The Church Awakens: Civil Rights and the Search for Justice

The Montgomery Bus Boycott, the March on Washington, and Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech are celebrated by Americans as signal episodes in the progress towards Civil Rights in American history. Less well known is the transformation of American civil society and the many institutions which responded to the African American call for a new public policy on race. Though divided and harboring racism, the Episcopal Church participated in the turbulent and impassioned events of this period. Individual Episcopalians, including lay persons, seminary students, clergy, and bishops, were moved to action by the inequality they witnessed in American society. The struggle to reverse social injustice would be played out in the Church and ultimately effect a change in Church policy and practices.