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All Bound Up TogetherThe Woman Question in African American Public Culture, 1830-1900$
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Martha S. Jones

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780807831526

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807888902_jones

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Make Us a Power

Make Us a Power

Churchwomen's Politics and the Campaign for Women's Rights

(p.151) 5 Make Us a Power
All Bound Up Together

Martha S. Jones

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter follows the emergence of black churchwomen's political culture from the early 1870s through the late 1880s, a period during which a sustained campaign for the rights of female church members transformed the relationship of gender to power for millions of African American religious activists. Rights most often associated with the realm of party- and state-sponsored politics—electing representatives and holding office—were at the core of what churchwomen sought in their communities' most powerful institutions. Churchwomen began their campaign with a call for gender-neutral church law; they sought the removal of any barrier to their voting for local church officials. Soon, however, the same arguments, borrowed from the period's political contests, were being used to buttress claims for the creation of female offices, the founding of female missionary societies, and the seating of women as delegates in decision-making bodies.

Keywords:   black churchwomen, political culture, female church members, African American, religious activists

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