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Christian Reconstruction: The American Missionary Association and Southern Blacks, 1861-1890
Christian Reconstruction The American Missionary Association and Southern Blacks 1861-1890 Author:Joe M. Richardson Joe Richardson traces the history of the American Missionary Association, the most ambitious and successful of the many benevolent societies that worked with former slaves during the Civil War and Reconstruction. The associations leaders were Christian abolitionists who believed that it was their responsibility to liberate blacks not only from ... more »slavery, but also from the shackles of ignorance, superstition, and sin.
Sending its missionary teachers into a region where they faced white hostility and violence, the association provided relief for freemen, helped them acquire land, demanded civil and political rights on their behalf, established schools and churches, and fought for the creation of a system of public education in the South.
While the missionaries' most serious frictions were with white southerners, their relations with the black population were not entirely without strain. The missionaries were often blind to the richness and vitality of black culture. Attempts to convince the freedmen to accept the alien rituals of the Congregational church failed in the face of the black church's own strong traditions. The association was most successful in its establishment of black colleges which, despite constant financial problems, offered some of the best education available to young blacks for nearly a century.« less