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Mississippi PrayingSouthern White Evangelicals and the Civil Rights Movement, 1945-1975$
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Carolyn Renée Dupont

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780814708415

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814708415.001.0001

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“Ask for the Old Paths”

“Ask for the Old Paths”

Mississippi’s Southern Baptists and Segregation

(p.105) 5 “Ask for the Old Paths”
Mississippi Praying

Carolyn Renée Dupont

NYU Press

This chapter examines how Southern Baptists in Mississippi strove to preserve white supremacy, and how such objectives put them at odds with progressives in the SBC. Preserving the racial hierarchy meant warding off the critique of racial subordination issued by denominational agencies, leaders, missionaries, and literature. As black activists forced a dramatic awakening of the nation's racial consciousness, Mississippi Baptists hardly appeared as practitioners of compassionate Christianity as they ignored the sufferings of their black neighbors. Thus, they expanded their interracial outreach as evidence of their racial good will and seriousness about the demands of the Gospel. However, the Mississippi Baptist State Convention's Department of Negro Work stayed firmly on the old path of segregation and operated entirely within accepted racial parameters, gaining favor with Mississippi Baptists largely because it seemed a foil for civil rights activity.

Keywords:   Southern Baptists, Mississippi, white supremacy, racial hierarchy, black activists, Christianity, Mississippi Baptist State Convention, Department of Negro Work

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