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Making the Bible BeltTexas Prohibitionists and the Politicization of Southern Religion$
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Joseph Locke

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190216283

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190216283.001.0001

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Marking Morality

Marking Morality

Gender, Race, and Righteousness

Chapter:
(p.125) 6 Marking Morality
Source:
Making the Bible Belt
Author(s):

Joseph Locke

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190216283.003.0007

In their pursuit of prohibition and moral politics, religious activists both harnessed and subverted two dominant regional discourses—those surrounding race and gender—to clothe themselves in the garb of righteousness. Prohibition did not merely reflect or reproduce regional norms, but neither did it occur in isolation from them. The creation of the clerics’ moral community depended on an ever-changing amalgamation of race, gender, class, religion, and politics. For instance, although white prohibitionists made explicit appeals to a “better sort” of black southerners, they simultaneously used African American opposition to moral reform as evidence for the need of laws disfranchising black voters. Likewise, male religious leaders loudly proclaimed themselves honorable defenders of female virtue, and while they welcomed female foot soldiers, their notion of male guardianship prevented them from accepting female activists as equal participants in the prohibition crusade.

Keywords:   race, racism, African Americans, Jim Crow, disfranchisement, women’s suffrage, class, Southern honor, Women’s Christian Temperance Union, WCTU

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