This chapter examines the storefront churches and “cults” of Illinois in the early decades of the twentieth century. Before the Negroes' mass exodus to Illinois and Chicago, migrants settling in the state had selected one or another among the orthodox faiths and had been absorbed quietly. However, the dramatic influx about the middle of the second decade of the twentieth century gave rise to a number of “storefront” churches. Several new standard churches were born during the Great Migration, including Monumental Baptist Church, Liberty Baptist Church, and Progressive Baptist Church. In addition, during the period from the start of World War I, churches of a number of other established faiths were added to the orthodox list. Furthermore, the independent churches multiplied in the latter years of the nearly three decades since 1914. This chapter considers the appeal of storefronts to common people and their undeclared religious war with standard churches, along with the emergence of the spiritualist churches as well as other churches that were regarded as cults in Illinois.
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