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From the Publisher"H. Paul Thompson breaks new ground with A Most Stirring and Significant Episode. This excellent work offers a book-length study of African Americans in the nineteenth-century temperance movement, and is also a welcome contribution to the growing field of literature about temperance and prohibition in the southern United States. Focusing on the freedpeople of Atlanta, Thompson takes seriously the role that religion played in this community’s reform efforts."
— Journal of Southern Religion
"...historians interested in questions of politics, gender, religion, and urban life in postbellum southern history are indebted to his pioneering and richly detailed study."
—Journal of American History
"In this fine study we learn that while Black Atlanta adopted temperance mores from northern missionaries after the Civil War, black leaders took ownership of the issue and carefully considered whether or not to support local option prohibition. . . . By the time statewide prohibition went into effect, Jim Crow disfranchisement had stripped blacks of their political influence. . . . Yet this should not obscure or diminish the importance of the local option elections from the 1880s. Far too often historians have organized their studies around a teleology culminating in the Eighteenth Amendment. Thompson reminds us that there is much to be learned about reform and the social and cultural boundaries that shaped it in these earlier, and deeply meaningful, local contests."
—Lee L. Willis, American Historical Review
"He depicts black Atlantans' embrace of prohibition and the subsequent flurry of interracial politics as a manipulative sham undone by the region's racial sins rather than a promising path not taken. . . . Thompson's work . . . should stand as a testament to the dynamism of southern prohibition and a welcome reminder to better appreciate the many motivations of the various men and women who so ardently championed it."
—Joseph Locke, Journal of Southern History