia-born Southern Baptist with a PhD in New Testament theology, Jordan’s response to white Southern Baptist failure to embody Christian koinonia—the Greek term for community—enlivened his commitment and devotion to economic equality through collective, interracial Christianity. Koinonia members learned agriculture and farming collectively, and prayed, fellowshipped, and lived together. Agricultural labor was demanding and time intensive, as was the pursuit of interracial Christianity. Predictably, white racists roared in response to Koinonia Farm’s progressive actions. Klan activities, in concert with local political and church leaders, attempted to shutter the cooperative operation through intimidation, violence, and vandalism. Anticommunist opinion also targeted Koinonia Farm by labeling their work and witness subversive. While progressive civil-rights activists and leaders extolled Koinonia’s interracial work, and even in the midst of Koinonia’s support for civil-rights efforts, external hostility put immense pressure on members and their families. Although Jordan died in 1969, Koinonia continued to pursue its twin philosophies of interracial witness and economic development.22

While Jordan’s physical presence at Koinonia ceased with his death, his words offered life for his followers in the form of his “Cotton Patch” translations of New Testament writings. Jordan wished for the Bible to speak to ordinary, working-class people in familiar terms of everyday language. “By stripping away the fancy language, the artificial piety, and the barriers of time and distance,” Jordan wrote, “this version puts Jesus and his people in the midst of our modern world, living where we live, talking as we talk, working, hurting, praying, bleeding, dying, conquering, alongside the rest of us.”23 His translation of the New Testament book of Galatians, what he retitled “The Letter to the Churches of the Georgia Convention,” reiterated the 1st-century Jewish–Gentile relationship for contemporary readers: “No more is one a white man and another a Negro; no more is one a slave and the other a free man; no longer is one a male and the other a female. For you are as one in Christ Jesus.”24 While Clarence Jordan’s Christian commitments persuaded him to embrace an interracial existence through establishing and maintaining Koinonia Farm, his training as a scholar of the New Testament equipped him to add scriptural sanction to the racial interchange he longed to see.

A decade after Jordan founded Koinina Farm, and during the same time that local Georgia residents fiercely resisted his religious and racial communalism, a fellow white minister named Robert Graetz suffered congruent recrimination in Montgomery. As the white pastor of an all-black Lutheran congregation called Trinity Lutheran Church, Graetz’s ministry reflected an interracialism in which he was a minority. Graetz’s racial awakening occurred in college, as his exposure to systemic injustice instigated a deep commitment to racial and economic justice in the context of training to preach. His 1955 arrival in Montgomery on the eve of the well-known bus boycott, along with his service to the Montgomery Improvement Association as the only white member, legitimated his reputation among African Americans. Graetz’s support for and participation in the boycott stirred up profound racial resentment among the city’s white civil and religious elite and led to the Klan bombing his house on two occasions. Like Jordan, Graetz found in the Bible a rationale for his interracial vision of goodwill and equality. During the 382 days of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Graetz preached sermons on love and courage based on the New Testament book of Matthew. From Galatians 3—the same passage that Clarence Jordan commented on—he gave a sermon titled “The Melting Pot of the Gospel” on interracial unity.25 While Graetz stayed in Montgomery for only a few years after the successful boycott, Martin Luther King recalled his devotion to interracialism in his 1958 book Stride Toward Freedom: “These were the people with whom, from the beginning [of the boycott] I had worked most closely … This boyish-looking white minster of the Negro Trinity Lutheran Church was a constant reminder to us in the trying months of the protest that many white people as well as Negroes were applying the ‘love-thy-neighbor-as-thyself’ teachings of Christianity in their daily lives.”26

Along with Baptists and Lutherans, among many other Protestant groups, the Mennonite church contributed to interracialism in American religious history. Founded by Menno Simons during the Reformation, Mennonites in the mid-20th-century United States connected to the broader evangelical movement in terms of theological understanding of the Bible, sin, grace, and salvation, while they sometimes parted ways with conservative evangelicals on the point of social activity and outreach in wider society. Community Mennonite Church and Woodlawn Mennonite Church in Chicago illustrate the potential of interracial ministry, while they also highlight the problem of separation within cross-racial congregational settings. African American Mennonite, historian, and civil-rights activist Vincent Harding pastored at Woodlawn in the 1950s. About this congregation and denomination, he stated, “There were people there who were trying to develop a multiracial congregation. And the people who were attracted to that, people from the community both black and white, were encouragers. They were people who saw the possibilities of democratic multiracial development. And I wanted to try it out, live it out, experiment with it. And they were of great encouragement to me; just to know and see people like that.”27 A well-known minister and activist committed to racial justice, at the invitation of Pastor Ron Krehbiel, Harding preached at Community Mennonite in the late 1950s. Harding’s powerful oration encouraged activism and service as it simultaneously challenged the white privilege of Community Mennonite’s Anglo constituents. When the church leadership council voted to accept into the congregation people of all backgrounds, numerous members departed. The following decade under new leadership, Pastor Larry Voth continued to welcome black members as the surrounding community became largely African American. Again, some members left as the congregation’s composition changed, while others supported the increasingly integrated, interracial church.28

Mennonite missions affected communities elsewhere across the country. Not long after the episodes involving Harding and Community Mennonite Church in Chicago, Latino Mennonites became involved in religiously motivated civil-rights activities during the overlapping freedom struggles of African Americans and Chicanos that involved both the pastors and parishioners in the wider Mennonite church. By the late 1960s, the Minority Ministry Council (MMC) of the Mennonite church displayed interracial and inter-ethnic ties in the interest of social and economic justice. Due to the words and actions of individuals such as Lupe De León, a Mathis, Texas, native inspired by both his Christian faith and the Chicano movement, the MMC acknowledged the distinctive cultural identities of Latino people. Alliances fostered between Latinos and African Americans challenged the racial exclusivity of the Mennonite Church and emphasized a shared religious vision of faith in Jesus Christ. On the matters of religious faith and ethnic identity in Mennonite culture, faith leaders such as Tomás Chávez persuasively promoted the importance of interracial witness during the days of the civil-rights movement: “Why must we become an Anglo?,” he stated, “I heard Christ say that He was the Christ of all nations—not just one.”29

Whereas religious professionals pursued interracial activities in more formalized congregational settings, or in the context of agricultural cooperatives, in the modern black-freedom movement students joined their voices and actions to the struggles for racial and economic justice. Some students participated in organization activities and shared congregational and social work through the mainline Protestant Student Interracial Ministry, while others attempted to desegregate churches in the South through the direct action tactic of kneel-ins. Throughout the 1960s, students conducted interracial desegregation campaigns in Tallahahassee and St. Augustine, Florida, and in Durham, Raleigh, and Wilson, North Carolina; in Tuskegee, Alabama, and Memphis, Tennessee, as well as Farmville, Americus, and Augusta, Georgia, and in Houston, Texas.30

