essay .................... Keeping Sin from Sacred Spaces Southern Evangelicals and the Socio-Legal Control of Alcohol, 18651915 by Michael Lewis Since the nineteenth century, southerners have attempted to maintain a strict separation of items deemed sinful and spaces deemed pure. Lake baptism, 1935, from the Lomax Collection at the Library of Congress. n a recent trip to Pittsburgh, I was struck by the close proximity of churches and nightclubs, a good number within a few feet of each other and, in a few spectacular cases, bars operating out of barely reconstructed houses of worship. Having lived in the South for twenty years and having studied southern ways of managing access to alcohol, the close juxtaposition of sacred and profane spaces was rather jarring. Historically, and still today, southerners have attempted to maintain a strict separation of items deemed sinful and spaces deemed pure. White southerners have also been unusually concerned with separating persons deemed sinful or tempting from "pure" spaces or persons, as the long sad history of laws designed to prohibit intimate cross-racial fraternization well illustrates. While many Americans might view an inebriated churchgoer as an ill person who has inappropriately entered a sacred place, southern evangelicals then
Southern Cultures – University of North Carolina Press
Published: May 16, 2009
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