On 26 February I posted a photograph from the February 19, 1948 Gospel Advocate showing the preachers honored at the David Lipscomb College Winter Bible Lectures. it was another installment in my ongoing research into the life and ministry of Charles Elias Webb Dorris. I asked you look carefully at these veterans of the Nashville scene. Don Haymes picked up on that and noted in a comment that by 1948 Nashville preacher Marshall Keeble had been preaching 50 years (longer than some of the white men honored). I responded wondering if MK was at the 1948 lectureship. Turns out he was.
This excerpt is from Show Us How You Do It: Marshall Keeble and the Rise of Black Churches of Christ in the United States, 1914-1968, page 41:
To label keeble as an “Uncle Tom,” however, is to oversimplify a complex man living in a complex culture. To suggest that he was not socially or politically conscientious is to fail to take him seriously and to ignore the sublety of the man and the complexities of his times. He did, indeed, on occasion manifest political and recial views out of tune with Jim Crowism. In 1948 Keeble, while speaking at David Lipscomb College’s annual lectureship, compared Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “fireside chats” to God’s written word. “Now, then, when he would make those fireside chats he was not a well man, he would go to bed early and about 12:00 you would hear the announcement telling you that this is Mr. Rooselvelt by transcription. Mr. Roosevelt speaks in Washington in the White House. What do you make out of that, Bro. Keeble? We today don’t need the baptism of the Holy Spirit for we have God’s word by transcription. We have the record”
Even though Keeble used a political illustration to emphasize a theological arguemtn that present-day Christians had no need for the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the subtext suggests that Keeble, who like many other African Americans probably had Republican leanings in his earlier years, transitioned into the Democratic party in the 1930s because of Roosevelt’s symbolic racial gestures in creating the so-called Black Cabinet, as well as his raising the economic hopes of black Americans through New Deal programs.
Ed footnotes Keeble’s speech from the 1948 lectureship volume, an 8.5 by 11 book published by the Student Center Book Store at David Lipscomb College. The theme of the lectures: Personal Godliness as a Condition of Salvation.
So, Marshall Keeble was indeed at the Lectures, but he was not included among those honored for holding forth the word of life.