Prophets of the Southern Kingdom

Prophets of the Southern Kingdom: Unitarian Universalist Contributions to Race Relations in Atlanta

by Jeffrey G. Jones
Summer 1997

Living the principles of Unitarian Universalism in the South has been a formidable but rewarding undertaking for many. The challenge of liberal religion south of the Mason-Dixon line is found in the tension between a culture that reveres tradition and a religious faith that recognizes the inevitability of change. And yet, this religious movement has attracted dynamic leaders, clergy and lay, to its southern churches. In Atlanta, clergy have been outspoken, and members have faced potential and actual loss of jobs. These prophetic men and women have lived a faith that affirmed the inherent worth and dignity of every person and sought a society of inclusion rather than exclusion.

Southern Unitarian Universalists have been prophets in the truest sense of the word. Although prophets today are thought of as predictors of the future, the latter Hebrew prophets of the eighth to sixth centuries B.C.E. were outspoken critics from within the religious community and who warned against spiritual barrenness and social injustice. In the northern Kingdom of Israel and in the southern Kingdom of Judea, these ancient prophets foretold great calamity resulting from empty religious rituals that had lost meaning and the accumulation of wealth and status at the expense of others. As told in the book of Amos:

I loath, I spurn your festivals,
I am not pleased by your solemn assemblies.
If you offer Me burnt offerings—
or your meal offerings—
I will not accept them;
I will pay no heed
To your gifts of fatlings.
Spare me the sound of your hymns,
And let Me not hear the music of your lutes.
But let justice well up like water,
Righteousness like an unfailing stream.[1]

The city of Atlanta, located in the deep South, has been served by a remarkable group of religious leaders also calling for social change. Where tradition has reigned supreme, these Unitarian Universalists have challenged a society that went to war rather than accept the abolition of slavery. The Civil War, in fact, devastated a small and fledgling Unitarian and Universalist movement in the South. Of the six Unitarian and approximately forty Universalist churches in the antebellum South, only the New Orleans, Louisiana, and Charleston, South Carolina, Unitarian churches and the Camp Hill, Alabama, Universalist church were holding services at the end of the war. Church survival may have been linked to the minister’s position on slavery. The New Orleans minister, Theodore Clapp, had supported slavery. In Charleston, Samuel Gilman did not discuss it.[2]

In Atlanta, founded as Terminus in 1837, Unitarian and Universalist roots began in the reconstructed South. In 1881, Unitarian minister Rev. George Leonard Chaney traveled south from Massachusetts and founded The Church of Our Father, Unitarian, in 1883. Chaney helped found or served as a trustee of the Hampton Institute, the Tuskegee Normal Institute, Atlanta University, and the Georgia Institute of Technology. Chaney used the Atlanta church, located at North Forsyth and Church streets (now Carnegie Way), as the first free lending library open to blacks and women. In 1899, the church property was purchased by the Carnegie Library, and is today the location of the Central Branch of the Atlanta Fulton County Library.[3]

After a precarious Universalist start in Atlanta, which in actuality preceded the Church of Our Father, the city became one of the fledgling groups initiated by Universalist missionary Quillen H. Shinn in 1895. After ups and downs experienced by both the Unitarians and the Universalists, they merged in 1918, but not before the American Unitarian Association had financed the construction of a 240-seat church on West Peachtree St. By the mid-1920s, the congregation attracted Universalist minister Clinton Lee Scott to Atlanta. According to the late Rev. Robert W. Karnan, Scott’s main contribution to the Atlanta church surrounded the issue of race. “Scott feared nor [sic] lynch mob or night rider. He taught his little congregation that courage as well.”[4]

After Scott’s departure in 1929, the church membership declined and it struggled financially. Like virtually all Southern churches, it remained segregated. According to Methodist minister Earl Brewer, blacks would attend white churches to sing, which was not often, as invited clergy, which was even less often, or on special occasions as maids or employees of a white family. [5]

