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Seventh-day Adventists and the Civil Rights Movement$
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Samuel G. London, Jr.

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9781604732726

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781604732726.001.0001

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. Theology, Politics, and the Retreat from Social Activism

. Theology, Politics, and the Retreat from Social Activism

(p.66) 2. Theology, Politics, and the Retreat from Social Activism
Seventh-day Adventists and the Civil Rights Movement

Samuel G. London

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter examines ideological and theological concepts that became more prominent among Seventh-day Adventists after its founders passed away. More specifically, it considers how these concepts were used by some white Adventist leaders, in the 1950s and 1960s, to prevent church members from becoming involved in politics. It looks at the roots of these ideas and how they were used by Adventist leaders to oppose the denomination’s participation in the civil rights movement. It also discusses the legendary “curse of Ham” (also known as Noah’s curse or the curse of Canaan), which was used by some white Adventists to justify discrimination in the church. Furthermore, it analyzes intellectual and theological justifications for social activism, as well as liberationist interpretations of the Bible, and concludes by illustrating how community-oriented consciousness or community awareness motivated black Adventists to engage in sociopolitical activism.

Keywords:   activism, Seventh-day Adventists, politics, civil rights movement, curse of Ham, discrimination, Bible, community awareness

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