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Of the twentieth century Focusing on the strategies and organizational models church women employed in the fight for social justice Adams tracks the intersections of politics and religion race and gender and place and space in a New York City suburb a local example that offers new insights on northern racial oppression and civil rights protest As this book makes clear religion made a key difference in the lives and activism of ordinary black women who lived worked and worshiped on the margin during this tumultuous ti.

When a domestic servant named Violet Johnson moved to the affluent white suburb of Summit New Jersey in 1897 she became one of just barely a hundred black residents in the town of six thousand In this avowedly liberal Protestant community the very definition of “the suburbs” depended on observance of nmarked and fluctuating race and class barriers But Johnson did not intend to accept the status o Establishing a Baptist church a year later a seemingly moderate act that would have implications far beyond weekly wo.

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Rship Johnson challenged assumptions of gender and race advocating for a politics of civic righteousness that would grant African Americans an eual place in a Christian nation Johnson’s story is powerful but she was just one among the many working class activists integral to the budding days of the civil rights movement In Black Women’s Christian Activism Betty Livingston Adams examines the oft overlooked role of non elite black women in the growth of northern suburbs and American Protestantism in the first half.

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