Anna Madgigine Jai Kingsley: African Princess, Florida Slave, Plantation Owner

February 20, 2017

By Daniel L. Schafer (University Press of Florida, 2003)

schafer-annaI’ve lived all my life in western and northern sections of the United States where cultural practices of white people like me have restricted people of color. Although I have been aware of discrimination because of race, it has been difficult for me to understand the harsher patterns that existed in southern states—slavery for more than a century and legal segregation for another hundred years.

A winter sojourn on Amelia Island, which is one of several barrier islands between Florida’s northeastern coast and the Atlantic Ocean, is providing the opportunity and incentive to explore several aspects of the history of slavery that is so much a part of the American story.

In 1808 the United States prohibited the importing of slaves, but in East Florida which remained under Spanish sovereignty until 1821, slaves could still be imported and sold. Because of its deep-water port, Fernandina on Amelia Island became the primary location where ships continued to bring slaves who would be smuggled into Georgia and other states where slavery was still the law of the land.

During the years when Spanish law prevailed in East Florida, two types of slavery existed in close proximity and there was an intense struggle over which would prevail. Although the Spanish three-caste system (enslaved black, free black, and white) lost to the Southern States two-caste system (enslaved black and white), the history of this struggle needs to be kept alive.

Anna Madgigine Jai Kingsley was a central figure in this period of American history. She was born in Senegal in 1793 into a family of the ruling class and captured and enslaved by a rival African ethnic group in 1806. She was one of a shipload of slaves bought by an American slaver and transported to Havanna. Thirteen years of age, she was purchased by Zephaniah Kingsley, Jr., who was himself active in the transatlantic slave trade and a major plantation owner in Florida.

During the next five years, she gave birth to three children whom Kingsley fathered. He claimed them as his family and in 1811 granted Anna and her children their freedom. For the next thirty-seven years, Kingsley referred to her as his wife and “lived openly with her and their mixed-race children” (Schafer, p. 25). During much of this time, Kingsley also cohabited with other enslaved teenaged women, openly acknowledged their children as his own, and granted them freedom, too.

Kingsley appointed Anna as overseer of Laurel Hill, his large plantation on Fort George Island about thirty miles south of Fernandina and she directed operations during his frequent and long absences. She organized slave quarters and managed affairs in ways that were similar to those she had experienced among her own people in Senegal.

slave-quarters

After Spain ceded East Florida to the United States, the freedom and security of Kingsley’s African and mixed-race family were severely threatened. American law did not recognize their free status or their rights to inherit and own property. They constantly faced the threat of being sold again into slavery.

In order to secure their safety, Kingsley bought large holdings in the Republic of Haiti, then a free black country, and in 1836 moved his large and complex family moved to this safe location. In 1843, Kingsley died in New York at the age of seventy-eight. Anna was fifty. Three years later, she decided to return to Florida where her husband had retained large holdings.

As struggles over slavery, states rights, and southern sovereignty continued, her life became more difficult. Until her death in 1870, she was surrounded by her large, mixed race family and lived as a free woman. The war had wiped out her holdings and she “resided with one of her daughters, bereft of resources save a loving family” (Schafer, p. 111). She is buried in an unmarked grave in Clifton Cemetery in the Jacksonville suburb Arlington.

One of Anna’s great grand-daughters married A. L. Lewis, founder of the Afro-American Life Insurance Company and of American Beach on Amelia Island, a community where African Americans in the segregated South would have access to the beach.

The history of this era is complex, and an impressive body of scholarly literature is emerging to help us understand it. I am grateful for the slender biography of Anna Kingsley that historian Daniel L. Schafer has written. In easily understood language he describes the slavery patterns already existing in Africa, outlines the transatlantic slave trade, explains the economic and political conflicts in the United States that led to the Civil War, and pieces together the life story of Anna Madgigine Jai Kingsley.

His narrative is only 131 pages long, followed by another twenty pages of notes, bibliography, and index.  Schafer’s exhaustive, scholarly research is clear, but because his focus is the life story of a remarkable woman, the book is alive and deeply moving. In 2013 he published a much longer, more technical biography, Zephaniah Kingsley, Jr. and the Atlantic Slave Trade (University Press of Florida, 2013).


