The Federal Council of Churches and Racial Unity


InterContinental Buckhead
3315 Peachtree Road
Atlanta, Georgia

Event Details

The Federal Council of Churches, which represented 33 Christian denominations when it was founded in 1908, aimed to coordinate the work of churches and to make them more visible in American social, political, and economic life. As division and conflict grew among church bodies, the council's goal was to demonstrate unity.

In this lecture, Curtis J. Evans will examine the creation of the FCC's Department of Race Relations in the 1920s and how the department sought to address racial prejudice and oppression. Its efforts included the proposal of a "theology of brotherhood" (in which racial unity and respect were an essential part of Christian witness and authentic Christian practice), annual Race Relations Sundays, and an antilynching campaign. The department's view of a Christianity that did not support racial segregation was an important and new development within a specifically interracial Christian organization.

Curtis J. Evans is an historian of American religion specializing in the history of Christianity in modern America from the Civil War to the present. He is interested in race and religion in US history, religion, and social change, and debates about the changing nature of the public role of religion in American society.

Read a University of Chicago Magazine profile of Evans or an interview with him on BaldBlogger.

Purchase Evans's book, The Burden of Black Religion. A limited number of copies will be available for purchase at the lecture.


$20/person for general admission
$10/person for recent graduates (College alumni of the past 10 years and graduate alumni of the past five years)
Two complimentary registrations for members of the Alumni Leadership, Chicago, Harper, and Phoenix Societies


Register Online

Deadline: 4/14/2015


6:00 PM-7:00 PM: Registration and reception

7:00 PM-8:30 PM: Presentation and discussion

Speaker Profiles

Curtis J. Evans (Speaker)

Curtis Evans is a historian of American religion. His teaching interests include modern American religion, race and religion in US history, and slavery and Christianity. His first book, The Burden of Black Religion(Oxford University Press, 2008), was an historical analysis of debates about the role of religion in the lives of African Americans and the origins of the scholarly category of "the black church." His research emphases are interpretations and cultural images of African American religion and historical examinations of religion as a force for and obstacle to social and political reform. Evans' published essays have appeared in theJournal of the American Academy of Religion, Church History, Journal of Southern Religion, and Religion and American Culture. His current research project is a critical historical study of the Federal Council of Churches' Department of Race Relations from the 1920s the 1940s, with a focus on the internal dynamics of the FCC's emphasis on attitudinal change as a means of addressing racial prejudice and its broader structural critique of racial oppression in American society.


Kelly Doody