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Willis Duke WeatherfordRace, Religion, and Reform in the American South$
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Andrew McNeill Canady

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780813168159

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813168159.001.0001

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Bringing a Revival to the Mountains

Bringing a Revival to the Mountains

(p.187) 6 Bringing a Revival to the Mountains
Willis Duke Weatherford

Andrew McNeill Canady

University Press of Kentucky

This chapter examines Weatherford’s close attention to the concerns of Appalachian poverty, education, and religion. His involvement in these issues grew out of his work with Berea College in Kentucky. Since the late 1910s he had been a member of its Board of Trustees, but upon retirement from Fisk in 1946, he turned his full effort toward Berea, sponsoring a play (Wilderness Road by the famed southern liberal playwright) to highlight the school’s history) as well as setting up accompanying conferences to “improve” mountain religious institutions. These programs also led him to guide a new survey of Appalachia in 1962 and to be a part of the War on Poverty movement at that time. Just as Weatherford’s belief that all persons were sacred had led him to a concern for blacks in the early 1900s, this same philosophy drove him to take up the plight of Appalachian residents. Still, his efforts, like those made for blacks during most of his life, stopped short of calling for major structural changes in the economic system of capitalism.

Keywords:   Berea College, Appalachian reform, War on Poverty, education, religion, personalism, Paul Green

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