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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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Southern Strivings

Southern Strivings

(p.7) 1. Southern Strivings
The Gospel of the Working Class

Erik S. Gellman

Jarod Roll

University of Illinois Press

This chapter details the respective backgrounds of the two preachers under discussion, highlighting the similarities in their life stories—particularly their shared frustrations growing up as ambitious, talented young men in the rural South. Their youths were defined by the tensions between family survival and an individual sense of calling, between agricultural labor and adventure, and between physical hunger and the thirst for deeper meaning in life. Moreover, the laws and culture of the Jim Crow South also held sway over both their lives, and made Claude Williams's youth at once very similar to, yet completely separate from, Owen Whitfield's experience. Both men would, however, come to the same religious calling as they came of age.

Keywords:   Jim Crow, rural South, family life, racism, survival, religious calling, working class

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