Voices of Southern radicalism: prophetic voices, agrarian consciousness, and the fight for human welfare
This dissertation uses archival research to explore the rhetorical influence of the Southern Social Gospel Prophets. The project focuses on the outgrowth of radicalism that occurred from the Vanderbilt University Campus, specifically the classroom of Professor Alva Taylor. I analyze the radical prophetic rhetoric of Taylor and his students, which was a response to the environment created by the Vanderbilt Agrarians. This discourse of radicalism urged Southerners to be open to social growth and a new version of Americanism grounded in Christian social theory instead of Old South ideals. The importance of this study is twofold: first, it establishes the importance of radical Southern discourse as a precursor to the more widely recognized Civil Rights rhetorics of the 1950s and 1960s; and second, it answers the call of social movement theorists to include the vernacular rhetoric of place in historiographical studies.