AuthorCast #38—Conversation with Russell Stevenson, author of For the Cause of Righteousness: A Global History of Blacks and Mormonism, 1830–2013 January 30 2017
In this episode, we are joined by Russell Stevenson, author of For the Cause of Righteousness: A Global History of Blacks and Mormonism, 1830–2013, published in 2014 and the winner of the Best Book Award from the Mormon History Association in 2015. We discuss the the academic field of an Africanist as well as how For the Cause of Righteousness fits in with both Mormon history as well as the comparative black history genres; and what For the Cause of Righteousness adds to the scholarly discussion on race within Mormonism.
About the book:
This book broaches one of the most sensitive topics in the history of Mormonism: the story of the LDS community’s turbulent relationship with the black population. For the Cause of Righteousness: A Global History of Blacks and Mormonism, 1830-2013 promises to tell a story of how an American religious community could wander through the rocky landscape of American racial politics, all while hoping to hold onto its institutional integrity in the face of attacks from both within and without. Drawing on a rich array of archival documents and oral testimonies, For the Cause of Righteousness suggests that understanding race and Mormonism requires far more than watching the movements of well-dressed men on North Temple; it calls for understanding the dynamics of global Mormon communities ranging from Mowbray to Accra, from Berkeley to Rio Di Janeiro.
But as any historian will say, primary sources matter. Thus, For the Cause of Righteousness offers up not only a narrative history of the global black Mormon community but also an anthology of primary source transcripts: letters, newspaper articles, and speech transcripts, all in hopes that readers might take one more step toward understanding a story that simultaneously inspires, troubles, and urges Latter-day Saints into understanding a provincial religion that has reached global proportions.
Preview the volume here.