Illustrative of this trend, at First Baptist Church in Atlanta several SNCC members attempted to enter the sanctuary in 1960; rebuffed and removed, three years later white Baptist students joined black students and attempted to desegregate the congregation through interracial witness. Southern Baptist justice advocate Ashton Jones, then in his sixties, also worked on this interracial desegregation campaign. Rather than face the fact of their religious hypocrisy of racial exclusion, white church leaders blamed the congregational tensions on the political motivations of protests. Because of this particular kneel-in, First Baptist Atlanta voted to have open congregational seating. However, given the congregation’s status in the city, this move seemed more about public optics of respectability than an attempt at promoting any sort of religious interracial equality.31

Meanwhile, titanic struggles took place in some of Memphis’s leading Presbyterian congregations. At Second Presbyterian Church, for example, students from Southwestern College (which later became Rhodes College) initiated activities to desegregate the congregation. Well-known civil-rights activist James Lawson trained these students in nonviolent protest. As in Atlanta, church officials in Memphis barred entrance to the student agitators, who then assumed worshipful postures by praying on the steps and sidewalks outside of the church. These actions eventually split the congregation in Memphis, and served as an index of congregational and denominational tensions sparked by the witness of interracial Christianity. Like elsewhere in the nation at this time, interracial Christian witness inspired substantial changes not just in attitudes but also in policies of inclusion and equality, while it simultaneously motivated trenchant defenses of segregationist Christianity that were being toppled by the crashing waves of the civil rights movement.32

Interracialism and Contemporary American Religion

Glimpses at developments within African American Eastern Orthodox Christianity and recent moments within American evangelicalism help to bring interracialism’s history up to the present period, and detail some of its difficulties. These key moments also shed light on the promise of interracial experience even in the midst of evangelicalism’s challenges to address invasive and seemingly intractable racial division.

Greek or Russian ethnic traditions often receive the bulk of attention within Eastern Orthodox Christianity in the United States. However, in recent years a growing number of Protestant converts have started to populate and therefore reshape American Orthodoxy. For African Americans who have become Eastern Orthodox, the redrawn boundaries of religious identity, while it did not eliminate racism or ethnocentric bigotry within American Orthodoxy, have resulted in unique interracial communities and experiences within American Christianity.33

One prominent figure in African American Orthodoxy is Fr. Moses Berry, a black priest in a small southwestern Missouri town called Ash Grove. Berry became Orthodox in the 1980s and eventually founded an organization called the Brotherhood of St. Moses the Black. The organization seeks to educate Orthodox Christians in the religious history of Orthodoxy—especially the early tradition of Egyptian monasticism—and African American culture. By the late 1990s, the Brotherhood started hosting conferences with like-minded African American Orthodox Christians and fellow travelers. On such participant was Fr. Paisius Altschul, a white Orthodox priest married to an African American woman. The couple collaborated with Berry in an urban Kansas City nonprofit called “Reconciliation Ministries” that addresses racial justice, economic empowerment, and homelessness. A collection of conference essays titled An Unbroken Circle: Linking Ancient African Christianity to the African-American Experience (1997), to which both Altschul and Berry were key contributors, explains the group’s emphasis on linking ancient, pre-European African Christianity and contemporary African American experience for the purpose of coupling historical linkages with spiritual teaching about suffering, redemption, justice, and love. Philosophically, this presentation of the past within the present offers a kind of spiritualized, Christianized aspect of Afrocentric thought, but a cultural orientation with room to include people of all backgrounds.34

Historian Albert Raboteau, a scholar of slavery, and partner in an interracial marriage, converted to Orthodoxy in the 1990s and lent his considerable expertise to fleshing out historical connections between slave religion and ancient African Christianity. He has participated in the ancient African Christianity conferences and contributed to An Unbroken Circle. Raboteau’s work pointed to the African religious sensibility that all of life is sacred yet indelibility connected to the material dimensions of the visible world, and manifested in everyday religious rituals within a communal context. His writing on Orthodoxy identifies the tone of “sorrowful joy” that recognizes a certain redemptive element within suffering. In this reading of history, violent death in North American chattel slavery, when considered within the long history of early Christian persecution in Egypt, became a kind of modern martyrdom in which contemporary African American Orthodox Christians viewed slave martyrs from the standpoint of faith and witness.35 In A Fire in the Bones, a collection of essays and personal reflections published after his conversion, Raboteau explains the instructive nature of historical reflection. “Studying other times and places is like a journey,” he observes, “whose purpose is not only to interest but also to change the traveler … [it allows one] “[t]o familiarize the alien and to alienate the familiar.” Furthermore, “the existential dimensions of religion as resources for people facing the perennial questions of the human condition, questions of meaning raised by suffering, sickness, and death, require deeper reflection and more sensitive analysis.” Raboteau’s rendering of history’s practicality used the “existential dimensions of religion as resources” to imbue African American Eastern Orthodoxy with a unique saliency and a spiritual potency, dimensions that when coupled with the experiences of Berry and Altschul, among others, reflect a unique expression of interracialism in American religion.36

While American evangelicalism played a major role in the contemporary black-freedom struggle by opposing the advancement of racial equality, the movement also possesses historical chapters that capture vivid displays of humanity and justice, some of them the result of missionary work abroad that provided new lenses with which to view domestic issues across the United States.37 The story of Mississippi-born pastor, activist, and teacher John M. Perkins spotlights this part of interracialism’s history within U.S. evangelicalism. Raised in stilting poverty in the deep South and working cotton during the Depression years of the 1930s, as a teenager Perkins left Mississippi for California in 1947 after police officers shot and killed his brother, a decorated World War II veteran. Upon a conversion to Christianity in California, Perkins and his wife Vera Mae returned to Mississippi in 1960 committed to racial and economic justice. Ten years later, Perkins’s efforts at preaching, voter registration, and economic change led to a severe jailhouse beating that nearly ended his life. After recovering, Perkins maintained his social-justice efforts in programs that combined Bible study, economic development, youth mentoring, education and job training, medical facilities, housing, leadership instruction, and racial justice, what he termed a “whole gospel.”38

Perkins and his supporters, including many family members, realized these efforts institutionally in Mississippi through Voice of Calvary Ministries and Mendenhall Ministries, as well as Harambee Ministries in California. Interracialism formed a key part of Perkins’s work in the relationship between white and black evangelicals. “If Christ is Savior, He must be Lord,” wrote Perkins in his 1976 memoir Let Justice Roll Down, “Lord over such areas as spending, racial attitudes and business dealings. The gospel must be allowed to penetrate the white consciousness as well as the black consciousness.”39 By the late 1980s, Perkins organized the Christian Community Redevelopment Association that crystalized his practical evangelical philosophy of the “three R’s”: relocation, redistribution, and reconciliation. Some of Perkins’s efforts also found expression in programs such as Mission Mississippi, a racial-reconciliation program. Perkins’s work and outreach sought to rebuild impoverished communities from the bottom up by maintaining a physical presence in the community, allocating and redistributing resources collectively, and preaching a “whole gospel” for black and white Christians that coupled spiritual insight from the Bible with social action inspired by Jesus Christ’s teachings about love for God and neighbor, especially the poor.40

