No Jim Crow Church: The Origins of South Carolina’s Bahá’í by Louis Venters

By Louis Venters

“A richly specified research of the increase of the Bahá’í religion in South Carolina. There isn’t one other learn available in the market even remotely like this one.”—Paul Harvey, coauthor of The colour of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America
“A pioneering learn of the way and why the Bahá’í religion turned the second one greatest spiritual neighborhood in South Carolina. conscientiously researched, the tale informed the following fills an important hole in our wisdom of South Carolina's wealthy and numerous spiritual history.”—Charles H. Lippy, coauthor of Religion in modern America
The emergence of a cohesive interracial fellowship in Jim Crow-era South Carolina used to be not going and hazardous. in spite of the fact that, individuals of the Bahá’í religion within the Palmetto nation rejected segregation, broke clear of spiritual orthodoxy, and defied the chances, finally changing into the state’s biggest spiritual minority.

the faith, which emphasizes the religious cohesion of all humankind, arrived within the usa from the center East on the finish of the 19th century through city parts within the Northeast and Midwest. Expatriate South Carolinians switched over and once they back domestic, they introduced their newfound faith with them. regardless of often being the pursuits of intimidation, or even violence, by way of pals, the Ku Klux Klan, legislations enforcement organizations, executive officers, and conservative monks, the Bahá’ís remained resolute of their religion and their dedication to an interracial non secular democracy. within the latter 1/2 the 20 th century, their numbers persisted to develop, from a number of hundred to over twenty thousand.

In No Jim Crow Church, Louis Venters lines the heritage of South Carolina’s Bahá’í neighborhood from its early origins throughout the civil rights period and provides an organizational, social, and highbrow historical past of the flow. He relates advancements in the neighborhood to alterations in society at huge, with specific awareness to race kin and the civil rights fight. Venters argues that the Bahá’ís in South Carolina represented an important, sustained, spiritually-based problem to the ideology and buildings of white male Protestant supremacy, whereas exploring how the emergence of the Bahá’í religion within the Deep South performed a job within the cultural and structural evolution of the religion. 

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13 While a handful of African Americans had already become Bahá’ís in other cities, the Hannens and Knoblochs were among the first white believers in the United States to appreciate the implications of the teaching of the oneness of humanity for the country’s racial dilemma and to translate their understanding into concrete action. Pauline Hannen later admitted that while she had imbibed attitudes of racial prejudice in the divisive atmosphere of post-Reconstruction North Carolina, a passage from Bahá’u’lláh’s Hidden Words had called her to account: 24 No Jim Crow Church O children of men!

Encouraged in part by Mírzá Abu’l-Fadl, a few Washington Bahá’ís began publishing introductory pamphlets on the faith and circulating English translations of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s tablets. 12 In this dynamic Washington community, one of the most important new members was Pauline Knobloch Hannen. Along with members of her extended family, she spearheaded the first concerted efforts in the country to teach the faith to African Americans. The only American-born child of Lutheran immigrants from Saxony, Pauline Hannen had spent many of her formative years in Wilmington, North Carolina.

They were among more than a dozen black Washingtonians who had recently joined the faith as a result of meetings organized by Hannen and her family. ” The story was dramatic indeed. Gregory learned that the new religion traced its origins to the early nineteenth century, when religious revivals, millennial expectations, and reform movements had stirred both Christian and Islamic countries from the United States to India. In 1844, Siyyid ‘Alí-Muhammad, a young merchant of Shiraz, Iran, had declared that he was a Manifestation of God sent to prepare the people for the imminent coming of another divine teacher even greater than himself.

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