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Quaker BrotherhoodInterracial Activism and the American Friends Service Committee, 1917-1950$
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Allan W. Austin

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780252037047

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252037047.001.0001

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The “Friendly Principle of Brotherhood”

The “Friendly Principle of Brotherhood”

(p.1) Introduction The “Friendly Principle of Brotherhood”
Quaker Brotherhood

Allan W. Austin

University of Illinois Press

This introductory chapter considers the complicated history of Quaker interracial activism. It specifically looks at the complex relationship between the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and race, charting both the successes and shortcomings of the organization's activist work. The story of the AFSC, the chapter asserts, is a complex one—best told not as one of minority or white agency alone but instead as one of attempted cooperation, even if halting and awkward at times. While AFSC activists saw the necessity of working in concert with nonwhite Americans from the start, they rarely if ever achieved a color-blind perfection. Indeed, the history of the Service Committee and race during the first half of the twentieth century might best be seen as an ongoing struggle to understand better how shared agency might function in an imperfect and often racist world.

Keywords:   racism, Quaker interracial activism, race, American Friends Service Committee, AFSC, AFSC history, AFSC activists, nonwhite Americans, shared agency

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