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No Jim Crow ChurchThe Origins of South Carolina's Bahá'í Community$
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Louis Venters

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780813061078

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813061078.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
No Jim Crow Church

Louis Venters

University Press of Florida

The introduction situates the South Carolina Bahá’í movement within the context of U.S. history and the historiography of American race relations. It begins with W.E.B. Du Bois’s assessment of the “problem of the color line,” identifying the Bahá’í Faith as a worldwide religious movement, based on the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh, that focused on interracial unity during the Jim Crow period and beyond. It compares and contrasts the Bahá’í Faith with other secular and religious organizations, from the Pentecostal churches to the Communist Party, that challenged racial mores during the Jim Crow era. It argues that the Bahá’ís’ simultaneous rejection of racial, religious, class, and gender orthodoxies made them targets of abuse from the Ku Klux Klan and others, despite their relatively small numbers. It posits the South Carolina Bahá’í community as the heir of the Reconstruction-era promise of a just interracial society.

Keywords:   Bahá’í Faith, South Carolina, Race relations, W.E.B. Du Bois, Bahá’u’lláh, Jim Crow, Ku Klux Klan, Reconstruction

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