Bicycling on Amelia Island: the Franklintown church and cemetery

February 10, 2017

a1a

Florida’s North Coast Highway A1A is one of the nation’s most scenic roads. As it runs through the southern half of Amelia Island, in the northeastern tip of the state, it has much to offer a contemplative cyclotourist. The two-lane highway has well-marked bike lanes, in addition to a bike trail for recreational cyclists. Up-scale residential communities and resorts flourish on both sides of the highway, but the roadway itself is tree-lined, protected from the wind, and restful.

This little stretch of coastal highway also provides the opportunity to delve into the continuing interaction of race, religion, and money in the development of American culture. Part of that story is kept alive by Franklintown United Methodist Church on Lewis Street just west of A1A and four miles north of the bridge over Nassau Sound.

The story begins in 1790 when the Robert Harrison family came to the southern tip of Amelia Island and in 1796 received a 600-acre land grant from the Spanish government. Two related families acquired neighboring grants. Each plantation owned slaves, as many as one hundred, to raise crops of rice, cattle, corn, and sea island cotton.

In his 1939 account of old families and plantations of Nassau County, recorded in the WPA Federal Writers’ Program, J. J. G. Cooper wrote that the Harrison plantation had a machine that separated the seed from cotton. His presumption, based on what people told him, was that the planters had learned about this machine from Eli Whitney who had travelled on nearby Cumberland Island in 1790 or 1792.

At the time of the Civil War, the Harrison plantation had grown to 1,000 acres. Union army soldiers swept through the region in 1862, freeing the slaves, but the Harrison family deeded small tracts on the southern edge of the plantation to slaves who remained loyal to the family. Others moved a little to the north and established the community of Franklintown.

frank-placque

In 1880 Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church, an African American congregation in Fernandina Beach, the town on the northern part of Amelia Island, organized Franklintown Chapel. Eight years later, Gabriel Means, an ex-slave and Union army soldier, and his wife Edith Drummond Means donated land to the church. In 1892 a small frame building was constructed. In 1949, it was demolished because of highway A1A construction and a new frame church was built.

In 1935 a small group of black businessmen from Jacksonville established American Beach, a residential community with beach access. Their purpose was to provide a place on the ocean for African Americans who could not enjoy public beaches in the segregated south. It was just north of Franklintown and for the next thirty years these two communities lived side by side.

In 1972 a company based on Hilton Head Island bought much of Franklintown and took the initial steps to establish an elaborate ocean-fronting resort and luxury condominiums. The church had to move and was relocated on Lewis Street, near A1A in the northern portion of American Beach. A new brick chapel was constructed and the 1949 frame building was relocated to the new site and serves as the church’s fellowship hall. I am puzzled by the sign posted on this building that refers to the Franklintown Episcopal Methodist Church, which reverses the order of Methodist and Episcopal from the normal title used through history by Methodists in this country.

cem-2I have not yet learned the earlier location of this church, but I have found the original Franklintown cemetery, which is located in Plantation Point, a gated community just south of Lewis Street. On a cul-de-sac of $500,000 homes, there is one vacant lot that provides access to the cemetery. Most of the graves are unmarked, but the purpose of this tiny tract of land is made clear by those that are still identified. I was especially moved by the grave of Ola A. Williams, September 12, 1879 — August 15, 1991.

In her book The Shrinking Sands of an African American Beach, Annette McCollough Myers describes challenges facing American Beach (and Franklintown) because of the influx of wealthy people, most of them white and from other parts of the nation. The people I see while cycling through Franklintown are just like me, white and alien to the territory. Realty reports online describe Franklintown as one of the wealthiest communities in the nation.

Perhaps because of the wealth, there also is despair. I talked briefly with one old African American man sitting in the shade near a convenience grocery on A1A, within sight of the church. He sat with his back to the road, staring at the ground, munching on chips from a ripped open bag. His speech was difficult to understand, but over and over again he repeated this simple refrain: “I want to go, but I don’t want to kill myself.”

Myers, Annette McCollough. The Shrinking Sands of an African American Beach, Second Edition (Jacksonville, FL: High-Pitched Hum Publications, 2011). This book describes the history of American Beach from the 1980s through the early 2000s.


Kenneth Woodward’s Requiem for a Lost America

January 30, 2017

Responding to Kenneth L. Woodward’s Getting Religion: Faith, Culture, and Politics from the Age of Eisenhower to the Era of Obama (New York: Convergent, 2016)

woodwardFew people have had the opportunity that has come to Kenneth L. Woodward who devoted most of his career to writing about American religion. His base was one of the most favored journalistic posts of the half century during which he worked: religion editor for Newsweek. This position provided financial support and entrée so that he could go places, watch from the inside, and talk extensively with people who were central to what was going on.