Efforts among progressive evangelicals in the 1960s, 1970s, and after displayed philosophies and activities congruent with Perkins’s work in Mississippi and California. White and black evangelicals joined forces in the interest of interracial Christianity and racial and economic justice. For example, a white journalist, political radical, professor, and passionate evangelical John Alexander along with his father Fred began to publish a periodical in the mid-1960s called Freedom Now (later renamed The Other Side). Headquartered in Chicago, a city with its own history of both racial division and interracial activity, the journal showcased evangelical rationales for racial inclusivity, cross-racial witness, and economic equality. Writers for Alexander’s magazine included John Perkins, along with prominent African American evangelicals Tom Skinner, based in Harlem, and Detroit’s William Pannell. Skinner and Pannell’s books also created a stir within evangelical circles, as their words and ideas exposed evangelicalism’s collusion with white supremacy while also offering biblical, theological rationales for interracial fellowship and collaboration. Other white leftist evangelicals such as Jim Wallis promoted similar interracial interests through print media in a publication called Post-American that later became Sojourners. The writing of Perkins, Skinner, and Pannell also appeared on the pages of Sojourners, as did the work of William Bentley, the National Black Evangelical Association president. In print periodicals, an interracial coalition of progressive evangelical pastors, activists, and church leaders condemned individual acts of racial brutality and attempted to forge solutions to systemic inequality and human freedom through the combined efforts of evangelical religious teaching and social change.41

While in the recent past evangelicals have proposed more overt programs of racial reconciliation, for example through the popular men’s movement in the 1990s Promise Keepers and through more focused attention on establishing and developing multiracial congregations, especially after the ground-breaking book by sociologists Michael O. Emerson and Christian Smith Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America (2000), a brief snapshot of evangelicalism’s intersections with hip-hop culture and rap music offers a final index for understanding interracialism in American religion.

Music, as well as its connection with oral and expressive culture, has long been a space for interracial activity in American religion.42 The recent rise of “Christian Hip Hop,” sometimes rendered CHH, and also known as “Christian rap” or “gospel hip-hop,” emerged in the 1980s with artist Stephen Wiley’s release of the song “Bible Break.” While hip-hop’s history dates to the 1970s in New York City, it quickly affected all of U.S. society as it gave voice to proletarian experiences in predominately nonwhite, but also interracial, communities. In addition, hip-hop’s artistic and creative spaces have also reflected an interracial context, whether in a studio or on the stoop, in a club or concert hall, or through battle raps and freestyle sessions. Wiley’s upbringing in Oklahoma, his experiences in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and eventual connection to the prosperity gospel teachings of white ministers like Kenneth Hagin and black clergy like Frederick K. Price placed him in religious, multiracial settings that shaped the future expansion of Christian rap’s history.43

As hip hop developed in the 1990s and since, from the period of gangsta rap to the popularity of Southern hip hop in the early 2000s, gospel hip-hop emerged as a considerable interracial culture force and creative space within American evangelicalism that mixed race, ethnicity, and gender with religion, theology, and evangelicalism. A group of emcees loosely organized in a segment of gospel hip-hop labeled “Reformed rap” or “Calvinist hip-hop” is part of an intellectual tradition of Reformed Protestantism dubbed “New Calvinism” that prizes divine transcendence, human fallibility, faith in Jesus Christ, and systematic theology. White evangelicals constitute the core of New Calvinism, but Reformed rappers speak and perform at New Calvinist meetings and conferences. In addition, these artists use sermon snippets from white Calvinist preachers such as John Piper in their songs. While some New Calvinists may not fully appreciate the nuanced relationship of gospel hip-hop to hip-hop’s history more generally, the theological nature and depth of Reformed emcees proves attractive from the standpoint of scriptural literacy, theological reflection, and identity formation. Record labels such as Reach, Lamp Mode, and Humble Beast produce the albums of Reformed rappers, and social media through Twitter and Instagram assist in distributing the music and message of Calvinist hip-hop.44

On the points of scriptural literacy and theological reflection, a Chicago-based Reformed emcee named Jackie Hill Perry echoed the teachings of white New Calvinist pastor John Piper in her song “The Argument” from her 2014 project The Art of Joy. A central feature in Piper’s concept of “desiring God” describes an affective satisfaction in Jesus Christ as an aspect of faith. Hill cited Piper’s direct influence in her album. She commented that the question The Art of Joy answers is, “What does it look like when God is our joy, when God is our satisfaction and what does it look like when he’s not?” The album’s opening track “The Argument” Hill makes the connection explicit by stating, “if pleasure is our aim, then we’ll find it when our God is who our target is.”45

If Hill cites the work of a white Christian minister and author as foundational to her project, emcees such as Lecrae and Sho Baraka speak explicitly to racism and the potential redemptive dimension to Christian teaching that might contribute to honest interracial fellowship. Lecrae, a rapper based in Atlanta, produced a song called “Dirty Water” on his 2014 Reach Records project Anomaly. It addresses how white evangelicals promote the success of Christian missionary work in congratulatory ways that paper over its imperialistic nature, especially missions in Africa, while overlooking the unresolved racial divide within American evangelicalism against the backdrop of Christianity’s support of slavery and segregation in the United States. “Champagne, champagne, celebratin’ my campaign, I just dug a well in West Africa, But how many of my friends is African, huh?,” he asks. “Most segregated time of day is Sunday service, Now what you think that say about the God you worship?” While such a message in “Dirty Water” roils the white evangelical audience that makes up a large part of his fan base, Lecrae’s place in hip-hop’s prophetic pulpit presents white evangelicalism’s contradictory postures with a sobering message designed to provoke and encourage: “Faith ain’t bout no soft stuff,” he states in “Dirty Water.” As with other parts of interracialism’s history in American Christianity, collaboration and confrontation across the color line in hip-hop sustains mutual recognition most fully in the context of honest accounting and sober thought.46

The work of fellow Atlanta emcee Sho Baraka lands an equally direct punch to evangelicalism’s racial divisions, while his projects display another kind of interracial engagement through intellectual culture. For example, Baraka’s 2013 Lions and Liars–produced Talented 10th adopted a famous phrase on racial progress coined by W. E. B. Du Bois in the song “Jim Crow,” “I am the invisible man,” which echoed Ralph Ellison’s book of the same title. He challenged white indifference to black suffering, and criticized his Anglo audience for failing to appreciate the wide diversity of black life. Baraka also pushed back against evangelical culture for dichotomizing creativity by forcing black Christian rappers to make a choice between theology and art instead of letting art do its work of truth seeking and truth telling. “I know God is sovereign and I should pray about it,” he raps in reference to Calvinistic teaching, “but a man won’t stop if it increases his profits … So instead of truth they’d rather be duped, I guess they want me to make more songs for youth groups.”

