Civil Rights, Faith, and Evangelical Culture
Publication Year: 2014
Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
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I was raised in a family of storytellers. I grew up hearing my father’s stories about his childhood in San Fernando, Tamaulipas, Mexico, and in South Texas. In the 1940s my father’s family immigrated to the United States, where they found work in the vegetable and shrimping industries...
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This book began as a graduate seminar paper for a class on comparative race and ethnicity taught by Luis Alvarez at the University of Houston. It has been a long road from there, but every step of the way I had the support and encouragement of friends, colleagues, and family...
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Introduction: Interethnic Alliances, Sacred Spaces, and the Politics of Latino Evangelicalism
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As a young boy in South Texas in the 1950s, Samuel Hernandez liked going to the theater every Saturday to watch cowboy and Indian movies. The serials that ended with dramatic cliffhangers kept him coming back week after week. So when a good friend told him that the local...
Part I: Missions and Race
Chapter 1. Building Up the Temple: Mennonite Missions in Mexican and Puerto Rican Barrios
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On the morning of March 10, 1936, Mennonite missionaries T. K. Hershey and William G. Detweiler loaded up their Ford V-8 pickup, bid farewell to their families in Pennsylvania, and began their trip to the borderlands of the United States and Mexico. From Texas to California...
Chapter 2. Missionary Motives: Race and the Making of the Urban Racial Council
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Speaking at the Conference on Race Relations in Atlanta in 1964, Mennonite pastor and civil rights activist Vincent Harding shared the story of Presbyterian minister Eugene Carson Blake. In 1963 Blake had joined demonstrators in Baltimore who had long felt the stinging force of...
Part II: Black, Brown, and Mennonite
Chapter 3. The Fight over Money: Latinos and the Black Manifesto
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Freshly appointed as executive secretary of the Urban Racial Council in 1969, John Powell found himself at the Bethel Mennonite Church in Chicago face to face with “Squeaky,” the leader of the Black P. Stone Nation. Powell was there to try to regain control of the church that a week...
Chapter 4. “Jesus Christ Made a Macho Outta Me!”: The 1972 Cross-Cultural Youth Convention
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In 1972 the Minority Ministries Council printed a brochure that read: “If you’re Mennonite chances are better than 9 out of 10 that you are white, affluent and will ask . . . the minority what?”1 The brochure caught people’s attention, but it also raised an important point: just who are these...
Chapter 5. Social Movement or Labor Union?: Mennonites and the Farmworker Movement
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Most summers in the 1950s, Paul and Ann Conrad followed Mexican American families to the cotton fields of West Texas. Loaded with Bibles and other Christian literature in their van—literally a church on wheels—they traveled 500 miles to minister to the 18 or so Mexican...
Part III: Becoming Evangélicos
Chapter 6. Mujeres Evangélicas: Negotiating the Borderlands of Faith and Feminism
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On April 14, 1973, close to 60 Latinas gathered at the Iglesia Evangélica Menonita in Moline, Illinois, for the first conference organized by and for Latinas in the Mennonite Church. Conference organizers Maria Bustos, Lupe Bustos, and Maria Rivera Snyder planned what they...
Chapter 7. “Remember Sandia!”: Meno-Latinos and Religious Identity Politics
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The mid-1970s were good years for Latino Mennonites. Overall membership numbers were on the rise and the new Concilio Nacional de Iglesias Menonitas Hispanas (National Council of Spanish Mennonite Churches) replaced the Minority Ministries Council (MMC) as the leading...
Conclusion: Latino Mennonites and the Politics of Belonging
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The events that led to the involvement of Latino Mennonites in the civil rights movement, the farmworker struggle, and the coalition they built with African American coreligionists in the Mennonite Church are now little more than distant memories. Most of the religious activists...
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About the Author, Further Reading
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Page Count: 320
Illustrations: 20 halftones
Publication Year: 2014