By distinguished historian Carleton Mabee, a history telling how during the 30s and 40s, Father Divine created thirty interracial utopian communities in Ulster County, where they were, what they did. It also looks at Father Divine himself, his personality, and the personal stories of some of his followers.
Promised Land: Father Divine’s Interracial Communities in Ulster County, New York
About the Book
Father Divine lifted the despairing from the gutter to self-respect, but his methods troubled many observers. He commanded substantial wealth, but he mystified much of the world as to how he acquired it. He had charismatic power but his talk of his supernatural abilities was difficult for the public to accept. His movement, whose peak years lasted from 1938 to 1943, constituted one of the most completely interracial groups in America, yet large numbers of Americans found this to be offensive.
This book focuses on Father Divine as he led in creating interracial, utopian communities in overwhelmingly white Ulster County, New York. By 1939, Divine had led in creating thirty such communities in the county — they were experimental, cooperative, nonviolent, and about 2,300 people were living in them. While the settled population of the county was disturbed by the arrival of these communities, Divine had high hopes for them as models for the world. Divine and his followers called them a Promised Land to which God was now leading his followers as God had once led the ancient Hebrews to their Promised Land. The book concentrates on Divine’s movement in the period from 1935, when it established its first Ulster County community in New Paltz, until 1985 when it sold off its last one, in Kingston. Mabee details how each community was founded and what it did, as well as the selected stories of individuals who in their deeds illuminate the movement at large.
About the Author
Author and historian Carleton Mabee won the Pulitzer Prize for The American Leonardo: A Life of Samuel F. B. Morse, (2000 revised edition, Purple Mountain Press). Among his other books are The Seaway Story: A History of the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Canals, Black Freedom: The Non-Violent Abolitionists from 1830 through the Civil War, Sojourner Truth: Slave, Prophet, Legend (with Susan Mabee Newhouse), Listen to the Whistle: An Anecdotal History of the Wallkill Valley Railroad in Ulster and Orange Counties, New York and Bridging the Hudson: The Poughkeepsie Railroad Bridge and Its Connecting Rail Lines (both published by Purple Mountain Press). Born in Shanghai and a graduate of Bates College and Columbia University, Mabee was professor emeritus at the State University of New York at New Paltz.
8.5 x 11