Baraka’s interracial sensibilities continued on his 2016 Humble Beast release The Narrative. An autobiographical track “Road to Humble” explained his experiences with God’s grace from a Calvinistic viewpoint, “I was glad that the Lord found me, because he was never lost. Once blind, but now I see more than I ever saw,” while simultaneously alluding to a multicultural imagination that intentionally overlaps the influences of black and white thinkers and artists. “So, now I mix a little Augustine with Du Bois, A little Selassie I mix it with Mahalia’s joy, A C. S. Lewis mind with some Phillis Wheatley art, A little Sojourner spirit, with a King David heart.” In the New Calvinist movement, the story of King David depicts dramatic conversion and symbolizes divine power to overcome obstacles; 5th-century African Christian intellectual Augustine is a popular author, as is the early 20th-century British writer C. S. Lewis. “Road to Humble” also lists as sources of intellectual and spiritual formation African American scholar W. E. B. Du Bois, Ethiopian leader and Pan-African and Rastafari figure Haile Selassie, and female artists such as singer Mahalia Jackson, 18th-century poet Phyllis Wheatley, and 19th-century abolitionist Sojourner Truth. By spanning time periods and traversing geographical boundaries, Barak’s song signals to his white evangelical listeners the importance of a cross-cultural intellectual heritage that shapes an interracial religious disposition to engage society.

From the West Coast, Los Angeles–based spoken-word artist Propaganda draws insights from history, colonialism, and European theology, as well as an interracial marriage to a Mexican American woman, to fuel his art as a Reformed rapper.47 A 2012 song titled “Precious Puritans” from his project Excellent illustrates a form of hip-hop’s righteous reckoning at the intersection of American evangelicalism’s art, identity, religion, and culture.

Propaganda opens the track by proclaiming that he will “take care of some in-house issues” by which he means the song will confront evangelicalism’s racism and racialized thought that valorizes Puritan theology without regard to the historical context of its exclusionary structure. Flipping the script, Propaganda asks, “You know they were chaplains on slave ships, right?,” and continues with a direct line of questioning that connects to indigenous history: “Would you quote Columbus to Cherokees? Would you quote Cortez to Aztecs?” From these interrogatives, Propaganda states, “Their fore-destined salvation contains a contentment in the stage for which they were given which is to be owned by your forefathers’ superior image-bearing face. Says your precious puritans.” These statements contextualize the origins of Puritan theology by connecting the Reformation-era doctrine of divine election and the Protestant emphasis on evangelization with the onset of colonialism, the birth of racialized capitalism, the transatlantic slave trade, and the practice of chattel slavery in North America. Against the backdrop of this historical framework, the song interrogates the foundations of American exceptionalism, critiques how colorblindness perpetuates racism, blasts Reformed theology’s entanglement with the Confederacy, and questions the artistic depiction of Jesus as white. After such structural critiques of U.S. religious history, Propaganda individualizes his theological claim that “God really does use crooked sticks to make straight lines, just like your precious puritans.”

The evangelical responses to “Precious Puritans” fell predictably along racial lines, but not exclusively so, which dually illustrates Reformed Christianity’s continuing problem with race, but also a song’s potential to provoke interracial alliance. Black evangelical philosopher Anthony Bradley and African American pastor Thabiti Anyabwile supported Propaganda’s historical rendering of the Puritans as racist slave owners committed to profiting from an unjust system, yet added new dimensions to the discussion. Anyabwile cautioned against letting individual disagreement about the song fester into personal animosity, while suggesting that the controversy about the song turn into a moment of theological reckoning and historical learning. Speaking as a philosopher, Bradley commended the song as a way for white evangelicals to increase their “cultural intelligence,” while from a theological standpoint he disclosed an appreciation of the Puritan commitment to “sound doctrine on issues like personal piety” such as prayer and scripture study. Bradley personalizes and theologizes the issues by observing, “what is to be praised is not any class of men but the providence and sovereignty of God that He fulfills his mission through messed up people.” White evangelical theologian Owen Strachan praised Propaganda’s art overall; however, he defended the Puritans by arguing that the song categorizes Puritans so problematically that Christians will fail to appreciate their theological heritage. Such exchanges reveal evangelicalism’s territorial battles over theology, power, and race. They also demonstrate how even in the midst of interracial possibility through cultural and historical learning the practice of theologizing or individualizing matters concerning structural oppression and legalized segregation results in perpetuating the racial division that some evangelicals seek to demolish.48

Review of the Literature

The topic of interracialism in American religion, focused specifically on the history of Christianity, commenced in the late 1990s and continued with significant speed in the early 2000s. Broadly speaking, the social turn in historical studies that took place in the 1960s and 1970s contributed to a scholarly focus on both personal experience and cultural meaning of interracialism in American religion. Coupled in the 1980s and 1990s with the rise of cultural history, multiculturalism, the increasing visibility of conservative religious politics, and the diversifying demographics of the United States, scholars began to pay more attention to matters of racial and religious diversity. Greater nuance and understanding of interracialism in American religion continued to rise in the early 2000s as the subject of religion, and religious studies became increasingly prominent in academia, in addition to the rise of digital and social media that networked scholars, scholarship, and institutions like never before. This contemporary historical moment, therefore, has dramatically enriched analysis of interracialism in American religion.

