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Interracialism and Christian Community in the Postwar South the Story of Koinonia Farm

by Tracy Elaine KMeyer

  • ISBN: 9780813917122
  • ISBN10: 0813917123

Interracialism and Christian Community in the Postwar South the Story of Koinonia Farm

by Tracy Elaine KMeyer

  • List Price: $49.50
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Univ of Virginia Pr
  • Publish date: 07/01/1997
  • ISBN: 9780813917122
  • ISBN10: 0813917123
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Description: When one thinks of southern religion, two images usually ring to mind: rigidly separated black and white congregation and a Bible Belt dominated by conservative white Protestant Christianity. Yet beginning in the postwar years and culminating in the civil rights movement, there were black and white Christians and activists seeking ways to create a "beloved community" based on racial equality. In Interracialism and Christian Community, in the Postwar South, Tracy Elaine K'Meyer looks at one such effort, Koinonia Farm, an interracial Christian cooperative founded in 1942 by two white Baptist ministers in southwest Georgia.

Koinonia began as a radical expression of southern Protestantism, an effort to achieve better race relations through economic cooperation and community. The farm's interracial nature made it a beacon to early civil rights activists, who rallied to its defense and helped it survive attacks from the Ku Klux Klan and others. The community was also a source of material and spiritual support for the movement in southwest Georgia. Koinonia's cooperation with local activists, however, brought to a head the underlying tensions between their effort to live in Christian community, as they defined it, and their secular goal of racial equality. Koinonia's history is a study in how those tensions were reconciled over the years.

K'Meyer provides a compelling portrait of Koinonia Farm during its period of greatest influence, from its early 1940s origins in the mind of its principal founder, Clarence Jordan, to its metamorphosis into Koinonia Partners in 1968. Its story touches upon three themes in southern history -- religion, race relations, and community -- and challenges commonunderstandings of each. In particular, this book contributes to the literature on the early civil rights movement, white liberalism, and interracialism and presents a fascinating case of religious belief informing progressive social action.

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