restricted access Introduction. His Plan for Them Was Clear

This chapter introduces the book's main arguments: that black southerners interpreted political events by discerning God's purposes in emancipation and that they understood the entire late nineteenth century as an age of emancipation, notwithstanding political setbacks. Although most black Protestants agreed that God had intervened dramatically to free four million slaves, they disagreed in the decades that followed about what exactly God planned for their emancipated race. They placed their own experience within biblical narratives in order to predict a hopeful future. Black Protestants' end times theology, or eschatology, defied categories of white Protestant theology and mattered in both black political decisions and black self understanding. The book brings state and local politics to the scholarship of black religion by focusing on North Carolina. The introduction argues that historians cannot understand black politics without understanding how black Protestants read different biblical stories and interpreted prophecies of the end times.


Subject Headings

  • African Americans -- Southern States -- Religion.
  • African Americans -- Southern States -- History.
  • African Americans -- Southern States -- Social conditions.
  • Freedmen -- Southern States -- Social conditions.
  • Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877).
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