Macon Black and White: An Unutterable Separation in the American Century

Mercer University Press
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A longitudinal study of race relations in a major southern city, Macon Black and White examines the ways white and black Maconites interacted over the course of the entire twentieth century. Beginning in the 1890s, in what has been called the nadir of race relations in America, Andrew M. Manis traces the arduous journey toward racial equality in the heart of Central Georgia. The book describes how, despite incremental progress toward that goal, segregationist pressures sought to silence voices for change on both sides of the color line. Providing a snapshot of black-white relations for every decade of the twentieth century, this compellingly written story highlights the ways indigenous development in Macon combined with other statewide, regional, and national factors to shape the struggle for and against racial equality. Manis shows how both African-Americans and a cadre of white moderates, separately and at times together, gradually increased pressure for change in a conservative Georgia city. Showcasing how disfranchisement, lynching, interracial efforts toward the humanization of segregation, the world wars, and the Civil Rights Movement affected the pace of change, Manis describes the eventual rise of a black political class and the election of Macon's first African-American mayor. The book uses demographic realities as well as the perspectives of black and white Maconites to paint a portrait of contemporary black-white relations in the city. Manis concludes with suggestions on how the city might continue the struggle for racial justice and overcome the unutterable separation that still plagues Macon in the early years of a new century. Macon Black and White is a powerful storythat no one interested in racial change over time can afford to miss.
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About the author

Manis is the Religious and Southern Studies Editor for Mercer University Press and teaches in the College of Liberal Arts at Mercer University.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Mercer University Press
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Published on
Dec 31, 2004
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Pages
432
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ISBN
9780865549586
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
History / United States / State & Local / South (AL, AR, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN, VA, WV)
Social Science / Ethnic Studies / African American Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Back in print, revised, and enlarged to bring the discussion to the present, Manis shows how two conflicting civil religions emerged in the South during the civil rights movement, each with its own understanding of America's calling and destiny as a nation. Using black and white Baptists in the South as case studies, Manis interprets the civil rights movement as a civil religious conflict between southerners with opposing understandings of America. Originally published in 1987, this new, expanded edition further argues that the civil rights movement and its opposition, with their conflicting images and hopes for America, foreshadowed the ongoing "culture wars" of recent days.

In the aftermath of World War II, citizens of every region drew together to affirm their common inheritance as a people and to celebrate the nation's military and moral victories. Such triumphs seemed to confirm America as a beacon to the nations, a "city on a hill." When America and particularly the South turned inward to think about "the American dilemma" of race, the South became a battlefield of conflicting civil faiths. The growing civil rights movement, calling on the nation to "live out the true meaning of its creed, " revealed within the South two separate civic creeds -- one based on freedom by law and equality under God; the other finding in the Constitution a guarantee of individual rights and in the Bible a divine sanction of segregation.

Manis explores the southern reaction to civil rights through the words and actions of black and white Baptists, ministers, and laypersons whose rhetoric embodied the conflicting civil religions in the South. Responding to the Supreme Court's ruling in Brown v. Boardof Education, both black and white Baptists urged their fellow citizens to answer God's summons and help bring America to its God-given destiny. But as Brown gave way to the events of the civil rights movement, the segregationist dream of the Southland remaining "white man's country" was increasingly challenged as African Americans began, more militantly and more successfully, to claim the historic promise of the nation.

Tracing the civil religious implications of the 1950s, Manis shows that as the civil rights movement divided Americans, desegregation became a crucial symbol for Americans who saw the nation as a land of equality and inclusion, as well as for Americans who continue to view America as properly and predominantly white and Protestant. In two new chapters, Manis connects this earlier conflict over civil religion and civil rights with what sociologist James D. Hunter called the "culture wars." In contrast to Hunter and others who have commented on it, Manis views the culture wars as centrally about the problem of race and difference in American life. What has broadened into partisan conflict about social issues such as prayer in schools, abortion, and family values, began as and largely remains at heart the question first raised by the civil rights debate: How racially diverse should America be?

Shots rang out in Savannah's grandest mansion in the misty,early morning hours of May 2, 1981.  Was it murder or self-defense?  For nearly a decade, the shooting and its aftermath reverberated throughout this hauntingly beautiful city of moss-hung oaks and shaded squares.  John Berendt's sharply observed, suspenseful, and witty narrative reads like a thoroughly engrossing novel, and yet it is a work of nonfiction.  Berendt skillfully interweaves a hugely entertaining first-person account of life in this isolated remnant of the Old South with the unpredictable twists and turns of a landmark murder case.

