Behold the Fields: Texas Baptists and the Problem of Slavery

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The relationship between Texas Baptists and slavery is studied with an emphasis on the official statements made about the institution in denominational sources combined with a statistical analysis of the extent of slaveholding among Baptists. A data list of over 5,000 names was pared to 1100 names of Baptists in Texas prior to 1865 and then cross-referenced on slaveownership through the use of federal censuses and county tax rolls. Although Texas Baptists participated economically in the slave system, they always maintained that blacks were children of God worthy of religious instruction and salvation. The result of these disparate views was ... continued below

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iv, 252 leaves : maps

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Elam, Richard L. (Richard Lee) May 1993.

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  • Elam, Richard L. (Richard Lee)

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The relationship between Texas Baptists and slavery is studied with an emphasis on the official statements made about the institution in denominational sources combined with a statistical analysis of the extent of slaveholding among Baptists. A data list of over 5,000 names was pared to 1100 names of Baptists in Texas prior to 1865 and then cross-referenced on slaveownership through the use of federal censuses and county tax rolls. Although Texas Baptists participated economically in the slave system, they always maintained that blacks were children of God worthy of religious instruction and salvation. The result of these disparate views was a paradox between treating slaves as chattels while welcoming them into mixed congregations and allowing them some measure of activity within those bodies. Attitudes expressed by white Baptists during the antebellum period were continued into the post-war years as well. Meanwhile, African-American Baptists gradually withdrew from white dominated congregations, forming their own local, regional, and state organizations. In the end, whites had no choice but to accept the new-found status of the Freedmen, cooperating with black institutions on occasion. Major sources for this study include church, associational, and state Baptist minutes; county and denominational histories; and government documents. The four appendices list associations, churches, and counties with extant records. Finally, private accounts of former slaves provide valuable insight into the interaction between white and black Baptists.

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iv, 252 leaves : maps

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  • May 1993

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  • March 24, 2014, 8:07 p.m.

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  • Feb. 10, 2015, 8:52 a.m.

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Elam, Richard L. (Richard Lee). Behold the Fields: Texas Baptists and the Problem of Slavery, dissertation, May 1993; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc277972/: accessed October 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .