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Black Bishop Edward T. Demby and the Struggle for Racial Equality in the Episcopal Church cover
  • ISBN: 9780252026188
  • ISBN10: 0252026187

Black Bishop Edward T. Demby and the Struggle for Racial Equality in the Episcopal Church

by Michael J. Beary

  • List Price: $39.00
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Univ of Illinois Pr
  • Publish date: 04/01/2001
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In 1918, the Right Reverend Edward T. Demby took up the reins as Suffragan (assistant) Bishop for Colored Work in Arkansas and the Province of the South-west. His tenure in a segregated ministry illuminates the larger American experience of segregation disguised as a social good.

A gifted leader and committed Episcopalian, Demby recognized that black service institutions, such as schools, hospitals, and orphanages, would be the means to draw African Americans back to the Episcopal Church, which they had abandoned in droves after emancipation as the church of their former masters. For more than twenty years, hamstrung by white apathy, lack of funds, jurisdictional ambiguity, and the Great Depression, Demby doggedly tried to establish the credibility of a ministry that was as ill conceived as it was well intended.

Michael J. Beary skillfully narrates the shifting alliances within the Episcopal Church and shows how race was but one aspect of a more elemental struggle for power. He demonstrates how Demby's steadiness of purpose and nonconfrontational manner gathered allies on both sides of the color line and how, ultimately, his judgment and the weight of his experience carried the church past its segregationist experiment.

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