Born of Conviction: White Methodists and Mississippi's by Joseph T. Reiff

By Joseph T. Reiff

Winner of the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters' Nonfiction Award

The dominant narrative of the position of white voters and the white church in Mississippi's civil rights period specializes in their extreme resistance to alter. The "Born of Conviction" assertion, signed by means of twenty-eight white Methodist pastors and released within the Mississippi Methodist Advocate on January 2, 1963, provided an alternate witness to the segregationist get together line. Calling for freedom of the pulpit and reminding readers of the Methodist Discipline's declare that the lessons of Jesus allow "no discrimination as a result of race, colour, or creed," the pastors sought to talk to and for a regularly silent but major minority of Mississippians, and to steer white Methodists to affix the dialog at the want for racial justice. The record also expressed help for public faculties and competition to any try to shut them, and affirmed the signers' competition to Communism. although a couple of participants, either laity and clergy, voiced public confirmation of "Born of Conviction," the overpowering response used to be negative-by mid-1964, eighteen of the signers had left Mississippi, proof of the demanding situations confronted via whites who provided even light dissent to large resistance within the Deep South.

Dominant narratives, besides the fact that, hardly ever inform the total tale. The assertion triggered an important crack within the public unanimity of Mississippi white resistance. Signers and their public supporters additionally obtained deepest messages of gratitude for his or her stand, and 8 of the signers may stay within the Methodist ministry in Mississippi till retirement. Born of Conviction tells the tale of "the Twenty-Eight" illuminating the influence at the higher tradition of this try via white clergy to help race family switch. The ebook explores the theological and moral understandings of the signers via an account in their stories sooner than, in the course of, and after the statement's ebook. It additionally bargains a close portrait of either private and non-private expressions of the theology and ethics of white Mississippi Methodists commonly, as printed through their responses to the "Born of Conviction" controversy.

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