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Dissertation Information for Reginald Francis Hildebrand

- Reginald Francis Hildebrand

- Ph.D.

- History

- Princeton University (USA) (1991)

- None

- None

MPACT Status: Incomplete - Not_Inspected

Title: Methodism and the meaning of freedom: Missions to Southern blacks during the Era of Emancipation and Reconstruction

Abstract: "Before the cessation of hostilities between the Confederacy and the Union, missionaries from five branches of the Methodist Church began seeking the membership of Southern blacks. For former slaves, choosing a denomination was part of the process through which they redefined themselves as free people. The choice of a religious identity was as significant as the choice of a surname or of a place to live and work. When they had alternatives, the freedpeople could affiliate with the denomination whose social gospel most effectively affirmed their own values and aspirations.

Methodism presented them with alternatives. Missionaries from the following five Methodist denominations put forth great efforts to secure or to retain the membership of Southern blacks: African Methodist Episcopal, African Methodist Episcopal Zion, Colored Methodist Episcopal, Methodist Episcopal, Methodist Episcopal Church, South. The denominations competed with each other on the basis of their different understandings of the meaning of freedom.

Missionaries of the Southern Methodist Church and of the Colored Methodist Church believed that freedom would be exercised within the context of a ""new paternalism"", in which Southern whites would continue to set the pace and determine the limits of black progress. The missionaries of both African Methodist denominations promoted a ""Gospel of Freedom"" which proclaimed the dawning of a new era of unlimited possibilities. Apostles of the Gospel of Freedom urged the freedpeople to adopt Northern values and to throw off the cultural legacy of slavery. African Methodists also preached black pride and urged blacks not to allow themselves to become subservient to whites from the South or North. The missionaries of the Methodist Episcopal or Northern Methodist Church tried to adhere to principles of ""anticaste"" radicalism. For a time, Northern Methodists attempted to make their denomination a model of racial integration.

This study explores the meaning of the new paternalism, the Gospel of Freedom and of anticaste radicalism. It shows how Methodist missionaries perceived freedom and how they attempted to convey their beliefs to the freedpeople. It demonstrates how church history can be used to find answers to some secular questions about the way that freedom unfolded in the South after the Civil War."

MPACT Scores for Reginald Francis Hildebrand

A = 0
C = 2
A+C = 2
T = 0
G = 0
W = 0
TD = 0
TA = 0
calculated 2009-04-19 22:13:09

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Students under Reginald Francis Hildebrand

- None

- Meredith Rachelle Evans - University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (2006)
- John K. Chapman - University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (2006)