In 1948, the church, renamed the United Liberal Church (ULC) at the urging of Clinton Lee Scott, found itself split over the inclusion of blacks in the membership of the congregation. The schism was precipitated when a black applied for membership.[6] In the newspaper account of the incident, Dr. John E. Beck, leader of the congregation, said its actions did not directly involve any single individual. Rather, the congregation voted to table an “open door” amendment to its constitution, “opening the church to all adherents regardless of race or national origin.”[7]

The incident had national repercussions within the Unitarian denomination. To put pressure on the church to change its policies, the American Unitarian Ministers’ Association urged its members to refuse a call to the pulpit in Atlanta. Dr. Beck assumed the Universalist ministerial organization would act similarly.[8]

The crisis in Atlanta contributed to the congregation’s demise. According to Rufus McCall, a member since 1922, Grant Butler came to Atlanta, likely sent by the AUA, “and tried to make everybody feel good, but at the same time, was advising key individuals to stop contributing to the church. The church would close and the AUA would send someone to start again.”   The issue was not simply race. The church had perpetual financial problems, failed to attract new members, and the denomination wanted to start fresh in Atlanta.[9] In 1951, the AUA sold the building out from under the congregation. A smaller group continued to meet at the Cox Carlton Hotel, served by Baptist minister Rev. Joe Rabun.[10]

In less than a year, the AUA sent Rev. Glenn O. Canfield to Atlanta. He had been given only two names, Mrs. Sam Boyd (mother of Ms. Peggy Beard) and Dr. John Beck. From them he was to reconstitute liberal religion in Atlanta. Canfield first held meetings in his living room.[11] Then from a mailing list of two hundred, the United Liberal Church was ready to try again.

On 24 February 1952, fifty-five persons met at the Briarcliff Hotel.[12] In the first Sunday program of the United Liberal Church (Unitarian Universalist), Canfield extolled the importance of the meeting and proudly proclaimed “We are making history this Sunday.” According to member Kay Cherry, “we had a mandate from our parent congregation (sic) that we were to be integrated. So we did our best to be so.”[13] Included in the first church program was the elusive “open door” policy in the statement of beliefs:

WE BELIEVE

… in freedom of research in the continual process of discovering life’s truth and values;
… in the possibility of growth toward maturity – mentally, emotionally, and spiritually – as we learn to live in the Spiritual Reality of the universe;
… in the relatedness of all mankind, and that happiness and security can be realized only in human relations based upon mutual understanding, cooperation and love.
We therefore welcome every one who will endeavor to live by these principles, to join our fellowship.[14]

Canfield used his pulpit to bring the prophetic message of racial integration to Christian and liberal churches alike. Quoting the New Testament, “My house shall be a house of prayer for all the nations,” Canfield went on to say “A Christian church then should welcome people of every nation and race. Can a liberal church do less?”[15] Other Canfield sermons included “Did Jesus Believe in Racial Segregation?” “The Power of Prejudice,” and “Personality and Prejudice.”[16]

The United Liberal Church met in the Briarcliff Hotel for almost a year. But according to Kay Cherry, the blacks who used the front elevators upset some of the residents who had apartments in the hotel. Soon, the manager told Rev. Canfield that the spaced used by the church would be needed for other purposes. The growing congregation, with help from both national denominations, bought an existing building and parsonage. The property, owned by Mormons, was on Boulevard and North Avenue.[17]

The church continued to thrive and on 20 January 1954, the church officially organized with 127 charter members, representing eighty-one families.[18] Nationally, both the Unitarian and Universalist denominations publicized the formation of the new church but failed to mention the reason for the demise of the former Unitarian-Universalist Church. Both, however, quoted from the new church’s constitution the now expanded “open door” policy: “Any person, regardless of any distinction such as race, color, nationality, or station in life, who is in agreement and in sympathy with the Purpose . . . is eligible for membership in this church.”[19]

Holding integrated church services was daring and unique, but in 1954, the battle over integration began in earnest with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education. In prophetic anticipation, Canfield preached a sermon titled “What Can We Do for Race Relations” referencing the pending Supreme Court decision. In June, he preached “A New Birth of Freedom” expressing his gratitude for the Supreme Court’s decision declaring segregated schools unconstitutional.[20]

