The Theological Struggle Comes to Church
This chapter describes the rise of the kneel-in movement and the moral confrontation it provoked. Envisioned by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, kneel-ins protested segregation in sacred spaces and highlighted the theological foundations of the freedom struggle. The chapter tells the story of the kneel-in movement in Atlanta and, in the summer of 1965, in Americus. The kneel-ins at First Baptist Church and First Methodist Church in Americus were covered by the national press, provoking a firestorm of criticism and praise, as recorded in letters sent to the church. Kneel-ins also sparked a crisis within white Protestantism, particularly for the Georgia Methodist Conference and Bishop John O. Smith.
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