Drawing on fascinating records of actual seance practices, the lives of the mediums, and larger citywide and national contexts, Clark reveals how the messages that the Cercle received from the spirit world offered its members rich religious experiences as well as a forum for political activism inspired by republican ideals. Messages from departed souls including Francois Rabelais, Abraham Lincoln, John Brown, Robert E. Lee, Emanuel Swedenborg, and even Confucius discussed government structures, the moral progress of humanity, and equality. The Afro-Creole Spiritualists were encouraged to continue struggling for justice in a new world where "bright" spirits would replace raced bodies.
|Publisher:||The University of North Carolina Press|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||2 MB|
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One of the finest works I have read on nineteenth-century U.S. religion. While focusing on the Cercle Harmonique, Emily Suzanne Clark illuminates many hidden gems regarding religion and society during these decades. She takes us from the seance floor to the locality of New Orleans, from the nation to the Atlantic world. Clark shows how these African Americans were webbed into local and national politics, international intellectual ferment, and revolutionary plots of the past and the present. I found myself understanding how they could think about the cosmos, the Enlightenment, and their street corner all at the same time. When considering new ways to write about religion, race, politics, and culture in the nineteenth century, this book is at the top on my list.Edward J. Blum, San Diego State University