In 1953, likely in anticipation of a Supreme Court decision, the Georgia General Assembly had passed the “private school” amendment to the Georgia Constitution. It would allow the legislature to close public schools and authorized the payment of tuition grants to parents for the purpose of sending children to private schools. After the Brown v. Board of Education decision, the amendment would appear on the 2 November ballot for ratification. By October, the United Liberal Church took its message of opposition to the air waves and print media. On 24 October, the congregation passed a resolution advocating defeat of the amendment and sent copies of its resolution to sixteen newspapers, three wire services, nine radio stations, and three television stations.[21]

Building on it entry into advocacy, the congregation held its first meeting of the Education for Action Group, chaired by Professor Walter Buckingham. The group of twenty-one who attended the initial meeting set an ambitious agenda and established four committees as follows:

  • A committee to explore the possibility of establishing a Youth Center and a playground for the youth and children of the neighborhood;
  • A committee to explore the possibility of establishing a Day Care Center for children of working mothers of this neighborhood;
  • A committee on Civil Rights, such as the use of the main library by Negroes, increased voter registrations in the Negro community, censorship, etc.
  • A committee to explore the possibility of setting up a school, with the cooperation of other groups, if the public schools are abolished, and if the private schools planned to take their place are inadequate to supply a satisfactory educational opportunity for our children.[22]

On a Friday night in late March 1955, the Youth Center Committee, headed by Miss Helen Oppenlander, opened the doors of the church to the youth in the neighborhood. Fourteen young people, all under sixteen years of age, attended although it is not clear how many were members of the church.[23] The Youth Center met at least two additional times, in late April and again in late May.[24]

As an intentionally integrated congregation, the church successfully attracted Atlanta’s blacks. Whitney Young, chair of the School of Social Work at Atlanta University began visiting the church in September 1954 and joined that December.[25] He did this despite criticism he received from other blacks for attending a “white” church.[26] Black college students from Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Morris Brown College, and Spelman College were frequent visitors.[27]

Church members also took leadership roles in the Atlanta community. Glenn Canfield was the chairman of the Greater Atlanta Council on Human Relations, a subsidiary of the Georgia Committee on Interracial Cooperation and the Southern Regional Council. Church members R. L. Henderson and Whitney Young served as consultants.[28]

In 1957, Rev. Ed Cahill came to Atlanta from Charlotte, N.C. to serve the United Liberal Church. Cahill’s installation drew notables from Atlanta and the national denomination. The opening words were given by Dr. Rufus E. Clement, “the black president of Atlanta University and a member of the United Liberal Church.” Frederick May Eliot, AUA president, delivered the installation sermon, and Atlanta mayor William B. Hartsfield welcomed Cahill to Atlanta.[29]

The occasion of Cahill’s arrival, though, dramatically demonstrated the danger of participating in an integrated congregation. Betty and Coe Hamling, members of the church, held a reception for the Cahills at their home in Avondale, a suburb of Atlanta. A small number of blacks attended. At the end of the evening there was a disturbance outside the Hamling home. The police were called, and neighbors came out of their houses. The commotion, it turns out, was caused by the fact that the Hamlings were entertaining blacks in the city of Avondale. Although there was no further incident that evening, the consequences were disturbing. Betty Hamling, a librarian for an Avondale school, lost her job. Church member Morgan Stanford, City Attorney for Avondale, was fired.

Such incidents did not dampen the spirits of Ed Cahill. One of Cahill’s first sermons added a sense of urgency to the issue of integration. Her sermon, titled “The Sin of Moderation,” warned about the false appeal of moderation. Cahill claimed that a word such as moderation could be used “and abused until it is almost unrecognizable.”[30] A century earlier, a similar controversy developed over the issue of slavery. The abolitionists demanded an immediate end to slavery while the freesoilers believed slavery would fade away if it was not allowed to spread to new territories.   Cahill was taking the abolitionist position, demanding an immediate end to segregation.

