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Reviews115 The black "better class"—a generation slightly younger than Schenck, with more formal schooling and a loftier understanding of the nature of progress—was put off by his style and never quite felt at home in his arena. They shared, however, his belief in the possibility of working with whites, and early in the decade of the 1880s they eagerly embraced an intenacial coalition to support the great crusade for prohibition. It was a divisive issue in the black community. With whiskey off limits in the days of slavery, the right to drink had symbolic as well as recreational importance, and the masses of blacks followed saloonkeeper Schenck, rather than the ministers and teachers of the black better class. But if prohibition failed and then faded away, the alliances across racial lines did not. In this impressively researched and even-handed account, Greenwood documents a history of cooperation between blacks and whites that began with the end of the Civil War and continued until late in the 1890s. It was, of course, a flawed partnership. Whites were often fickle in their loyalty to blacks as the common ground shifted from one issue to the next. But the habit of cooperation was there, and for more than thirty years in the nineteenth century, bridges were built across the chasm of race. Perhaps the most important of those was an alliance constructed in the 1890s. Republicans and Populists joined forces in a statewide battle against the Democrats, "fusing" a progressive and pragmatic agenda that included larger appropriation for public schools and a defense of the civil rights of blacks. With legislative victories in 1894 and 1896, made possible largely by the swing vote of blacks, the Republicans and Populists enacted a whole string of progressive legislation, including the most liberal voting laws in the South. But in the election of 1898 the Democratic Party played its ace—an ugly campaign for white supremacy that left the intenacial coalition in shambles. Only two years after their greatest success, African Americans in North Carolina found their victory swept away in a racist crusade. Equating the fusionist agenda with "black rule" and citing the natural superiority of whites, the Democratic party stormed into office, stripping blacks of the franchise and enacting new laws of legal segregation. With some confidence at first, blacks appealed to their white allies, only to discover that they no longer had any. The Republicans panicked with the Democratic success and echoed the cry for white man's rule. The new order lasted for more than sixty years, but Greenwood argues that the sons and daughters of the black "better classes"—unconsciously perhaps—revived their ancestors' articles of faith to build new coalitions in the civil rights movement. Greenwood makes her case impressively, with scholarship that is both imaginative and thorough . If her book has a flaw, it lies in the formality of Greenwood's prose. Her writing is often repetitious and dry, with the drama muted and the human face of the story never fully in focus. Those limitations aside, however, this book is important. As the title suggests , Greenwood has produced a bittersweet account of the South's racial struggle—a mixture of tragedy and high ideals that can offer a dose of perspective and wisdom for the charged racial climate of today. The Sanctified South: John Lakin Brasher and the Holiness Movement. By J. Lawrence Brasher. University of Illinois Press, 1994. 260 pp. Cloth, $39.95 (with cassette tape). Reviewed by Donald G. Mathews, associate professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Mathews is coauthor ofSex, Gender and the Politics of the ERA: A 116Southern Cultures State and Nation. A forthcoming anthology includes Mathews's "Christianizing the South— Sketching a Synthesis." Kneeling at an altar between a prostitute and a "bum," John Lakin Brasher did something that few scholars understand: he yielded to Christ's saving and sanctifying death and the power of his Holy Spirit. The year was 1899, and the place was Birmingham, Alabama, where the young minister's experience became a part of the forces changing southern culture. In preaching this experience for the next seventy years, however, Brasher also...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-1488
Print ISSN
1068-8218
Pages
pp. 115-118
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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