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date: 25 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

A small but highly visible minority of white Christian leaders vigorously supported the African American struggle for full freedom. However, these leaders represented an exception, not the mainstream, in the history American Protestantism, which has only rarely championed racial equality. Protestant leaders who openly joined civil rights initiatives came from the most liberal ranks of the Protestant traditions, and they often pursued civil rights activity over strenuous objections from their parishioners. The civil rights years exacted significant changes in the American religious landscape. Those traditions that most visibly supported the freedom struggle lost members in droves, while conservative traditions thrived.

Keywords: civil rights, religion, Christianity, Protestants, evangelicals, theology, Southern Baptist Convention, Methodist Church, Presbyterians, Episcopalians

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