Like Canfield’s prophetic words that the church was making history simply by opening its doors in 1952, Cahill also recognized the unique role the Unitarians and Universalists were playing in the South. In a series on Old Testament prophets, Cahill held up justice as a barometer of religious and spiritual health of a community. Cahill citied Amos’s idea of justice as one that had contemporary applications.[31]

Cahill also played a role in the larger community. In late 1958, Cahill joined a group of 311 ministers in the greater Atlanta area in amplifying and reissuing the Atlanta Manifesto. Several key points in the manifesto were as follows:

  1. It appealed to churches and synagogues to encourage and promote within the fellowship a free and intelligent discussion of the issues.
  2. It urged community and state leaders to give their best creative thought to maintain the public schools consistent with the law of the land and the rights of all citizens. The ministers properly decried any proposal to use churches as schools to evade the Court’s decree.
  3. It requested the appointment of a citizens committee to preserve harmony within the community.[32]

Evident in the Atlanta Manifesto was the resurgence of the “private school” amendment and the threat to public schools. The congregation of the United Liberal Church joined the fight for public education. When HOPE, Inc. (Help Our Public Education) held its first public meeting in March 1959, ULC members Gerald and Elizabeth Reed were in charge of attendance which drew a staggering 1300.[33] Later that same year, Gerald Reed and church member and Atlanta activist Eliza Paschall became members of the HOPE, Inc. Executive Board.[34]

Cahill used the pulpit to speak on behalf of public education. In December 1959, Cahill pondered in his sermon whether the legislature and the Governor would allow Atlanta to comply with the Supreme Court’s decision or would they force Atlanta’s schools to close. The very next week, as the Georgia legislature was getting ready to begin its forty-day session, Cahill addressed the issue in his sermon titled “Will Atlanta Commit Suicide?”[35]

The congregation became equally engaged in the struggle for desegregation. Sermon talk-backs had long been a tradition of the United Liberal Church and had even been the subject of local newspaper coverage.[36] Now these talk-backs became more than a forum for discussing a sermon; they became a platform for taking action. At a March 1960 talk-back, the congregation directed the Board to send a letter to local newspaper editors endorsing the principles expressed in “An Appeal for Human Rights” published by the students of Atlanta’s Negro’s Colleges. In October 1960, the congregation voted unanimously to endorse the goals of the sit-in movement.[37]

The church also engaged the youth regarding the importance of diversity and civil rights. Although the youth group had few black members, it did have joint meetings with the youth of Ebenezer Baptist Church, whose youth group was led by Coretta Scott King. Ann Cherry, youth group member, remembers a Peppermint Twist Party.[38] On one occasion, Ed Cahill recalled, “the Klan called Mrs. Cahill, in my absence, and threatened violence at the next [joint youth meeting] at the United Liberal Church. Coretta King was consulted; she said to go ahead. All parents were called to give them the option of keeping their children home. Not one parent held back. In fact, all the fathers came that evening and ringed the church outside to form a visible wall of protection.”[39]

The United Liberal Church opened its pulpit to prominent civil rights leaders. Between October and December 1961, the ULC pulpit was graced by Dr. Samuel W. Williams, Rabbi Jacob M. Rothschild, and Dr. Martin Lither King. Jr. Williams, probably the least remembered of the three, was minister of the Friendship Baptist Church, Professor of Philosophy at Morehouse College, President of the Atlanta Chapter of the NAACP, Chairman of the Greater Atlanta Council on Human Relations, and Vice President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.[40] Williams also spoke to the ULC youth group on occasion, and youth group member Robert Chaikin remembers him as militant, outspoken, and clearly ahead of his time. When Chaikin asked Williams about the white supremacist charge that ill-equipped blacks would bring down the school system, Williams retorted “get off my back and I’ll get out of the ditch.” Chaikin was impressed.[41]

The United Liberal Church experienced tremendous growth under both Canfield and Cahill. Acknowledging the need for more space, the church initiated a capital fund drive. Shortly after the drive, Cahill announced his call to the church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The task of finding a new location fell to the new minister, Rev. Eugene O. Pickett who came to Atlanta in 1962.

