Unveiling Racism: Racial Reconciliation and a Heterogeneous Model for American Christian Life
Prophetic leaders, before and during the Civil Rights movement, were subjected to criticism and verbal and physical abuse. Many of these leaders were Christian pastors who felt a duty to stand up to injustice and inequality. Ethnically, such leaders were not only black but were also white. One such leader is Reverend Edwin King, a white United Methodist pastor from Vicksburg, Mississippi, who was a mentee of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and a close friend to late civil rights leader and activist Medgar Wiley Evers. This dissertation studies the leadership of Rev. Ed King as a model for racial reconciliation from 1946 to the Mississippi Church Visits of 1963. It argues that Ed King's efforts in the Civil Rights Movement models a way for racial reconciliation that includes Spiritual and Social Conviction, Intentional Planning, and an Eschatological Perspective of diversity in the Church.
This dissertation outlines what led Ed King to pursue civil rights, why he did not abandon the cause, and how he promoted the message of Christ in an attempt to desegregate white churches in Mississippi and bring about racial reconciliation and justice in the South. It seeks to answer the question "why does racial reconciliation matter in American Christianity in the 21st Century?" Primary source material will come from interviews with Ed King. Other sources will include speeches that Ed King gave on the subject and other documented interviews King participated in on the issues of civil rights and racial reconciliation. This dissertation asserts that pastors, students, church and civic leaders should apply Ed King's model to promote racial reconciliation in American Christian Life as communities become more diverse.