A Stone of Hope Prophetic Religion and the Death of Jim Crow Read ✓ 7

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A Stone of Hope Prophetic Religion and the Death of Jim CrowThe civil rights movement was arguably the most successful social movement in American history In a provocative new assessment of its success David Chappell argues that the story of civil rights is not a story of the ultimate triumph of liberal ideas after decades of gradual progress Rather it is a story of the power of religious traditionChappell reconsiders the intellectual roots of civil rights reform showing how northern liberals' faith in the power of human reason to overcome prejudice was at odds with the movement's goal of immediate change Even when liberals sincerely wanted change they recognized that they could not necessarily inspire others to unite and fight for it But the prophetic tradition of the Old Testament sometimes translated into secul. This is an extended review of this important contribution to the scholarship of the Civil Rights movement in the United StatesDavid Chappell’s book A Stone of Hope examines the philosophy of the civil rights movement from its foundation of prophetic religion One of the core issues it considers is the liberal belief in social progress over time Chappell begins his narrative by describing how the New Deal at its height in the 1930s achieved very little in terms of civil rights The New Dealers recognized that even in democratic America they were constantly at a disadvantage against irrational conservative appeals to tradition authority and religious sanction especially when the New Dealers needed the votes of conservative Southern Democrats to carry out the New Deal programs they cared about mostThe inability of New Deal leaders to make much progress against racism and Jim Crow was one reason why many of the major figures in the civil rights movement such as Martin Luther King Bayard Rustin and James Lawson embraced a different conception based on morality and prophetic religion of how to change society These leaders looked to the essentially pessimistic view of human nature as corrupt and sinful originally preached by the Old Testament prophets and recently articulated by Reinhold Niebuhr for the intellectual foundation of their movement “They were conspicuous for their unwillingness to let social processes work themselves out and for their lack of faith in the power of education and economic development to cure society of oppressive evils” 45 Their approach is interesting if for no other reason than the fact it contrasted with the legal strategy pursued by the premier civil rights organization of the first half of the 20th century the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People NAACP In its gradual efforts to reverse the “separate but eual” doctrine codified by the 1896 Supreme Court decision in Plessy v Ferguson the NAACP put its faith in the belief that direct action was secondary in importance when legal redress was available The Montgomery bus boycott of 1955 56 seemed to provide ample justification for its stance While King helped organize the boycott the NAACP took the matter to court After the Supreme Court’s decision in Gayle v Browder 1956 put an end to segregation in public transportation NAACP lawyer Thurgood Marshall remarked “All that walking for nothing They might as well have waited for the court decision” The Warren Court’s 1954 decision in Brown v Board of Education of Topeka placed ultimate faith in progress through education Warren’s written decision was a brief eleven pages because he wanted newspapers to reprint it for all to read Part of his reasoning was that education was an imperative part of training citizens to participate in a democracy; therefore it must be eual to all The opinion attempted to convince southern “moderates” who were open to persuasion of the righteousness of integrating public education Warren allowed a delay in implementation to give these “moderates” a reasonable time to come to terms with the decision and then put it into effect avoiding forceful remedies in the process Interestingly Warren cited Gunnar Myrdal’s 1944 study on race in America An American Dilemma as support for this tactic Myrdal claimed American institutions such as the government were growing sympathetic towards blacks over time Chappell contrasts all of this with the writings of Niebuhr and the civil rights leaders who put his views into action Niebuhr claimed that institutions were by nature immoral acting only in their own self interest The southern reaction to Brown demonstrated that the libera

David L. Chappell À 7 Read

Provocative assessment of the success of the civil rights movement David Chappell reconsiders the intellectual roots of civil rights reform showing how the prophetic tradition of the Old Testament sometimes translated into secular language drove African American activists to unprecedented solidarity and self sacrifice Martin Luther King Jr Fannie Lou Hamer James Lawson Modjeska Simkins and other black leaders believed as the Hebrew prophets believed that they had to stand apart from society and instigate dramatic changes to force an unwilling world to abandon its sinful ways Although segregationists outvoted and outgunned black integrationists the segregationists lost Chappell concludes largely because they did not have a religious commitment to their cau. This is an intriguing book on an important topic but I didn't find it very persuasive Chappell seems most interested in attacking secular liberalism for inadeuate fervor in the civil rights movement Some of the critiue is justified but it doesn't demonstrate that prophetic religion motivated the core of the movement His definition of prophetic religion however is rather slippery Sometimes it's the neo orthodoxy of Reinhold Niebuhr but at others it's an emotional religiosity without a clear theological doctrine The book also almost completely ignores the radical left both black and whiteand its important role in fighting for African American eualityIn an excellent book on the origins of the New Left in Austin Texas The Politics of Authenticity Doug Rossinow showed that young activists there often emerged from religious communities and were influenced by Christian existentialist thought Chappell is trying to do something similar on a broader canvas but he overshoots his goal in order to score debater's points against secular liberalism

review A Stone of Hope Prophetic Religion and the Death of Jim Crow

A Stone of Hope Prophetic Religion and the Death of Jim Crow Read ✓ 7 å The civil rights movement was arguably the most successful social movement in American history In a provocative new assessment of its success David Chappell argues that the story of civil rights is not a story of the ultimate triumph of Ar language drove African American activists to unprecedented solidarity and self sacrifice Martin Luther King Jr Fannie Lou Hamer James Lawson Modjeska Simkins and other black leaders believed as the Hebrew prophets believed that they had to stand apart from society and instigate dramatic changes to force an unwilling world to abandon its sinful ways Their impassioned campaign to stamp out the sin of segregation brought the vitality of a religious revival to their cause Meanwhile segregationists found little support within their white southern religious denominations Although segregationists outvoted and outgunned black integrationists the segregationists lost Chappell concludes largely because they did not have a religious commitment to their causeIn a. Excellent The power of the black church and the inaction or at most tepid support of integration by the white southern church were instrumental in the civil rights movement successfully getting the Civil Rights Act 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 passedIf the white Southern church had supported the segregationist as the church supported slavery the author thinks that the Civil Rights movement might have failed