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Brotherhood And Brotherhoodism In The Civil Rights-Era South

★ Mardi 17 Octobre ★ Brotherhood and Brotherhoodism in the Civil Rights-Era South

Conférence en anglais par Ted Ownby | Mardi 17 octobre 2023 – 18h30 | Auditorium de l’Institut franco-américain

When Martin Luther King, Jr. concluded his 1963 « Letter from Birmingham Jail » with the phrase « Yours for the Cause of Peace and Brotherhood, » it was the sixteenth time in his short letter that he mentioned brothers or brotherhood. This conference discusses how King and other Civil Rights activists used the term and how opponents criticized the concept. For Martin Luther King, Jr., Lillian Smith, Will Campbell, James Foreman, Sarah Patton Boyle and many others, brotherhood (only sometimes described as brotherhood and sisterhood) was religious language about a shared human identity and one shared human interest. Conservative critics condemned brotherhood as too vague and sentimental to be meaningful, and some claimed that discussing all human beings as brothers and sisters undermined the fundamental authority parents should have over their children. By the late 1960s, some Civil Rights activists and Women’s Rights activists began critiquing the concept as being too naive to address specific problems. 

Ted Ownby is Professor Emeritus of History and Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi, who taught courses in history and Southern Studies. To learn more about his impressive academic career and scholarly publications, click here. He will be in Rennes as a Professeur invité de l’Institut des Amériques – Rennes.

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