The church soon found a very favorable location on Shady Valley Drive, north of downtown but still within the Atlanta city limits. When the church applied for a “Use Permit,” to use the site for a church, the integration issue reared its ugly head. As Kay Cherry recalled, the opposition on the Atlanta City Council, led by Alderman Douglass L (Buddy) Fowlkes, held sway and denied the permit because they feared an integrated church would “lower the moral tone of the neighborhood.”[42]

The church’s struggle to find adequate meeting space continued by way of an unflattering Northside News article titled “Cokesbury Methodists Reject Bid by Blockbusters for [Northside] Property: Bi-racial United Liberals Lose Despite Fat Offer.” According to a letter of rebuttal, written at the request of the ULC Board of Trustees, attorney Morgan Stanford cited the article’s numerous erroneous and libelous statements, and requested a retraction and editorial space to respond. In March, the Board directed members Harry Adley and Martin Durrett to prepare the response.[43]

As racial injustice in the South persisted, the congregation continued to use the period following the Sunday morning service to address the issues. In September 1962, the bloodshed and rioting caused by James Meredith’s enrollment in the University of Mississippi made for a spirited discussion, particularly when the congregation elected not to take action. The next week, Rev. Pickett addressed the issue in a prepared statement. Pickett affirmed the church’s right to take action “either as a body or through its members acting as responsible citizens in a democracy.” He further stated that “one of the strongest and noblest traditions running through Judaism and Christianity is that of the prophets crying ‘Shame’ upon the social and political wrongs of their time, and exhorting the people and rulers to straighten their ways.”[44]

Pickett, however, cautioned that any public stand taken by the church “should be made in accordance with the democratic procedures as stated in our church constitution and by-laws.” In effect, Pickett was questioning the validity of hastily made decisions that resulted from the Sunday morning discussions. Rather, Pickett argued, Sunday discussions best served as informational vehicles, laying the groundwork for constructive and thoughtful action.[45]

In March 1963, the church formed a Public Issues Committee as a standing committee of the church with Gerald Reed as Chairman. In its first Newsletter, the responsibilities of the committee were outlined. It was to focus both on issues of immediate concern and to inform the congregation about other organizations active in areas of vital concern to the congregation.[46]

In the second newsletter, the Public Issues Committee announced a public meeting and discussion with Wiley A. Branton, Director of the Voter Education Project of the Southern Regional Council. The meeting was held at the auditorium of a local bank. On the Sunday morning following the meeting, Rev. Pickett read a Pastoral Letter which emphasized the urgency for race relations, and contrasted violent white reaction with the reasonable and moderate demands made by blacks. Pickett then gently chastised the congregation for the low attendance at Branton’s meeting, which only twelve people attended. Pickett reiterated his appeal for informed decisions and responsible individual action by members of the congregation.[47]

The Public Issues Committee continued to publicize outrageous civil rights injustices and encouraged member action. In November, the Committee publicized the plight of four students, engaged in a voter registration drive, who were jailed without bail on the charge of insurrection.[48]

Although race continued to be a focal point for the United Liberal Church, the Public Issues Committee and Rev. Pickett increasingly expanded the realm of social justice issues. In December 1963, the committee urged church members to report facts “concerning non-compliance with the Supreme Court school-prayer decision.” In May 1964, Pickett gave a sermon on the Becker Amendment that would permit Bible reading and prayer in public schools. The Public Issues Committee drafted, and the congregation passed, a resolution against any action that attempted to alter the First Amendment to the Constitution. The resolution was sent to members of Congress. Emanuel Cellars, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, replied indicating the church’s resolution would be inserted in the record of the hearings of the Judiciary Committee. That same month, Pickett delivered a sermon on “the year’s most controversial bestseller,” The Feminine Mystique.[49]

Activities in race relations did not subside. In 1965, the members of the congregation were noticeably alarmed by the death of Rev. James Reeb in Selma Alabama. Rev. Pickett and others drove to Selma and the church held a memorial service for Reeb. The church’s telephone committee went into action and in a single Sunday, with the stores closed, church members supplied 250 blankets in response to an emergency last-minute appeal on behalf of the Selma to Montgomery civil rights marchers.[50] In early September, the Board of Trustees approved travel expenses for Rev. Pickett to help fill the pulpit of Rev. Donald Thompson. Thompson, the Unitarian minister in Jackson, Mississippi, and active in civil rights activities, had been ambushed on his way home from a church meeting.[51]

In February 1966, only a month after the congregation moved into its new building on Cliff Valley Way and changed its name to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta (UUCA), U.S. Attorney General Katzenback spoke at a church program sponsored by the Race Relations Sub-Committee of the Public Issues Committee.