He wrote extensively and frequently in disciplined and lively, readable language. In later years, institutional archives have made this backlog of material available for him to draw upon when needed. Among the strengths of Woodward’s reporting is that he writes as a Christian believer and as a self-aware old man, conditions he affirms in the final paragraph of the book.

“One of the blessings of old age is the clarity with which diminishing energy of mind and body allows us to see what has been our human lot all along—namely, contingency, transience, and finitude. We cannot control what may happen to us. Nothing lasts forever. We must die. These hold true for believer and nonbeliever alike. They are the existential facts of life that all religions in different ways address. In reply, Christians like myself are called to abide in Faith, Hope, and Love. What matters is that God’s grace is everywhere” (413).

Everyone interested in the life of our nation during this half century can benefit from this book of “lived history” that Woodward has written. It is clear, articulate, vivid, and filled with insight concerning the central topic, which is the interaction of religion, culture, and politics during this period.

As soon as I started reading the book, I liked it. Perhaps the most important reason is that we are close to the same age (I was born in 1931, Woodward in 1935). We grew up in an era when the United States was characterized by what he calls embedded religion, marked by a fusion of faith, culture, and politics. He grew up in a Catholic culture in Cleveland, Ohio, whereas I grew up in a low-church Protestant culture in Portland, Oregon. Although the details of church life and education differed dramatically, there was an undergirding system of values, especially as focused on family structure, transmitted by church and school, that was much the same.

The first half of the book held my attention as Woodward describes the traditional patterns and then reports on the rapid changes that occurred, especially during the fifties and sixties. He describes the entrepreneurial religion of people like Billy Graham, basing his accounts on frequent interaction with leaders of these religious responses to changes in American life.

He gives careful attention to major changes in his own church, pushed in part by the Vatican Council, and describes the dismantling of the embeddedness that had been so important in his growing up years. Changes in Catholic liturgy and debates over birth control are carefully chronicled, and Woodward’s ambivalence about what was happening is clear. He quotes from his feature essay in a 1971 issue of Newsweek to describe why he and other Catholics of the time could remain steady in their faith.

“When the Catholic faith runs deep, it establishes a certain sensuous rhythm in the soul, a sacramental sensibility that suffuses ordinary things—bread, water, wine, the marriage bed—and transforms them into vehicles of grace. In these spiritual depths, doctrine and church laws fade in importance” (92).

At this point in his book, Woodward turns in a new direction. He describes the civil rights movement, as led by Martin Luther King, Jr., in which religious faith and zeal led to public engagement and the vigorous efforts to realize religious aspirations in public life by transforming a racist society. He emphasizes the restructuring of American religion, as described by writers like Richard John Neuhaus and Robert Wuthnow.

Woodward quotes from James Davison Hunter’s book Culture Wars: The Struggle to Define America in order to state the central feature of the change that was occurring. “The great polarity in American religion, he argued, was between ‘orthodox’ believers who appealed to an external, definable, and transcendent authority and ‘progressives’ who tended to resymbolize the contents of historic faith according to the presuppositions of contemporary life” (179). Read more: woodward


Using the church to reform society

January 27, 2017

Presences: A Bishop’s Life in the City, by Paul Moore (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1997)

moore-paulSoon after the forced integration of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, leaders of Christ Church Cathedral in Indianapolis averted a crisis over race and religion.  I learned about this congregational case study from a sermon preached in January, 2017, by Stephen Carlsen, the current dean and rector, and read the full detail in the memoir of Paul Moore who had been the Cathedral’s dean and rector at that time. Although it happened sixty years ago, this episode in church politics continues to be instructive for people interested in the relationship of race and religion in America.

Moore was born into a wealthy New York family in 1919, reared in luxury, and educated at prestigious St. Paul’s School. This school, Moore writes, “instilled faith in a god who looked favorably on gentlemen and demanded no shift in social values from the status quo. . .This religion had a touch of Calvinism to it, a tendency to believe that worldly success and position were blessings given to those who deserved them.” People so blessed “were obliged, in return, to give service and leadership to your community and be a steward of the wealth you had inherited or earned because of your advantages.” They were taught to give generously to their communities and the institutions that helped the poor. “Social change to eliminate poverty, however, was thought to be dangerously liberal.” You could give money to a settlement house for black people but efforts to break the color barrier in your neighborhood would probably lead to your being criticized or ostracized (27).

