Harvey explores the parallels and divergences of black and white religious institutions as manifested through differences in worship styles, sacred music, and political agendas. He examines the relationship of broad social phenomena like progressivism and modernization to the development of southern religion, focusing on the clash between rural southern folk religious expression and models of spirituality drawn from northern Victorian standards.
In tracing the growth of Baptist churches from small outposts of radically democratic plain-folk religion in the mid-eighteenth century to conservative and culturally dominant institutions in the twentieth century, Harvey explores one of the most impressive evolutions of American religious and cultural history.
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A well-researched study. . . . Harvey's arguments rest exclusively on primary documents. . . . The book also reflects a meticulous reading of secondary literature in the field of race, gender, Southern religion, and the Baptist faith. . . . For those people doing research in most any aspect of religion in the post-bellum American South, this study covers important ground-and covers it well.Journal of Religious History
In fine fashion, Paul Harvey describes the processes whereby the dominant white and African American religious bodies in the South redefined themselves cultural and institutionally in the crucial period between the end of the Civil War and the mid-1920s. . . . A good, provocative book.-Journal of Southern History
Redeeming the South is a rich book built on extensive primary and secondary research. Harvey successfully illuminates the commonalities and the mutual antagonisms in the experiences of white and black Baptists in the South.Church History
This informative, impressively researched, and wide-ranging book is an important contribution to black, cultural, religious, social, and southern history.Journal of American History
Thoroughly researched and clearly written, this excellent study traces the interaction of white and black southern Baptists from the Civil War to the mid-1920s.Journal of Church and State
Harvey mounts the most thorough and convincing challenge to the so-called 'cultural captivity' thesis to date. He also demonstrates that southern progressivism was not 'for whites only.'American Historical Review
Harvey's carefully researched, well-written study of Baptists in the South between 1865 and 1925 enriches the growing literature on religion and race when Jim Crow was becoming the order of the day.Choice
Harvey's treatment of the postbellum South is pioneering.Books & Culture
With the candor of faith, the insight of hope and the judiciousness of charity, Paul Harvey has documented the uneasy spiritual rapprochement between white and black Christians for a critical segment of American history. The problems which threatened the faith a hundred years ago are, alas, still with us, but looking at them in well-documented retrospect reminds us once again that perhaps there is still time.C. Eric Lincoln, Duke University
We have in this manuscript an early third-generation study of the southern religious heritage. Improving on what has been done in this still-young field, Harvey is the first to move cleanly beyond positing a single center. He recognizes that there are two centers, the white religious formation and the black religious formation. This book tells the two stories as they unfolded in the New South era, proving that they were (and always have been) interactive and intertwined.Samuel S. Hill, University of Florida