In November, the church came under attack from Georgia’s most outspoken segregationist, Lester Maddox. The 15 November church newsletter contained the following article:

DIAL-A-SLUR FROM LESTER M. Last week one could dial a number and hear a taped message from “Let Freedom Ring,” the location of which is Lester Maddox’s Pickrick furniture store, 3131 Campbellton Road, S.W. After a diatribe against school textbooks now in use, the “subversive” Unitarians were attacked.

The Atlanta Journal said, “the message includes McCarthy-like attacks upon one of the major religious denominations of America, one to which many of our Founding Fathers adhered.”[52]

In April, 1967, Mrs. Betty Friedan, author of The Feminine Mystique, spoke at UUCA. Her talk was prophetically titled “Women – the Second Civil Rights Movement.”[53] Her appearance at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta reflected a turning point in the church’s activities in Civil Rights. Beginning in the late sixties, church members played key roles in founding the Atlanta chapter of Friedan’s National Organization for Women. Throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, Unitarian Universalists in Atlanta made significant contributions toward the efforts to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.

Today, the struggle for human rights continues. In the early 1980s, UUCA members Elizabeth McMaster (now a Unitarian Universalist minister) and Bob and Marci Haver were instrumental in the formation of a support group for the families of homosexuals. This group became the precursor to the UUCA chapter of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (P-FLAG).[54]

In 1984 and 1985, the General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association adopted the Purposes and Principles of our denomination. First in the list is “the inherent worth and dignity of every person.” The covenant to affirm and promote this important principle is not just a forward-looking guiding principle for our religious tradition, but also a documented fact of how our denomination has worked for human rights in the past.

In the South, the struggle for this tenet of the Unitarian Universalist faith has been the work of many courageous men and women. Some lost jobs, others suffered personal injury, many lost friends, and at least one lost his life. All have been at risk from a culture that has been threatened by change, but change it did. The Unitarian Universalists in Atlanta can proudly claim their place as prophets of the Southern kingdom.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

PRIMARY SOURCES

Manuscripts

Chaney, George Leonard. Manuscript Collection No. 639, Special Collections Department, Robert W. Woodruff Library, Emory University.

Paschall, Eliza. Manuscript Collection, Special Collections Department, Robert W. Woodruff Library, Emory University.

Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta Records. Archives and Manuscripts Department, Pitts Theology Library, Emory University.

Newspapers

Hughes, Ed. Atlanta Journal, 5 March 1959, 17.

Livingston, Pat. “Pastor’s Sermons Debated by New Congregation,” Atlanta Constitution, 5 May 1982.

Interviews

“A History of the Congregation,” 26 October 1994, a video recording hosted by Walter Dowdle. Interviews with Peggy Beard, Bill Watson, Roger Comstock, Lynne Nault.

Barnes, Ellen Beard. Telephone interview by author, 1 September 1996. Syracuse, New York.

“Conversations about UUCA Church History: A Discussion between Peggy Beard, Ned Cartledge, Bill Cherry, and Kay Cherry. 1995. Atlanta, Georgia.

Chaikin, Robert. Telephone interview by author, 28 August 1996. Atlanta, Georgia.

Cherry, Ann. Telephone interview by author, 1 September 1996. Silver Springs, Maryland.

Cherry, Bill. Interview by author, 30 August 1996. Atlanta, Georgia. Tape recording.

Haver, Bob and Marci. Telephone interview by author, 2 September 1996. Atlanta, Georgia.

McCall, Rufus. Interview by author, 30 August 1996. Atlanta, Georgia. Tape recording.

SECONDARY SOURCES

Books

Martin, Thomas H. Atlanta and Its Builders: A Comprehensive History of the Gage City of South, Vol. 2. Century Memorial Publishing Company, 1902.