Historian Paul Harvey has produced a substantial amount of scholarship on the subject. In his 2005 study Freedom’s Coming: Religious Culture and the Shaping of the South from the Civil War Through the Civil Rights Era, Harvey documented and defined “Christian interracialism” and “racial interchange” as central dynamics in Southern Christianity. The former aimed to eradicate white supremacy through mutual struggle in individual actions and institutional initiatives, while the latter emphasized shared, biracial cultural experiences that overlapped in ordinary, everyday circumstances in cultural zones like music and oral expression. Harvey’s work built upon specific studies of interracial Christianity, such as Tracy K’Meyer’s ground-breaking 1997 book Interracialism and Christian Community in the Postwar South: The Story of Koinonia Farm, while it also painstakingly documented the presence of cross-cultural collaboration and encounter through quotidian, ordinary experiences.49

While subsequent scholarship on interracialism in American religion did not necessarily link its genesis to Harvey’s work, the vast majority of history and religious-studies publications on the topic appeared after Freedom’s Coming. Works examining Protestant interracialism mostly studied dimensions of the modern black-freedom struggle in both the North and South, such as Stephen Haynes, Joseph Kip Kosek, David Cline, and John Hayes’s studies of kneel-ins, and denominational and ministry activities along with folk traditions. The probing books and studies of David Swartz, Brantley Gasaway, Charles Marsh, Felipe Hinojosa, Tobin Miller Shearer, and Peter Slade, among others, effectively historicized the theological and spiritual dimensions of interracialism among various evangelical groups. The flurry of studies on Catholic interracialism also appeared after Freedom’s Coming. Karen Johnson’s innovative scholarship on race, place, gender, religious practice, and theological reflection illuminates understanding of Catholic interracialism in Chicago and elsewhere, as does the work of David W. Southern, Paul T. Murray, Kevin Ryan, and Timothy Neary, while scholars like R. Bentley Anderson shed light on Catholic interracialism in the South.50

Finally, sociologists of religion have produced significant analysis of interracialism in American Christianity through studies of multiracial congregations.51 North Park University’s Michael Emerson helped to launch much of this work in 2000 through his co-authored volume Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America, a historical and social diagnosis of American evangelicalism’s racial divide that attributed persistent individualism as a barrier to supporting progress for racial and economic equality. Divided by Faith’s prescriptive suggestions led to Emerson’s follow-up studies that continued to document the theological and social contrast between white individualism and African American notions of collective identity in evangelical congregational life. Important works include United by Faith: The Multiracial Congregation as an Answer to the Problem of Race (2003), People of the Dream: Multiracial Congregations in the United States (2006), and Blacks and Whites in Christian America: How Racial Discrimination Shapes Religious Convictions (2012). Other sociological works by Gerardo Marti, Korie L. Edwards, and Kathleen Garces-Foley, all of which followed the publication of Divided by Faith—including a volume devoted to assessing Divided by Faith titled Christians and the Color Line—helped to puzzle out the entanglements of race and religion. These insightful books explain, along with incisive political studies such Nancy D. Wadsworth’s Ambivalent Miracles: Evangelicals and the Politics of Racial Healing, the social dynamics of power, race, and religion to demonstrate how racially homogenous congregations become diverse, how congregations maintain a multiracial character, and why multiracial congregations sometimes falter or fail at seeking a multiracial existence that fosters just and equitable religious and social relations.52

Further Reading

  • Anderson, R. Bentley. Black, White, and Catholic: New Orleans Interracialism, 1947–1956. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 2008.
  • Arnold, Stanley Keith. Building the Beloved Community: Philadelphia’s Interracial Civil Rights Organizations and Race Relations, 1930–1970. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2014.
  • Austin, Allan W. Quaker Brotherhood: Interracial Activism and the American Friends Service Committee, 1917–1950. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2012.
  • Botham, Fay. Almighty God Created the Races: Christianity, Interracial Marriage, and American Law. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2013.
  • Cline, David. From Reconciliation to Revolution: The Student Interracial Ministry, Liberal Christianity, and the Civil Rights Movement. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2016.
  • Edwards, Korie L. The Elusive Dream: The Power of Race in Interracial Churches. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.
  • Emerson, Michael O., Curtiss Paul DeYoung, George Yancey, and Karen Chai Kim. United by Faith: The Multiracial Congregation as an Answer to the Problem of Race. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.
  • Emerson, Michael O., and Jason Shelton. Blacks and Whites in Christian America: How Racial Discrimination Shapes Religious Convictions. New York: New York University Press, 2012.
  • Emerson, Michael O., and Christian Smith. Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.
  • Emerson, Michael O., with Rodney M. Woo. People of the Dream: Multiracial Congregations in the United States. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006.
  • French, Talmadge L. Early Interracial Oneness Pentecostalism: G. T. Haywood and the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World (1901-31). Cambridge, U.K.: James Clarke, 2014.
  • Garces-Foley, Kathleen. Crossing the Ethnic Divide: The Multiethnic Church. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.
  • Gellman, Erik S., and Jarod Roll. The Gospel of the Working Class: Labor’s Southern Prophets in New Deal America. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2011.
  • Harvey, Paul. “God and Negroes and Jesus and Sin and Salvation: Racism, Racial Interchange, and Interracialism in Southern Religious History.” In Religion in the American South: Protestants and Others in History and Culture. Edited by Beth Barton Schweiger and Donald G. Mathews, 283–329. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004.
  • Harvey, Paul. Freedom’s Coming: Religious Culture and the Shaping of the South from the Civil War Through the Civil Rights Era. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005.
  • Hawkins, J. Russell, and Phillip Luke Sinitiere, eds. Christians and the Color Line: Race and Religion after Divided by Faith. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.
  • Hayes, John. Hard, Hard Religion: Interracial Faith in the Poor South. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2017.
  • Haynes, Stephen. The Last Segregated Hour: The Memphis Kneel-Ins and the Campaign for Southern Church Desegregation. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.
  • Hinojosa, Felipe. Latino Mennonites: Civil Rights, Faith, and Evangelical Culture. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014.
  • Johnson, Karen J. “Another Long Civil Rights Movement: How Catholic Interracialists Used the Resources of their Faith to Tear Down Racial Hierarchies.” American Catholic Studies 126.4 (Winter 2015): 1–27.
  • K’Meyer, Tracy Elaine. Interracialism and Christian Community in the Postwar South: The Story of Koinonia Farm. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1997.
  • Kosek, Joseph Kip. “‘Just a Bunch of Agitators’: Kneel-Ins and the Desegregation of Southern Churches.” Religion and American Culture 23.2 (Summer 2013): 232–261.
  • Marti, Gerardo. A Mosaic of Believers: Diversity and Innovation in a Multiethnic Church. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2005.
  • Marti, Gerardo. Worship Across the Racial Divide: Religious Music and the Multiracial Congregation. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.
  • Neary, Timothy B. Crossing Parish Boundaries: Race, Sports, and Catholic Youth in Chicago, 1914–1954. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016.
  • Palmer, Phyllis. Living as Equals: How Three White Communities Struggles to Make Interracial Connections During the Civil Rights Era. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 2008.
  • Shearer, Tobin Miller. Daily Demonstrators: The Civil Rights Movement in Mennonite Homes and Sanctuaries. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010.
  • Slade, Peter. Open Friendship in a Closed Society: Mission Mississippi and a Theology of Friendship. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.
  • Southern, David W. John LaFarge and the Limits of Catholic Interracialism, 1911–1963. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1996.
  • Thomas, Joseph L. Perfect Harmony: Interracial Churches in Early Holiness-Pentecostalism, 1880–1909. Lexington, KY: Emeth Press, 2014.
  • Wadsworth, Nancy D. Ambivalent Miracles: Evangelicals and the Politics of Racial Healing. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2014.