It is a spellbinding story peopled by a gallery of remarkable characters: the well-bred society ladies of the Married Woman's Card Club; the turbulent young redneck gigolo; the hapless recluse who owns a bottle of poison so powerful it could kill every man, woman, and child in Savannah; the aging and profane Southern belle who is the "soul of pampered self-absorption"; the uproariously funny black drag queen; the acerbic and arrogant antiques dealer; the sweet-talking, piano-playing con artist; young blacks dancing the minuet at the black debutante ball; and Minerva, the voodoo priestess who works her magic in the graveyard at midnight.  These and other Savannahians act as a Greek chorus, with Berendt revealing the alliances, hostilities, and intrigues that thrive in a town where everyone knows everyone else.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is a sublime and seductive reading experience.  Brilliantly conceived and masterfully written, this enormously engaging portrait of a most beguiling Southern city has become a modern classic.
Back in print, revised, and enlarged to bring the discussion to the present, Manis shows how two conflicting civil religions emerged in the South during the civil rights movement, each with its own understanding of America's calling and destiny as a nation. Using black and white Baptists in the South as case studies, Manis interprets the civil rights movement as a civil religious conflict between southerners with opposing understandings of America. Originally published in 1987, this new, expanded edition further argues that the civil rights movement and its opposition, with their conflicting images and hopes for America, foreshadowed the ongoing "culture wars" of recent days.

In the aftermath of World War II, citizens of every region drew together to affirm their common inheritance as a people and to celebrate the nation's military and moral victories. Such triumphs seemed to confirm America as a beacon to the nations, a "city on a hill." When America and particularly the South turned inward to think about "the American dilemma" of race, the South became a battlefield of conflicting civil faiths. The growing civil rights movement, calling on the nation to "live out the true meaning of its creed, " revealed within the South two separate civic creeds -- one based on freedom by law and equality under God; the other finding in the Constitution a guarantee of individual rights and in the Bible a divine sanction of segregation.

Manis explores the southern reaction to civil rights through the words and actions of black and white Baptists, ministers, and laypersons whose rhetoric embodied the conflicting civil religions in the South. Responding to the Supreme Court's ruling in Brown v. Boardof Education, both black and white Baptists urged their fellow citizens to answer God's summons and help bring America to its God-given destiny. But as Brown gave way to the events of the civil rights movement, the segregationist dream of the Southland remaining "white man's country" was increasingly challenged as African Americans began, more militantly and more successfully, to claim the historic promise of the nation.

Tracing the civil religious implications of the 1950s, Manis shows that as the civil rights movement divided Americans, desegregation became a crucial symbol for Americans who saw the nation as a land of equality and inclusion, as well as for Americans who continue to view America as properly and predominantly white and Protestant. In two new chapters, Manis connects this earlier conflict over civil religion and civil rights with what sociologist James D. Hunter called the "culture wars." In contrast to Hunter and others who have commented on it, Manis views the culture wars as centrally about the problem of race and difference in American life. What has broadened into partisan conflict about social issues such as prayer in schools, abortion, and family values, began as and largely remains at heart the question first raised by the civil rights debate: How racially diverse should America be?

A major literary event: a newly published work from the author of the American classic Their Eyes Were Watching God, with a foreword from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker, brilliantly illuminates the horror and injustices of slavery as it tells the true story of one of the last-known survivors of the Atlantic slave trade—abducted from Africa on the last "Black Cargo" ship to arrive in the United States.

In 1927, Zora Neale Hurston went to Plateau, Alabama, just outside Mobile, to interview eighty-six-year-old Cudjo Lewis. Of the millions of men, women, and children transported from Africa to America as slaves, Cudjo was then the only person alive to tell the story of this integral part of the nation’s history. Hurston was there to record Cudjo’s firsthand account of the raid that led to his capture and bondage fifty years after the Atlantic slave trade was outlawed in the United States.

In 1931, Hurston returned to Plateau, the African-centric community three miles from Mobile founded by Cudjo and other former slaves from his ship. Spending more than three months there, she talked in depth with Cudjo about the details of his life. During those weeks, the young writer and the elderly formerly enslaved man ate peaches and watermelon that grew in the backyard and talked about Cudjo’s past—memories from his childhood in Africa, the horrors of being captured and held in a barracoon for selection by American slavers, the harrowing experience of the Middle Passage packed with more than 100 other souls aboard the Clotilda, and the years he spent in slavery until the end of the Civil War.

Based on those interviews, featuring Cudjo’s unique vernacular, and written from Hurston’s perspective with the compassion and singular style that have made her one of the preeminent American authors of the twentieth-century, Barracoon masterfully illustrates the tragedy of slavery and of one life forever defined by it. Offering insight into the pernicious legacy that continues to haunt us all, black and white, this poignant and powerful work is an invaluable contribution to our shared history and culture.