Unitarian Universalists in Atlanta 100 Years. n.p.: Centennial Anniversary Committee of the Atlanta Area Unitarian Universalist Congregations, 1982.

Journals

“Atlanta Organizes New United Liberal Church,” Christian Register, Unitarian (March 1954): 26.

“Atlanta’s United Liberal Church,” The Universalist Leader (March 1954): 84.

Cahill, Edward A. “The Changing South.” The Unitarian Register (June 1958): 16, 21.

Howe, Charles, A. “’Cousins Twice Removed’ Unitarians and Universalists in the South.” Unitarian Universalist Selected Essays. Boston: Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association, (1996): 53-65.

Footnotes

[1] Amos 5: 21-24 (Tanakh)

[2] Charles A. Howe, “’Cousins Twice Removed:’ Unitarians and Universalists in the South,” Unitarian Universalist Selected Essays (Boston: Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association, 1996), 54-5.

[3] See the biographical note for the George Leonard Chaney Papers, Manuscript Collection No. 639, Special Collection Department, Robert W. Woodruff Library, Emory University; Thomas H. Martin, Atlanta and Its Builders: A Comprehensive History of the Gate City of the South, Vol. 2 (n.p.: Century Memorial Publishing Company, 1902, 575; Charles C. Brooks, “Unitarian Universalism: The First Hundred Years in Atlanta,” in Unitarian Universalists in Atlanta 100 Years, (n.p. Centennial Anniversary Committee of the Atlanta Area Unitarian Universalist Congregations, 1982), 3.

[4] Robert W. Karnan, “Atlanta’s Legacy: Tireless Ministers, ‘A Few Courageous Members,’” in Unitarian Universalists in Atlanta 100 Years, 14.

[5] Clifford M. Kuhn, Harlon E. Joye, and E. Bernard West, Living Atlanta: An Oral History of the City, 1914-1948 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1990), 249.

[6] The identity of the black man is in question. In “Spurn Church Call Here,” Atlanta Journal, 30 May 1948, 10-A, Rev. Isaiah Domas stated that the black man was Dr. Thomas Baker Jones, chairman of the Social Work Group at Atlanta University. Peggy Beard, a member who attended that day, believes his name was William Boyd, the same name as her brother. An Atlanta University archivist indicated that William Boyd began as chairman of the Political Science Department in 1948. They have no records for a Dr. Thomas Baker Jones.  Archivist Note – Nov 2016:  Based on conversations with Claudia Reed, daughter of Rev. Domas, who was present at the time of this incident clearly indicated that the individual involved was Dr. Thomas Baker Jones.  Dr. Jones was a colleague of Rev. Domas at Atlanta University.

[7] “Spurn Church Call Here, Unitarian Ministers Told,” Atlanta Journal, 30 May 1948, 10-A.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Rufus McCall, interview by author, 30 August 1996, Atlanta, Georgia.

[10] Charles C. Brooks, “Unitarian Universalism: The First Hundred Years in Atlanta,” in Unitarian Universalism in Atlanta (Centennial Issue, 1882-1982), 5.

[11] Conversations about UUCA Church History: A discussion between Peggy Beard, Ned Cartledge, Bill Cherry, and Kay Cherry, 1995.

[12] Sunday Service Program, 2 March 1952, folder 5, box 40, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta (UUCA) records, Archives and Manuscripts Department, Pitts Theological Library, Emory University.

[13] Conversations about UUCA Church History.

[14] Sunday Service Program, 24 February 1952, folder 5, box 40, UUCA Collection, Archives and Manuscripts Department, Pitts Theology Library, Emory University.

[15] Sunday Service Program, 6 April 1952, folder 5, box 40, UUCA records.

[16] Sunday Service Programs, 22 March 1953 and 6 December 1953, folder 5, box 40, UUCA records; Sunday Service Program, 31 January 1954, folder 1, box 41, UUCA records.

[17] Conversations about UUCA Church History.

[18] Sunday Service Program, 31 January 1954, folder 1, box 41, UUCA records.

