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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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“Let’s Do Away with Walls!”

“Let’s Do Away with Walls!”

The AFSC’s Interracial Section and Race Work in the United States, 1924–1929

(p.19) 1. “Let’s Do Away with Walls!”
Quaker Brotherhood

Allan W. Austin

University of Illinois Press

This chapter illustrates the American Friends Service Committee's (AFSC) early efforts to promote interracial relations, thereby setting the stage for later AFSC activism. Connecting interracial activism to pacifism while working in a highly charged atmosphere of nativism and racism (both in the wider society and among Friends themselves), AFSC staffers believed that the Inner Light—the belief that each individual has “that of God within”—created the potential to educate and thus reform individuals through carefully engineered intercultural connections designed to “do away with walls!” Such efforts would encourage Quakers to understand that international and interracial relationships are a vital part of religious life and thus move them to give active support to the practical, political measures which put peace principles into practice.

Keywords:   Interracial Section, AFSC activism, interracial activism, pacifism, Inner Light, intercultural connections, international relationships, interracial relationships

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