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- DescriptionIn the midst of a nineteenth-century boom in spiritual experimentation,the Cercle Harmonique, a remarkable group of African-descended men,practiced Spiritualism in heavily Catholic New Orleans from just before theCivil War to the end of Reconstruction. In this first comprehensive historyof the Cercle, Emily Suzanne Clark illuminates how highly diverse religiouspractices wind in significant ways through American life, culture, and history.Clark shows that the beliefs and practices of Spiritualism helped Afro-Creoles mediate the political and social changes in New Orleans, as freeblacks suffered increasingly restrictive laws and then met with violent resistanceto suffrage and racial equality. Drawing on fascinating records of actual seance practices, the lives of themediums, and larger citywide and national contexts, Clark reveals how themessages that the Cercle received from the spirit world offered its membersrich religious experiences as well as a forum for political activism inspired byrepublican ideals. Messages from departed souls including Francois Rabelais,Abraham Lincoln, John Brown, Robert E. Lee, Emanuel Swedenborg, andeven Confucius discussed government structures, the moral progress ofhumanity, and equality. The Afro-Creole Spiritualists were encouraged tocontinue struggling for justice in a new world where bright spirits wouldreplace raced bodies.
- Author BiographyEmily Suzanne Clark is assistant professor of religious studies at Gonzaga University.
- Author(s)Emily Suzanne Clark
- PublisherThe University of North Carolina Press
- Date of Publication30/08/2016
- SubjectChristian History & Denominations
- Place of PublicationChapel Hill
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintThe University of North Carolina Press
- Content Note6 halftones
- Weight549 g
- Width152 mm
- Height229 mm
- Spine23 mm
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