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Southern Religion, Southern CultureEssays Honoring Charles Reagan Wilson$
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Darren E. Grem, Ted Ownby, and James G., Jr. Thomas

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781496820471

Published to University Press of Mississippi: September 2019

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496820471.001.0001

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Race and the Visions of John Lafayette Girardeau

Race and the Visions of John Lafayette Girardeau

(p.47) Race and the Visions of John Lafayette Girardeau
Southern Religion, Southern Culture

Otis W. Pickett

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter focuses on John Lafayette Girardeau, a Presbyterian leader who, after the Civil War, simultaneously worked to shape churchly reform and Lost Cause religiosity. Girardeau's postbellum ecclesiastical reform in ordaining African Americans and pushing for their ecclesiastical equality places him among emancipationists. However, his work on the battlefield as a Confederate chaplain, his aid to the public in coping with death and destruction after the Civil War, and his service as pastor of an integrated church places him in the reconciliationist camp. Meanwhile, his work as a defender of the Lost Cause, which helped justify the racial violence perpetuated by Lost Cause adherents, places him within the emerging norms of a white supremacist vision. Ultimately, Girardeau's life and world presents a much more complex picture than his missionary activity, representative Calvinism, efforts toward ecclesiastical reform, or Lost Cause ideology reveal.

Keywords:   John Lafayette Girardeau, Presbyterians, Lost Cause ideology, ecclesiastical reform, ecclesiastical equality, racial violence, white supremacist, Calvinism

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