  • 1. Thomas S. Kidd, The Great Awakening: The Roots of Evangelical Christianity in Colonial America (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2007); Thomas S. Kidd, George Whitefield: America’s Spiritual Founding Father (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2014); Jon F. Sensbach, Rebecca’s Revival: Creating Black Christianity in the Atlantic World (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005); John Saillant, Black Puritan, Black Republican: The Life and Thought of Lemuel Haynes, 1753–1833 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002).

  • 2. Edward J. Blum, Reforging the White Republic: Race, Religion, and American Nationalism, 1865–1898 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2005); Derek Chang, Citizens of a Christian Nation: Evangelical Missions and the Problem of Race in the Nineteenth Century (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010); Edward J. Blum, “‘The Contact of Living Souls’: Interracial Friendship, Faith, and African American Memories of Slavery and Freedom,” Journal for the Study of Radicalism 3.1 (2009): 89–110.

  • 3. Anna Arnold Hedgeman, The Trumpet Sounds: A Memoir of Negro Leadership (New York: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston, 1964), 32–39, 43, 61, 77; cf. Thomas Sugrue, Sweet Land of Liberty: The Struggle for Civil Rights in the North (New York: Random House, 2009), 3–32. On aspects of interracial religious alliances and the social gospel, as well as the question of international experiences, missionary work, and activism, see among others David A. Hollinger, After Cloven Tongues of Fire: Protestant Liberalism in Modern American History (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2013), 33–69; and Paul Harvey, Bounds of Their Habitation: Race and Religion in American History (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2017), 141–143, 158–170.

  • 4. Quinton Dixie and Peter Eisenstadt, Visions of a Better World: Howard Thurman’s Pilgrimage to India and the Origins of African American Nonviolence (Boston: Beacon, 2011), 85–149. Thurman’s quote appears on p. 115.

  • 5. Howard Thurman, “The Commitment (1943),” in Howard Thurman, A Strange Freedom: The Best of Howard Thurman on Religious Experience and Public Life, eds. Walter Earl Fluker and Catherin Tumber (Boston: Beacon, 1998), 225–226.

  • 6. Dixie and Eisenstadt, Visions of a Better World, 151–181. Howard Thurman was not the only black religious figure whose international experiences shaped intercultural and interracial civil rights work at home. For the efforts of Benjamin Mays, Bayard Rustin, Pauli Murry and William and Blanche Nelson, among others, see Sarah Azaransky, This Worldwide Struggle: Religion and the International Roots of the Civil Rights Movement (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017).

  • 7. Paul Harvey, Freedom’s Coming: Religious Culture and the Shaping of the South from the Civil War Through the Civil Rights Era (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005), 70–77.

  • 8. Harvey, Freedom’s Coming, 126–129; Talmadge L. French, Early Interracial Oneness Pentecostalism: G. T. Haywood and the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World (1901-31) (Cambridge, U.K.: James Clarke & Co, 2014); Joseph L. Thomas, Perfect Harmony: Interracial Churches in Early Holiness-Pentecostalism, 1880–1909 (Lexington, KY: Emeth Press, 2014).

  • 9. Gastón Espinosa, “‘Spanish Receive the Pentecost,’ Apostolic Faith, October 4, 1906,” in William J. Seymour and the Origins of Global Pentecostalism: A Biography and Documentary History (Durham: Duke University Press, 2014), 345–346.

  • 10. Quoted in Harvey, Freedom’s Coming, 132.

  • 11. “Weird Babel of Tongues,” Los Angeles Daily Times (April 18, 1906),” in Espinosa, William J. Seymour and the Origins of Global Pentecostalism, 372–373.

  • 12. Lloyd Barba, “Jesus Would Be Jim Crowed: Bishop Robert Lawson on Race and Religion in the Harlem Renaissance,” Journal of Race, Ethnicity and Religion 6.3 (August 2015): 1–32; Douglas Jacobsen, ed., A Reader in Pentecostal Theology: Voices from the First Generation (Bloomington: University of Indiana Press, 2006), 199–212; Douglas Jacobsen, Thinking in the Spirit: Theologies of the Early Pentecostal Movement (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2003), 263–285. The full text of Lawson’s prayer appears on p. 284.

  • 13. Harvey, Freedom’s Coming, 136–148.

  • 14. Karen J. Johnson, “Healing the Mystical Body: Catholic Attempts to Overcome the Racial Divide in Chicago, 1930–1948,” in Christians and the Color Line: Race and Religion After Divided by Faith, eds. J. Russell Hawkins and Phillip Luke Sinitiere (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014), 45–71; Karen J. Johnson, “Another Long Civil Rights Movement: How Catholic Interracialists Used the Resources of their Faith to Tear Down Racial Hierarchies,” American Catholic Studies 126.4 (Winter 2015): 1–27. See also Karen Johnson, One in Christ: Chicago Catholics and the Quest for Interracial Justice (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018).

  • 15. Johnson, “Another Long Civil Rights Movement.” The Falls quote is from p. 12 in Johnson’s article.

  • 16. Harrigan quoted in Johnson, “Healing the Mystical Body,” 57; Adams quoted in Johnson, “Another Long Civil Rights Movement,” 16.

  • 17. Johnson, “Another Long Civil Rights Movement,” 19–28; Amy L. Koehlinger, The New Nuns: Racial Justice and Religious Reform in the 1960s (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007); Cornelia F. Sexauer, “Beyond ‘Equality Through Segregation’: Charles F. Vatterott Jr., and Post–World War II Efforts for Interracial Justice and Equality in St. Louis, Missouri,” U.S. Catholic Historian 35.1 (Winter 2017): 23–47; Paul T. Murray, ““We Belong in the Wider World’: The Young Christian Students and the Civil Rights Movement,” U.S. Catholic Historian 35.1 (Winter 2017): 49–80; Kevin Ryan, “‘My Children Feel Rejected by Their Church’: ‘Managed Integration’ at St. Philip Neri Parish, Chicago,” U.S. Catholic Historian 35.1 (Winter 2017): 81–97; Phyllis Palmer, Living as Equals: How Three White Communities Struggles to Make Interracial Connections during the Civil Rights Era (Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 2008), 170–236; Danny Duncan Collum, Black and Catholic in the Jim Crow South: The Stuff That Makes Community (Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 2006), 128–138.

  • 18. Paul T. Murray, “‘The Most Righteous White Man in Selma’: Father Maurice Ouellet and the Struggle for Voting Rights,” Alabama Review 68.1 (January 2015): 31–73. The Ouellet quote appears on p. 48 in Murray’s article.

