Methodist Women and Civil Rights in New Orleans



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Paul Harvey

Here's a review of a book I should have known about but completely missed, about Methodists and civil rights in New Orleans, posting here fyi.

Blue, Ellen
.  St. Mark's and the social gospel: Methodist women and civil rights in New Orleans, 1895-1965.  Tennessee, 2011.  303p index; ISBN 9781572338210, $45.95. Reviewed in 2012apr CHOICE.
Blue (Phillips Theological Seminary) has written a nuanced and compelling history of Methodist Episcopal Church South (MECS) women activists, covering the first two-thirds of the 20th century. Drawing nimbly from sources like minutes of women's meetings, publications from missionary and reform organizations, women's periodicals, journals, poetry, and letters, Blue shows that Methodist women carried the spirit and practice of the Social Gospel well into the 20th century. Correcting misperceptions of southern women activists as "conservative," for example, Blue argues that MECS activists like Mary Werlein were progressive in their social views, but were nonetheless shaped by their culture's and religion's racist attitude toward ethnic and racial minorities. Evidence for this assertion relies more heavily on documents written by men with whom MECS women either worshipped or studied, rather than documents authored by women. Nevertheless, Blue has written a well-researched book that functions as an excellent counterpart to Wendy J. Deichmann Edwards and Carolyn De Swarte Gifford's edited collection,Gender and the Social Gospel (CH, Dec'03, 41-2122).Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. -- A. D. Cortes, Holy Cross College

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