The Rise to Respectability: Race, Religion, and the Church of God in Christ

Overview


The Rise to Respectability documents the history of the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) and examines its cultural and religious impact on African Americans and on the history of the South. It explores the ways in which Charles Harrison Mason, the son of slaves and founder of COGIC, embraced a Pentecostal faith that celebrated charismatic forms of religious expression that many blacks had come to view as outdated, unsophisticated, and embarrassing. While examining the intersection of race, religion, and class, ...
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Overview


The Rise to Respectability documents the history of the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) and examines its cultural and religious impact on African Americans and on the history of the South. It explores the ways in which Charles Harrison Mason, the son of slaves and founder of COGIC, embraced a Pentecostal faith that celebrated charismatic forms of religious expression that many blacks had come to view as outdated, unsophisticated, and embarrassing. While examining the intersection of race, religion, and class, The Rise to Respectability details how the denomination dealt with the stringent standard of bourgeois behavior imposed on churchgoers as they moved from southern rural areas into the urban centers in both the South and North. Rooted in the hardships of slavery and coming of age during Jim Crow, COGIC's story is more than a religious debate. Rather, this book sees the history of the church as interwoven with the Great Migration, the struggle for modernity, class tension, and racial animosity--all representative parts of the African American experience.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

A Choice Outstanding Academic Title

"Calvin White Jr. provides an engaging treatment of COGIC's development under Charles Harrison Mason and Charles Price Jones, and a superb review of the scholarship on Pentecostal studies ….contributes significantly to American religious history and should be on undergraduate syllabi everywhere." --Jonathan L. Walton in the Journal of American History

"A valuable history of the Church of God in Christ." --Arkansas Historical Quarterly, Autumn 2013

"White provides a thoughtful, well-researched, and engaging narrative that moves COGIC from the margins to the center of African American religious history." --Julius H. Bailey, The Journal of Southern History, February 2014

"An indispensable work in African American religious history." --Choice

“This is a fine, much-needed book based on impressive original research. White’s study should throw open debate on key questions in modern African American religious history.”

—Jarod Roll, American Historical Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781557289773
  • Publisher: University of Arkansas Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/2012
  • Pages: 239
  • Sales rank: 1,010,946
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author


Calvin White Jr. is assistant professor of history and director of the African and African American Studies Program at the University of Arkansas. He teaches African American and southern history.
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Table of Contents

Preface ix

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction: The Roots of the Study 3

1 In the Beginning, There Stood Two: The Reconstruction of African American Religion and the Birth of the Black Holiness Movement 11

2 We Will Let the Courts Speak for Us: Controversy within the Holiness Movement and the Excommunication of a Saint 31

3 Mason Told Us Not to Fight: Religion, Respectability, and Conscientious Objectorship 55

4 Come Over to Macedonia and Help: Sanctification Disguised as Racial Uplift 77

5 Memphis, the Hope of a Promised Land: The Achievement of Respectability for the Church of God in Christ 95

6 "Dar He": COGIC and the National Civil Rights Movement 113

Afterword: Wandering in the Wilderness 131

Notes 139

Bibliography 163

Index 175

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