The Last Segregated Hour

Stephen R. Haynes

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780195395051
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979288 | DOI:
The Last Segregated Hour

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On Palm Sunday 1964, at Second Presbyterian Church in Memphis, a group of black and white students began a “kneel-in” to protest the church's policy of segregation, a protest that would continue in one form or another for more than a year and eventually force the church to open its doors to black worshippers. This book tells the story of this dramatic yet little studied tactic, which was the strategy of choice for bringing attention to segregationist policies in Southern churches. “Kneel-ins” involved surprise visits to targeted churches, usually during Easter season, and often resulted in physical standoffs with resistant church people. The spectacle of kneeling worshippers barred from entering churches made for a powerful image that invited both local and national media attention. Drawing on a wide range of sources, including extensive interviews with the students who led non-violent protests against church segregation and church people who witnessed these protests, the book tells the story of the Memphis kneel-ins and their legacy, including ongoing efforts at truth-telling and reconciliation on the part the churches that were the targets of kneel-in protests during the 1960s.

Keywords: kneel-in; desegregation; segregated churches; non-violent protest; reconciliation

Book.  336 pages. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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Table of Contents

Introduction in The Last Segregated Hour


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