After graduation from Yale and heroic service in the Marines during World War II, Moore experienced a deepening of his faith and enrolled in General Theological Seminary in New York City to prepare for the priesthood in the Episcopal Church. While in seminary, he and some of his classmates ministered among poor people, many of them people of color, in neighborhoods close to the campus. Following graduation, he and three or four others were appointed to a long-established but declining Episcopal church in Jersey City located in a neighborhood with many poor people who were struggling to survive. Some of them were drawn to the church which found new strength.

In 1958 Moore moved to Indianapolis to serve as dean and rector of Christ Church Cathedral on Monument Circle, succeeding John Craine who had been elected bishop coadjutor of the diocese. The Moore family, including seven children (two more were born later) moved into the house provided by the church, “a large, pretentious neo-Tudor mansion, set back from the still-fashionable Washington Boulevard by a well-tended lawn and shade trees.” The children attended public schools, including Shortridge High School where my children were  students more than a decade later. Moore describes Indianapolis as patriotic and its people as “polite, but not overly friendly.” Heeding Bishop Craine’s advice, he decided “to take it easy with the congregation. I realized most of them were conservative—socially, liturgically, and politically. In Jersey City, the more radical your views and actions, the better the people liked it. The opposite was true in Indianapolis” (141–3).

Christ Church had about seven hundred members, but only two were black, the principal of the segregated black high school and his wife. One of the cathedral clergy befriended three black children who attended its Sunday School and the 9:00 o’clock service with “the younger, more liberal families” (151). They asked to be baptized; in keeping with the church’s established practice, the baptisms took place at the 11:00 o’clock service. At least twenty black adults were gathered around the font. About a month later, the vestry, the congregation’s governing body, set up a retreat with their pastor. He soon discovered that the purpose was to register their discontent that “these nigras” had been there and to insist that this practice should not continue. Read more: using-the-church-to-reform-society


Is it ever too cold to ride?

January 7, 2017

snowEvery morning as the Mass Ave neighborhood in Indianapolis comes to life, bicycle riders are part of the mix. They join walkers and drivers on their way to 8:00 a.m. destinations. Even as winter’s darkness and falling temperatures settled into place, bikes, most of them with lights, kept appearing

On a Friday morning, I watched from my window with special interest: 7 degrees by the thermometer, minus 2 with the wind chill factored in; frozen slush on the Cultural Trail that cyclists prefer, and salt-treated but damp streets.

Walkers were out, some with dogs on their morning constitutional and others with business-like bags slung over their shoulder. And cyclists? From 7:15 to 7: 35, I saw two, a smaller number than on summer mornings, but there they were. The bikes had straight bars and lights, and the cyclists were bundled up and wearing back packs.

The surprise was that they were riding on the slushy and slick Cultural Trail rather than on the street where traction was probably better. This makes me think they were commuters rather than messengers, because those who ride their bikes to make their living usually pick the streets where they can ride hard and fast.

Twenty-five years ago, when I lived in a traditional Indianapolis neighborhood, I biked three miles each way to my teaching job regardless of temperature. On the coldest morning I remember, the temperature was officially reported to be minus 20, but the roads were dry and I waited until it was light enough to see. “It’s my benign eccentricity to ride regardless of weather,” I told students.

“15 above was my limit,” a book group acquaintance told me, “when I was commuting 10 miles each way to my job in Chicago. No matter how you dress, you have to breathe that super cold air, and I worried what it would do to my lungs.”

My rule for training rides back then was 25 and sunny, and decent roads. Under those conditions, I could manage a fast hour’s ride. During my recent years in the Pacific Northwest, I upped the limits to 35 and sunny, but I also factored in the east wind that on bright winter days could whistle down the Columbia River Gorge, over snow fields, and then chill out all but the most resolute cyclists

As a short distance commuter in Indianapolis, I wore my regular suit and tie, with trench coat, ear muffs, and heavy gloves when the weather turned cold. Training rides called for warm leggings over my cycling shorts, shoe coverings, and alternating layers of short- and long-sleeved shirts and jersey above the waist. A wool scarf and a wind breaker provided added warmth and could easily be removed to avoid over-heating.

