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The Gospel of the Working ClassLabor's Southern Prophets in New Deal America$
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Erik S. Gellman and Jarod Roll

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780252036309

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252036309.001.0001

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Seeking the Kingdom of God

Seeking the Kingdom of God

(p.41) 2. Seeking the Kingdom of God
The Gospel of the Working Class

Erik S. Gellman

Jarod Roll

University of Illinois Press

This chapter discusses Claude and Joyce Williams's move to Paris, Arkansas and the events that would eventually lead him to cross paths with Owen Whitfield. It details Williams's time as pastor of the local Presbyterian church and his later involvement with socialism (and the Socialist Party of Arkansas), as well as his efforts to combat fascism. Likewise, the chapter examines the more personal dimensions of his life as he goes through ordeal after ordeal in the spirit of social reform and the Christian faith. The chapter finally culminates in Williams's and Whitfield's first encounter, as the former gave a speech at Whitfield's Baptist church in Missouri in late 1936. The encounter, as the chapter shows, would later convince Whitfield to join in on Williams's cause.

Keywords:   Arkansas, Missouri, fascism, socialism, Socialist Party of Arkansas, Southern Tenant Farmers' Union, STFU, working-class gospel

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