  • 19. Harvey, Freedom’s Coming, 77–106; Allan W. Austin, Quaker Brotherhood: Interracial Activism and the American Friends Service Committee, 1917–1950 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2012); Stanley Keith Arnold, Building the Beloved Community: Philadelphia’s Interracial Civil Rights Organizations and Race Relations, 1930–1970 (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2014); Marin Mollin, “The Limits of Egalitarianism: Radical Pacifism, Civil Rights, and the Journey of Reconciliation,” Radical History Review 88 (Winter 2004): 112–138; David Lai, “‘On the Frontier … of Integration and Desegregation’: White Ministers and the 1956 School Desegregation Crisis in Henderson, Kentucky,” Register of the Kentucky Historical Society 113.4 (Autumn 2015): 675–701; Carolyn Dupont, “White Protestants and the Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky,” Register of the Kentucky Historical Society 113.2–3 (Spring/Summer 2015): 543–573; Kenneth T. Andrews, Kraig Beyerlein, and Tuneka Tucker Farnum, “The Legitimacy of Protest: Explaining White Southerners’ Attitudes Toward the Civil Rights Movement,” Social Forces 94.3 (March 2016): 1021–1044. For accounts of “missionary cosmopolitans,” see David A. Hollinger, Protestants Abroad: How Missionaries Tried to Change the World but Changed America (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2017), 3, 266–287.

  • 20. Erik S. Gellman and Jarod Roll, The Gospel of the Working Class: Labor’s Southern Prophets in New Deal America (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2011).

  • 21. Gellman and Roll, The Gospel of the Working Class. The Williams quote appears on 70–71, and the Whitfield quote is on p. 103.

  • 22. Tracy Elaine K’Meyer, Interracialism and Christian Community in the Postwar South: The Story of Koinonia Farm (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1997).

  • 23. Clarence Jordan, The Cotton Patch Gospels: Luke and Acts (Macon, GA: Smith & Helwys Publishing, 2004), xvii.

  • 24. Quoted in Drick Boyd, “Clarence Jordan,” in While Allies in the Struggle for Racial Justice (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2015), 167–184. The Jordan quote appears on p. 180.

  • 25. Robert Graetz, “The Melting Pot of the Gospel,” Robert Graetz Collection, box 13, Alabama State University. See Robert S. Graetz, Montgomery: A White Preacher’s Memoir (Minneapolis: Augsburg Press, 1991); David L. Chappell, Inside Agitators: White Southerners in the Civil Rights Movement (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994), 53–83; Harvey, Freedom’s Coming, 180.

  • 26. Martin Luther King, Stride Toward Freedom, in Stride Toward Freedom: The Essential Writings of Martin Luther King, Jr., ed. James M. Washington (New York: Harper Collins, 1986), 440.

  • 27. Rachel E. Harding, “Biography, Democracy, and Spirit: An Interview with Vincent Harding,” Callaloo 20.3 (Summer 1997): 682–698. The Harding quote appears on p. 684.

  • 28. Tobin Miller Shearer, “‘Buttcheek to Buttcheek in the Pew’: Interracial Relationalism in a Mennonite Congregation, 1957–2010,” in Christians and the Color Line: Race and Religion After Divided by Faith, eds. J. Russell Hawkins and Phillip Luke Sinitiere (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014), 100–127; Tobin Miller Shearer, Daily Demonstrators: The Civil Rights Movement in Mennonite Homes and Sanctuaries (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010).

  • 29. Felipe Hinojosa, Latino Mennonites: Civil Rights, Faith, and Evangelical Culture (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014). The Chávez quote appears on p. 95.

  • 30. David P. Cline, From Reconciliation to Revolution: The Student Interracial Ministry, Liberal Christianity, and the Civil Rights Movement (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 2016); Joseph Kip Kosek, “‘Just a Bunch of Agitators’: Kneel-Ins and the Desegregation of Southern Churches,” Religion and American Culture 23.2 (Summer 2013): 232–261; Stephen R. Haynes, The Last Segregated Hour: The Memphis Kneel-Ins and the Campaign for Southern Church Desegregation (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012).

  • 31. Kosek, “‘Just a Bunch of Agitators.’”

  • 32. Haynes, The Last Segregated Hour.

  • 33. D. Oliver Herbel, Turning to Tradition: Coverts and the Making of an American Orthodox Church (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014).

  • 34. Herbel, Turning to Tradition, 85–102. For Altschul’s background, see J. Malcolm Garcia, “The Rev. David Altschul Is a Gift to One of the City’s Most Iconic but Troubled Streets” The Pitch (December 24, 2009).

  • 35. Herbel, Turning to Tradition, 97–98; Albert Panteleimon Raboteau, “Afterword,” in An Unbroken Circle: Linking Ancient African Christianity to the African-American Experience, ed. Fr. Paisius Altschul (Saint Louis, MO: Brotherhood of St. Moses the Black, 1997), 161–163; Albert J. Raboteau, A Sorrowful Joy (Mahwah, NJ: Paulist, 2002).

  • 36. Albert J. Raboteau, A Fire in the Bones: Reflections on African American Religious History (Boston: Beacon, 1995), 8–9; cf. Albert J. Raboteau, “A Fire in the Bones,” in Autobiographical Reflections on Southern Religious History, eds. John B. Boles and Albert J. Raboteau (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2001), 193–205.

  • 37. Curtis J. Evans, “White Evangelical Protestant Responses to the Civil Rights Movement,” Harvard Theological Review 102.2 (2009): 245–273. On how Southern Baptist missionary work abroad recalibrated racial justice work at home, see Alan Scott Willis, All According to God’s Plan: Southern Baptist Missions and Race, 1945–1970 (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2005).

  • 38. John M. Perkins, Let Justice Roll Down (Ventura, CA: Regal, 1976), 98–108.

  • 39. Perkins, Let Justice Roll Down, 101.

  • 40. Peter Slade, Charles Marsh, and Peter Goodwin Heltzel, eds., Mobilizing for the Coming Good: The Lived Theology of John M. Perkins (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2013); Peter G. Heltzel, Jesus and Justice: Evangelicals, Race, and American Politics (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2009), 160–177; Peter Slade, Open Friendship in a Closed Society: Mission Mississippi and a Theology of Friendship (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), 41–42.

  • 41. David R. Swartz, Moral Minority: The Evangelical Left in an Age of Conservatism (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012), 26–46; David R. Swartz, “Global Reflex: International Evangelical Human Rights, and the New Shape of American Social Engagement,” in The New Evangelical Social Engagement, eds. Brian Steensland and Philip Goff (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014), 220–241; Brantley W. Gasaway, “‘Glimmers of Hope’: Progressive Evangelicals and Racism, 1965–2000,” in Christians and the Color Line, 72–99; Brantley W. Gasaway, Progressive Evangelicals and the Pursuit of Social Justice (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2014), 75–100; Heltzel, Jesus and Justice, 178–202.