A more challenging task for a cold weather cyclist is attitude adjustment. How can you keep going out day after day when temperatures fall?

For a commuter, the secret is to make the daily trip by bike a matter of basic routine, something you do every day as a matter of course. Once I decided that I would travel to campus by bike or by foot, it was easy. The daily question was not if I would head out on my bike (or when the roads were slick, on foot). Instead, the question was how to dress to meet the current conditions.

For training rides, the attitudinal factor was somewhat different. When I didn’t have to keep riding, it was easy not to go out when weather was unfavorable. What pushed me to keep going was a basic desire to stay in shape. I wanted to be in good enough condition that I could do 100 miles any day of the year. This meant that even during the winter I had to do rides that lasted from one to three hours so that during our annual short visit with our Florida son and his family, I could do much longer rides.

Now that I am an octogenarian open road cyclist, I am experiencing a weakening resolve. Short trips to the grocery store, bank, and library and occasional fifteen-mile round trips to the Irvington and Butler-Tarkington neighborhoods are as far as I’m likely to go,  unless the temperature gets into the 40s. That’s enough to keep be in good enough condition for my annual Florida and Arizona winter break when there will be many days with many more miles.

In March, when I get back home, spring will be coming back to Indiana. Hurray!


Ghost Bike on the Moon Trail

December 27, 2016

ghost-bikeThe day after Christmas in Indianapolis: 64 degrees, lowering clouds, promise of rain and falling temp, an almost perfect morning for a fast ride to wake up a sleepy set of muscles.

It was a good day to stay on familiar routes where it would be easy to turn around and sprint for home if a thunder storm brought in the rain: north on Illinois Street past the Wild Things public art, Riverview Drive to Broad Ripple Village, and north on a fine stretch of the Monon Trail. Pushed along by the wind, I rode easily and quickly. Not many cyclists were out, but walkers and runners had seized the moment, and I felt a vibrancy of happy people enjoying a surprisingly happy day.

On previous rides along the Monon, I had seen the Ghost Bike at the 75th Street crossing, but had never stopped. Today was different. Maybe the bold, white paint on a glowering day caught my attention. Many Ghost Bikes are recreational frames with straight handle bars, but this one has aggressive lines and serious drop bars. A plastic encased story hangs from the top tube. The first paragraph outlines the plot.

“I was hit at this intersection while riding my bike by a car that ran a red light on June 14, 2012. I’m alive today because I was wearing a helmet. There is another Ghost Bike at the south end of the Monon of a friend who wasn’t wearing a helmet and died when he hit a tree.”

The surviving cyclist collided with the windshield of the car and is confident that he would have died had he not been wearing his helmet. He found himself on the pavement with one leg “split open from knee to ankle.” Other people on the trail came to his rescue, applied a tourniquet, and phoned 911. He was hospitalized fourteen days and has had numerous operations and skin grafts.

He now has a “drop foot” and will always walk with a brace. He kept on cycling and reports that he has done two Hilly Hundreds. As all of us who have ridden the Hilly know, the hundred-mile, figure-eight weekend ride through the southern Indiana hills, calls for experienced riders in good shape.

“I still get nervous,” he writes, “when I approach this intersection and stop, push the button on the crosswalk and wait for the WALK sign even when there aren’t cars around.”

It’s an intersection that invites trouble. At this point, Westfield Boulevard, once a country road taking people out of town and long since a residential arterial, is close to the railroad right of way that became the Monon Trail. Because northbound Westfield angles toward the east just beyond this crossing, sight lines are obscured. The intersection is controlled with traffic lights, but even so drivers push. I know because when my children were growing up, we would take 75th to Westfield on our way to the swimming pool at the Jordon YMCA.

While I was reading the story, a married couple in their 50s, who were walking on the trail, stopped to talk. “The cyclist always loses,” he remarked, and I agreed that this is usually the case.

“We ride bikes a lot,” she continued, “but only while taking our spinning classes in a training center. “

“I’m so apprehensive,” he added, “that I always wear a helmet even on exercise bikes.”

I could have countered that most people continue to drive their automobiles despite the daily recitation on TV news of motor vehicle smash-ups, life-threatening injuries, and deaths. It wouldn’t make any difference to this couple. They are too scared to ride outside.