Back in print, revised, and enlarged to bring the discussion to the present, Manis shows how two conflicting civil religions emerged in the South during the civil rights movement, each with its own understanding of America's calling and destiny as a nation. Using black and white Baptists in the South as case studies, Manis interprets the civil rights movement as a civil religious conflict between southerners with opposing understandings of America. Originally published in 1987, this new, expanded edition further argues that the civil rights movement and its opposition, with their conflicting images and hopes for America, foreshadowed the ongoing "culture wars" of recent days.

In the aftermath of World War II, citizens of every region drew together to affirm their common inheritance as a people and to celebrate the nation's military and moral victories. Such triumphs seemed to confirm America as a beacon to the nations, a "city on a hill." When America and particularly the South turned inward to think about "the American dilemma" of race, the South became a battlefield of conflicting civil faiths. The growing civil rights movement, calling on the nation to "live out the true meaning of its creed, " revealed within the South two separate civic creeds -- one based on freedom by law and equality under God; the other finding in the Constitution a guarantee of individual rights and in the Bible a divine sanction of segregation.

Manis explores the southern reaction to civil rights through the words and actions of black and white Baptists, ministers, and laypersons whose rhetoric embodied the conflicting civil religions in the South. Responding to the Supreme Court's ruling in Brown v. Boardof Education, both black and white Baptists urged their fellow citizens to answer God's summons and help bring America to its God-given destiny. But as Brown gave way to the events of the civil rights movement, the segregationist dream of the Southland remaining "white man's country" was increasingly challenged as African Americans began, more militantly and more successfully, to claim the historic promise of the nation.

Tracing the civil religious implications of the 1950s, Manis shows that as the civil rights movement divided Americans, desegregation became a crucial symbol for Americans who saw the nation as a land of equality and inclusion, as well as for Americans who continue to view America as properly and predominantly white and Protestant. In two new chapters, Manis connects this earlier conflict over civil religion and civil rights with what sociologist James D. Hunter called the "culture wars." In contrast to Hunter and others who have commented on it, Manis views the culture wars as centrally about the problem of race and difference in American life. What has broadened into partisan conflict about social issues such as prayer in schools, abortion, and family values, began as and largely remains at heart the question first raised by the civil rights debate: How racially diverse should America be?

Back in print, revised, and enlarged to bring the discussion to the present, Manis shows how two conflicting civil religions emerged in the South during the civil rights movement, each with its own understanding of America's calling and destiny as a nation. Using black and white Baptists in the South as case studies, Manis interprets the civil rights movement as a civil religious conflict between southerners with opposing understandings of America. Originally published in 1987, this new, expanded edition further argues that the civil rights movement and its opposition, with their conflicting images and hopes for America, foreshadowed the ongoing "culture wars" of recent days.

In the aftermath of World War II, citizens of every region drew together to affirm their common inheritance as a people and to celebrate the nation's military and moral victories. Such triumphs seemed to confirm America as a beacon to the nations, a "city on a hill." When America and particularly the South turned inward to think about "the American dilemma" of race, the South became a battlefield of conflicting civil faiths. The growing civil rights movement, calling on the nation to "live out the true meaning of its creed, " revealed within the South two separate civic creeds -- one based on freedom by law and equality under God; the other finding in the Constitution a guarantee of individual rights and in the Bible a divine sanction of segregation.

Manis explores the southern reaction to civil rights through the words and actions of black and white Baptists, ministers, and laypersons whose rhetoric embodied the conflicting civil religions in the South. Responding to the Supreme Court's ruling in Brown v. Boardof Education, both black and white Baptists urged their fellow citizens to answer God's summons and help bring America to its God-given destiny. But as Brown gave way to the events of the civil rights movement, the segregationist dream of the Southland remaining "white man's country" was increasingly challenged as African Americans began, more militantly and more successfully, to claim the historic promise of the nation.

Tracing the civil religious implications of the 1950s, Manis shows that as the civil rights movement divided Americans, desegregation became a crucial symbol for Americans who saw the nation as a land of equality and inclusion, as well as for Americans who continue to view America as properly and predominantly white and Protestant. In two new chapters, Manis connects this earlier conflict over civil religion and civil rights with what sociologist James D. Hunter called the "culture wars." In contrast to Hunter and others who have commented on it, Manis views the culture wars as centrally about the problem of race and difference in American life. What has broadened into partisan conflict about social issues such as prayer in schools, abortion, and family values, began as and largely remains at heart the question first raised by the civil rights debate: How racially diverse should America be?

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