Nashville Churches of Christ History Group on Facebook

Nashville Churches of Christ History group is open to anyone interested in the Stone-Campbell movement in Nashville and Davidson County.  Here is the first post I made a few days ago:

I envision this community as a place to share common interest in the rich story of the Stone-Campbell Movement in Nashville. I am conducting research for a book which will highlight each congregation of Churches of Christ and Christian Churches from the 1820’s to the present…basically the entire movement from its beginning in our city until now. I envision this group as a place to share memories, photos, news and generate discussion and interest. Please join and contribute. Please feel free to contact me directly at icekm (at) aol (dot) com.

The group is open to all.  Help spread the word and generate interest.

Oral History Collection to ACU

Click here for the announcement and here for the video describing the donation of this fine collection of material:

The collection consists of 20 separate files, 12 audio cassettes and 5 audio mini cassettes of interviews. The written files contain summary transcripts of the interviews, notes, and related material about each of the individuals interviewed and also essays by Boyd.  Many of the individuals interviewed relate stories about two of the most influential evangelists of the early Churches of Christ: Marshall Keeble and G. P. Bowser.

Thank you to the Boyd’s for undertaking this project and ensuring its preservation.  Thank you to ACU for transcribing the interviews and making the collection available.

Save the Paper

Regular readers of this blog know that one of my research interests is Nashville’s Stone-Campbell heritage.  Judging from the folks who find my blog by searching for old Nashville churches like Foster Street Christian Church or Vine Street Christian Church or South College Street Church of Christ, I see I am not alone in my interest.  Here’s my appeal:

I am assembling information from, by and about these churches, ministers and related organizations.  Do you have paper (like directories or bulletins), photographs, sermons, postcards, old issues of periodicals like Gospel Advocate or Apostolic Times or ephemera from Nashville events like the Hardeman Tabernacle meetings or the Collins-Craig Auditorium Meeting, or the Nashville Jubilee?  Do you have photographs or postcards of church buildings?  For that matter, do you have an old map of Nashville that shows what the city was like in the 1940’s?  or earlier? Do you have clippings from the newspapers about people or events or congregations in the Nashville or Davidson County area?   Do you have memories of growing up at Vine Street Christian Church when it was still downtown?  Or Reid Avenue Church of Christ, Russell Street Church of Christ or Charlotte Avenue Church of Christ (all three are now closed)?  Would you be willing to talk with me–in person or by email or even by postal mail–to share your memories?  Would you allow me to borrow your old paper, copy it and learn from it?

Old paper is the stuff from which history is written.  And if it isn’t preserved then not only will vital data be lost but a story will be silenced.  I believe the Nashville story is a rich story, and a story worth keeping and worth telling and worth preserving.   With every funeral we lose some memory or story.  The time has come for us to assemble what remains while we can, and ensure that through its preservation the story will not be forgotten.

Check the steamer trunks in your attics, the boxes in your basements and the files in the closets.  Before you throw it away, email me.  Let’s preserve it.

icekm (at) aol (dot) com

DLC Lectures, 1948

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.