The irony of this story is that at this intersection cyclists are probably safer on Westfield Boulevard than on the bike trail. At the real intersection, drivers are at risk of colliding with other motor vehicles and they are less likely to let their attention wander or take a quick glance and run the light (whether yellow or red).

This part of the Monon is especially nice and I, along with other cyclists, will continue to use it, but the Ghost Bike at 75th will help me pay close attention to what I’m doing.

I continued my ride to 96th Street and then turned back into the wind toward home. With the change of direction, my energies quickly dwindled. When starting, I had felt strong enough to try for my end-of-the-year 50-mile ride. But as it turned out, 24.75 miles were as many as I wanted to do on this quiet day after Christmas.

75th-stree-crossing

 


Religion and race in America

December 20, 2016

Blacks and Whites in Christian America: How Racial Discrimination Shapes Religious Convictions, by Jason E. Shelton and Michael O. Emerson (New York University Press, 2012).

shelton-emersonThe oft-repeated statement that 11:00 o’clock on Sunday morning is the most segregated hour in America can be understood in at least three ways: people, both black and white, like to go to church with people like themselves; white racism has forced black Christians to establish their own churches; and other theological and historical factors continue to shape belief and practice of African American Christians.

Blacks and Whites in Christian America gives support for all three explanation. As a white Christian, I’m interested in this study because I need to understand and overcome my own prejudice and privilege and change my ways of life.

Another reason for my interest is my work through the years on behalf of Christian unity. During a forty-year period ending in 2002, the major unity effort in the United States was the Consultation on Church Union. Three predominantly African-American churches were full participants alongside six predominantly white denominations.

The Consultation defined racism as a theological problem and made serious efforts to overcome the denominational separations that kept the participating churches distinct. When the Consultation concluded its work, these denominations continued as separate bodies, perhaps closer to one another than they had been, but with none of the causes of division, including race, significantly overcome.

Shelton and Emerson are sociologists rather than historians or theologians and therefore used empirical studies of religious practices and ideas, giving major attention to black and white church goers. They interviewed selected groups of church goers and studied published treatments of their topic, featuring James H. Cone (both his writings and interviews).

Early in the book the authors narrow the focus of attention: “… for our most specific comparisons, we restrict our analyses to black Protestants and white evangelicals—whose common heritages derive from the Great Awakening of previous centuries of American life” (p. 12). Throughout the book, however, they appear to use white protestant and white evangelical interchangeably, which can lead to confusion about their analyses.

A major feature of this book is the identification of five “building blocks of black Protestant faith.” These they identify as (1) Experiential building block, (2) Survival building block, (3) Mystery building block, (4) Miraculous building block, and (5) Justice building block (pp. 8–9).

Four features of their exposition stand out for me: First, the role of black churches as places where American blacks experience themselves and relate to one another in their full humanity despite slavery and segregation; second, the continuation of characteristics from African religion, in a way analogous to how Native American religion was embraced in Spanish Catholicism in the Southwest and Mexico; third, struggles to understand and obey the Bible as literal truth despite what seem to be contrasting understandings derived from science and history; and fourth, substantial agreement of black Protestants and white Evangelicals on the central beliefs of the Christian faith as articulated in the Apostles’ Creed.

I have to believe that the authors are correct in their assertions that systems of white privilege and prejudice are still in place, thus continuing to disadvantage black people. Shelton and Emerson help us understand a second difference that exists between most black Americans and most white Americans (but especially among white Evangelicals), which is that black Christians support the necessity of structural changes, including legislation, that have to continue so that American society will tear down the systems and structures that continue to impede black people in American life, whereas white evangelicals are strongly opposed to these measures.

One more conclusion, which the authors state tentatively, is that blacks and whites may be “drifting toward a consensus … about the causes of racial equality.” There is a growing tendency among black and white Americans to “attribute racial inequality to motivational individualism” rather than to the inheritance of segregation (p. 206).

Rightly, Shelton and Emerson remind us of Dr. King’s admonition that since structures of evil do not crumble on their own we must continue the hard work of breaking them down and building a new unity. Although the authors don’t say so, it should be clear that the burden of responsibility rests upon white Americans.

The findings and insights reported in this book are going to help me as I continue my efforts to further the unity of black and white Christians. The line of argument sometimes seemed to waver, but persistent readers will be able to find their way as the exposition unfolds. Shelton teaches at the University of Texas at Arlington and Emerson at Rice University.