  • 42. Harvey, Freedom’s Coming, 107–168; Paul Harvey, Christianity and Race in the American South: A History (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016), 132–143. Also, crucial especially for its incorporation of class analysis in the context of oral and expressive folk culture, is John Hayes, Hard, Hard Religion: Interracial Faith in the Poor South (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2017).

  • 43. Josef Sorret, “‘It’s Not the Beat, but It’s the Word that Sets the People Free’: Race, Technology, and Theology in the Emergence of Christian Rap Music,” Pneuma 33 (2011): 200–217.

  • 44. David Van Biema, “The New Calvinism,” Time (March 12, 2009); Drew Angerer, “Evangelicals Find Themselves in the Midst of a Calvinist Revival,” New York Times (January 3, 2014); “The New Calvinism,” Religion and Ethics Newsweekly, (April 4, 2014); Brad Vermurlen, “Structural Overlap and the Management of Cultural Marginality: The Case of Calvinist Hip-Hop,” American Journal of Cultural Sociology 4.1 (2016): 68–106.

  • 45. David Daniels, “John Piper’s Book ‘Desiring God’ Inspires Jackie Hill-Perry’s Album,” Rapzilla, (November 17, 2014).

  • 46. Russell Moore, “W. W. Jay Z: How Christian Hip-Hop Could Call the American Church Back to the Gospel—and Hip-Hop Back to Its Roots,” Christianity Today (May 2013): 22–29. On the connections among Lecrae’s art, music, and activism, see Travis Harris, “Refocusing and Redefining Hip Hop: An Analysis of Lecrae’s Contribution to Hip Hop,” Journal of Hip Hop Studies 1.1 (Spring 2014): 14–37.

  • 47. Meagan Clark, “Propaganda Speaks: On His New Album, Justice, and Faith,”, (October 16, 2013).

  • 48. Thabiti Anyabwile, “The Puritans Are Not That Precious,” The Gospel Coalition, (October 2, 2012); Anthony B. Bradley, “Puritans and Propaganda,” UrbanFaith, (October 2012); Owen Strachan, “Reflecting on Propaganda’s Fiery ‘Precious Puritans’ Rap Song,” Thought Life, (September 26, 2012). This paragraph illustrates the range of responses to “Precious Puritans.” These are only several of many participants in the heated online discussion; readers will easily find the wider conversation hyperlinked in each of the blogs listed above.

  • 49. Harvey, Freedom’s Coming; K’Meyer, Interracialism and Christian Community in the Postwar South. Harvey’s book updated some of his previous work on interracial dimensions of American religious history; see Paul Harvey, “God and Negroes and Jesus and Sin and Salvation: Racism, Racial Interchange, and Interracialism in Southern Religious History,” in Religion in the American South: Protestants and Others in History and Culture, eds. Beth Barton Schweiger and Donald G. Mathews (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004), 283–329; and Paul Harvey, “Southern Baptists and the Social Gospel: White Religious Progressivism in the South, 1900–1925,” Fides et Historia 27 (Summer 1995): 59–77.

  • 50. Cline, From Reconciliation to Revolution; Johnson, “Healing the Mystical Body”; Johnson, “Another Long Civil Rights Movement”; Kosek, “‘Just a Bunch of Agitators.’”; Haynes, The Last Segregated Hour; Slade, Marsh, and Heltzel, eds., Mobilizing for the Coming Good; Heltzel, Jesus and Justice; Slade, Open Friendship in a Closed Society; Swartz, Moral Minority; Gasaway, “‘Glimmers of Hope’”; Gasaway, Progressive Evangelicals and the Pursuit of Social Justice; Shearer, “‘Buttcheek to Buttcheek in the Pew’”; Shearer, Daily Demonstrators; Hinojosa, Latino Mennonites; David W. Southern, John LaFarge and the Limits of Catholic Interracialism, 1911–1963 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1996); David W. Southern, John LaFarge and the Limits of Catholic Interracialism, 1911–1963 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1996); Timothy B. Neary, Crossing Parish Boundaries: Race, Sports, and Catholic Youth in Chicago, 1914–1954 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016); R. Bentley Anderson, Black, White, and Catholic: New Orleans Interracialism, 1947–1956 (Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 2008); Sexauer, “Beyond ‘Equality through Segregation’”; Murray, “‘We Belong in the Wider World’”; Ryan, “‘My Children Feel Rejected by Their Church.’”

  • 51. Michael O. Emerson, Elizabeth Korver-Glenn, and Kiara W. Douds, “Studying Race and Religion: A Critical Assessment,” Sociology of Race and Ethnicity 1.3 (2015): 349–359.

  • 52. Michael O. Emerson and Christian Smith, Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000); Curtiss Paul DeYoung, Michael O. Emerson, George Yancey, and Karen Chai Kim, United by Faith: The Multiracial Congregation as an Answer to the Problem of Race (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003); Michael O. Emerson with Rodney M. Woo, People of the Dream: Multiracial Congregations in the United States (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006); Michael O. Emerson and Jason Shelton, Blacks and Whites in Christian America: How Racial Discrimination Shapes Religious Convictions (New York: New York University Press, 2012); Gerardo Marti, A Mosaic of Believers: Diversity and Innovation in a Multiethnic Church (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2005); Hollywood Faith: Holiness, Prosperity, and Ambition in a Los Angeles Church (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2008); Worship Across the Racial Divide: Religious Music and the Multiracial Congregation (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012); Kathleen Garces-Foley, Crossing the Ethnic Divide: The Multiethnic Church (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007); Korie L. Edwards, The Elusive Dream: The Power of Race in Interracial Churches (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008); Kersten Bayt Priest and Robert J. Priest, “Divergent Worship Practices in the Sunday Morning Hour: Analysis of an ‘Interracial’ Church Merger Attempt,” in This Side of Heaven: Race, Ethnicity, and Christian Faith, eds. Robert J. Priest and Alvaro L. Nieves (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007), 275–291; Gerardo Marti and Michael O. Emerson, “The Rise of the Diversity Expert: How American Evangelicals Simultaneously Accentuate and Ignore Race,” in The New Evangelical Social Engagement, eds. Brian Steensland and Philip Goff (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014), 179–199; Nancy D. Wadsworth, Ambivalent Miracles: Evangelicals and the Politics of Racial Healing (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2014). See also the essays by Ryon J. Cobb, Mark T. Mulder, Jerry Z. Park, Erica Ryu Wong, and Korie L. Edwards in Christians and the Color Line. On Michael Emerson’s personal interracial activities in light of his scholarship on multiracial congregations, see Phillip Luke Sinitiere, “Will the Evangelical Church Remove the Color Line?: Historical Reflections on Divided by Faith,” Christian Scholar’s Review 43.1 (Fall 2013): 41–63.