delanceyplace.com 04/26/06 - savannah
In today's excerpt - in the tense months leading up to his 'I have a dream' speech, Martin Luther King visits Savannah, Georgia:
"... they all flew to Savannah on an early morning flight. The mood of the occasion was grimly practical, but the preachers among them appreciated that the Savannah region was a fitting site for revolutions grounded in religion. From Savannah, in 1738, the British revivalist George Whitefield had launched his first phenomenal tour of the American colonies, creating a mass intoxication—known as the Great Awakening—that swept from Georgia to New Hampshire. He drew 30,000 people to the Boston Common in 1740, when the city's entire population was less than two-thirds that number. From Savannah, where John Wesley first landed from England with his Anglican theology shaken by Whitefield's preaching on the voyage, Whitefield's influence spawned Baptist congregations and later Wesleyan (Methodist) ones. The small, malaria-infested seaport in Georgia became mother to the two massed-based Protestant denominations that captured early American churchgoers. In Savannah itself, the spirit of conversion was so strong that many of the whites accepted the idea of promoting religion among the slaves. First African Baptist was established there in 1788 as one of the first Negro congregations on the North American continent. A pastor of First African led the slave preachers who parleyed with General Sherman when his March to the sea reached Savannah."
|Parting the Waters: America in the King Years
|Simon & Schuster Paperbacks
|Copyright 1988 by Taylor Branch