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Title page for ETD etd-05292008-155450

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Crawford, Theodore Wesley
URN etd-05292008-155450
Title From Segregation to Independence: African Americans in Churches of Christ
Degree PhD
Department Religion
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Dennis C. Dickerson Committee Chair
John S. McClure Committee Member
Kathleen Flake Committee Member
Lucius Outlaw, Jr. Committee Member
  • Gospel Advocate
  • Abilene Christian College
  • Christian Echo
  • Southwestern Christian College
  • Jack Evans
  • David Lipscomb
  • Marshall Keeble
  • Nashville Christian Institute
  • Civil Rights Movement
  • George Philip Bowser
Date of Defense 2008-05-08
Availability unrestricted
This project is concerned with racism in Churches of Christ. In this dissertation I explore the manner in which African American members of Churches of Christ moved on a trajectory from segregation to independence from whites throughout the 20th century. As a congregational denomination, Churches of Christ lack an official governing body; therefore, they have relied on denominational colleges, journals, and lectureships to mediate their theology. As the most audible voices of the denomination, these entities perpetuated an illusion of racial unity in Churches of Christ by failing to either acknowledge or address the blatant racism of whites. With the advent of the civil rights movement, however, African Americans in mass publicly expressed their resentment to decades of racism. The 20th century ended with each of these two racial factions moving rapidly away from the other toward de facto denominational status. The research from this project helps church historians understand not only the division within Churches of Christ caused by racism, but also the power of unofficial denominational bodies to mask significant division within a radical congregational denomination.
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