In the half century after the Civil War, evangelical southerners
turned increasingly to Sunday schools as a means of rejuvenating
their destitute region and adjusting to an ever-modernizing world.
By educating children -- and later adults -- in Sunday school and
exposing them to Christian teachings, biblical truths, and
exemplary behavior, southerners felt certain that a better world
would emerge and cast aside the death and destruction wrought by
the Civil War. In To Raise Up the South, Sally G. McMillen offers
an examination of Sunday schools in seven black and white
denominations and reveals their vital role in the larger quest for
McMillen begins by explaining how the schools were established,
detailing northern missionaries' collaboration in their creation
and the eventual southern resistance to this northern aid. She then
turns to the classroom, discussing the roles of church officials,
teachers, ministers, and parents in the effort to raise pious
children; the different functions of men and women; and the social
benefits of such participation.
Though denominations of both races saw Sunday schools as a way
to increase their numbers and mold their children, white
southerners rarely raised the race issue in the classroom. Black
evangelicals, on the other hand, used their Sunday schools to
discuss and decry Jim Crow laws, rising violence, and widespread
Integrating the study of race, class, gender, and religion, To
Raise Up the South provides an exciting new lens through which to
view the turbulent years of Reconstruction and the emergence of the
New South. It charts the rise of an institution that became a
mainstay in the lives of millions of southerners.
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