The Baha'i Faith and Interracialism in Early Twentieth-Century America

Location

Frist Theater

Though the body of historical research on segregation and anti-miscegenation laws is thorough and vast, scholars have dedicated little focus to the role of religion in shaping beliefs and expectations about life in a multiracial community. The limited scholarship that exists underscores the role of Christianity, but pays no attention to the influences of other faiths and spiritual systems in developing believers' ideas about a whole host of topics, including racial amity, intermarriage and interracial coexistence. My research hones in on the early efforts of the nascent American Baha'i religious community to thwart racial injustices in Jim Crow America through systematized and symbolic efforts grounded in an explicit theology of race that emphasized the essential oneness of the human family.