The Rise To Respectability Essay

1050 Words3 Pages
The Rise to Respectability: Race, Religion, and the Church of God in Christ, by Calvin White, Jr. Fayetteville: The University of Arkansas Press, 2012. 239 Pages.
The Rise to Respectability demonstrates great knowledge about the African American religious life during the late nineteenth century in the south, specifically Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas, to the early twentieth century. Calvin White documents the advancement of the Holiness movement by providing information about the origin and how it all came to be by the hands of Charles Mason and other leaders. White begins by providing a brief history of the early life of Manson and his family. He then goes on to describe the many battles Manson had to encounter from the creation of the Church of God in Christ, religious responsibility, civil court, and disagreements regarding his worship style which many, especially whites, viewed as embarrassing. This book examines the effects of the Holiness-Pentecostal movement upon African American history like its cultural and religious impact on the history of the south. It intertwines the story of religion, race, and class and the religious black experience during the Jim Crow era.
The title of the book, The Rise to Respectability, gives the impression that the book bestows knowledge concerning the religious aspects of African American members of the Church of God in Christ and their journey to gain respect in the religious community. The leaders of Church of God in Christ had different views on black charismatic religious traditions that were deeply rooted in slavery like shouting, dancing, and speaking in tongues. This disagreement quickly spread to clergymen who demanded a more sophisticated religious experience from Mason and th...

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...interesting enough for the reader to overcome this disconnect, especially if interested in all facets of African American history. It provided information about this reviewer’s hometown, Memphis, TN, and its connection to the Church of God in Christ and the holiness movement that they were unaware of. That is what this kind of book is all about. It is not just to give a rundown of historical events and religion but to provide the reader with a means of a personal connection and it is up to the reader to find that connection. This connection may not be as noticeable as a fact about one’s hometown but could be deep rooted into the overall message of the work. Find that personal connection and this book will definitely be worth the read. Nevertheless this book provides an insightful window into religion and how it is able to connect with the many branches of history.
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