From Reconciliation to Revolution

The Student Interracial Ministry, Liberal Christianity, and the Civil Rights Movement

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David P. Cline
  • Chapel Hill, NC: 
    University of North Carolina Press
    , October
     2016.
     304 pages.
     $29.95.
     Paperback.
    ISBN
    9781469630434.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.

Description

Conceived at the same conference that produced the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the Student Interracial Ministry (SIM) was a national organization devoted to dismantling Jim Crow while simultaneously advancing American Protestant mainline churches’ approach to race. In this book, David P. Cline details how, between the founding of SIM in 1960 and its dissolution at the end of the decade, the seminary students who created and ran the organization influenced hundreds of thousands of community members through its various racial reconciliation and economic justice projects. From inner-city ministry in Oakland to voter registration drives in southwestern Georgia, participants modeled peaceful interracialism nationwide. By telling the history of SIM--its theology, influences, and failures--Cline situates SIM within two larger frameworks: the long civil rights movement and the even longer tradition of liberal Christianity’s activism for social reform.

Pulling SIM from the shadow of its more famous twin, SNCC, Cline sheds light on an understudied facet of the movement’s history. In doing so, he provokes an appreciation of the struggle of churches to remain relevant in swiftly changing times and shows how seminarians responded to institutional conservatism by challenging the establishment to turn toward political activism.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

David P. Cline is Assistant Professor of History at Virginia Tech. He has helped to lead several national civil rights movement oral history research projects, working with the Southern Oral History Program, the Library of Congress, and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. He is also the author of Creating Choice: A Community Responds to the Need for Abortion and Birth Control, 1961-1973 (2006).

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