[19] “Atlanta Organizes New United Liberal Church,” Christian Register, Unitarian, March 1954, 26; “Atlanta’s United Liberal Church,” The Universalist Leader, March 1954, 84.

[20] Sunday Service Program, 6 December 1953, folder 5, box 40, UUCA records; Sunday Service Programs, 14 February 1954 and 6 June 1954, folder 1, box 41, UUCA records.

[21] Sunday Service Programs, 24 October 1954 and 31 October 1954, folder 1, box 41, UUCA records.

[22] Sunday Service Program, 12 December 1954, folder 1, box 41, UUCA records.

[23] The church’s youth group, called Vanguard, met regularly on Sunday evenings at 6:30 pm.

[24] Sunday Service Programs, 3 April 1955, 24 April 1955, and 5 May 1955, UUCA records.

[25] Sunday Service Programs, 3 April 1955, 24 April 1955, and 15 May 1955, UUCA records.

[26] Bill Cherry, interview by the author, 30 August 1996, Atlanta, Georgia.

[27] Sunday Service Program, 3 April 1955, folder 1, box 41, UUCA records.

[28] Sunday Service Program, 26 February 1956, folder 4, box 41, UUCA records.

[29] “The First Hundred Years in Atlanta,” 6.

[30] Sunday Service Program, 24 March 1957, folder 5, box 41, UUCA records.

[31] Sunday Service Program, 9 November 1958, folder 6, box 41, UUCA records.

[32] Newsletter, 30 November 1958, folder 6, box 41, UUCA records.

[33] Newsletter, 1 March 1959, folder 2, box 42, UUCA Collection; Ed Hughes, Atlanta Journal, 5 March 1959, 17.

[34] Newsletter, 27 September 1959, folder 2, box 42, UUCA records.

[35] Newsletters, 27 December 1959, 3 January 1960, folder 3, box 42, UUCA records.

[36] Pat Livingston, “Pastor’s Sermons Debated by Newer Congregation,” Atlanta Constitution, 5 May 1952.

[37] Newsletters, 20 March 1960 and 30 October 1960, folder 3, box 42, UUCA records.

[38] Ann Cherry, telephone interview by author, 1 September 1996, Silver Springs, Maryland.

[39] “Unitarian Universalism: The First Hundred Years in Atlanta,” 6.

[40] Newsletter, 11 November 1961, folder 8, box 52, UUCA records.

[41] Robert Chaikin, telephone interview by the author, 28 August, 1996, Atlanta, Georgia.

[42] Conversations about UUCA Church History.

[43] “Cokesbury Methodists Reject Bid by Blockbusters for [Northside] Property: Bi-racial United Liberals Lose Despite Fat Offer,” The Northside News, 24 January 1963, 1; Board of Trustees Minutes, 27 January 1963 and 4 March 1963, folder 3, box 36, UUCA records.

[44] “Statement by Eugene Pickett, Minister,” 7 October 1962, folder 7, box 52, UUCA records.

[45] Ibid.

[46] Newsletter, 31 March 1963; Newsletter No. 1 of the Public Issues Committee, April 1963, folder 6, box 52, UUCA records.

[47] Newsletter, 19 May 1963, folder 6, box 52, UUCA records; “Pastoral Letter,” 26 May 1963, folder 1, box 36, UUCA records.

[48] Newsletter, 3 November, folder 6, box 52, UUCA records; Newsletter, 15 December 1963, folder 6, box 52, UUCA records.

[49] Newsletters, 10 May 1964, 24 May 1964, and 14 June 1964, folder 2, box 37, UUCA records;

[50] Newsletter, 21 March 1965, folder 3, box 37, UUCA records.

[51] Newsletter, n.d. (early September 1965) folder 4, box 37, UUCA records.

[52] Newsletter, Vol. XV, No. 24 (February 1966), folder 4, box 37, UUCA records; Newsletter, 15 November, folder 3, box 39, UUCA records.

[53] Newsletter, 11 April 1967, folder 2, box 39, UUCA records.

[54] Bob and Marci Haver, telephone interview by author, 2 September 1996, Atlanta, Georgia.

 

 

 

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