Careers Across Color Lines: American Women Missionaries and Race Relations, 1870-1920 Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Hill, Kimberly DeJoie
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of History
  • This dissertation traces the careers of three American female missionaries as they interacted with people of different races and nationalities at home and abroad between 1870 and 1920. Each of these women confronted or defied stereotypes to become a spiritual leader. The missionaries modeled various ways that American norms of cultural superiority and racial prejudice played out in a global context during the Jim Crow era. Martha Crawford convinced Southern Baptist leaders that Chinese Christian women were helpless without her, but she grew less reliant on American values near the end of her career. Methodist evangelist Amanda Smith preached a message of spiritual transformation that included criticism of racial prejudice, and she acted out her message by working among white Americans. Finally, Maria Fearing’s career within a racially integrated Presbyterian mission in Congo brought her leadership opportunities that her denomination denied to black people in the United States. Each woman’s experience provided a glimpse of how leaders in the largest American Protestant denominations understood interracial relationships as part of their quest to spread Christianity throughout the world.
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  • In Copyright
  • Brundage, W. Fitzhugh
  • Open access

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