By Robert Gregg
Within Out, outdoors In takes regularly occurring old narratives and gives replacement readings for them. It endeavours to extend the parameters of comparative heritage via concentrating on the industrial, social, political and historiographical connections between societies, and by means of looking at those intertwined histories from diversified vantage issues. Iconoclastic, provocative, even quirky, within Out, outdoors In takes us past tradition and society into the imperial webs of organization chanced on in and out the self-discipline of background.
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Particularly strong in this section, I felt (and I was disappointed that it rather fell by the wayside in later parts of the book), was Campbell's analysis of women in the A. M. E. Church. Campbell shows that at the very beginning of the church's history the issues of the rights and privileges of women, and what these might signify for a people attempting to establish their collective 'manhood' at a time when people seemed particularly preoccupied with issues of masculinity, were at the forefront of the denomination's political debates.
5 As Campbell mentions, Fanny Coppin was an advocate of black domesticity, so the appointment of the Coppins to the South African episcopal district perhaps represented a pointed comment about what it was about 'civilization' that would be important to implant in South African soil. As a Social Gospeler, Coppin also had a profound influence on the work of the two leading propagandists within the church during the Great Migration, Reverdy C. Ransom and Richard Robert Wright, Jr. (Campbell discusses this connection, but without noting the response of these three men to the migration).
E. Church was losing its exalted position in the United States. Even by the time Du Bois was writing The Philadelphia Negro in 1897, the A. M. E. Church was no longer the largest denomination in Philadelphia. What the church was confronting in South Africa, therefore, was the question of what its role should be in black communities more generally. The response to the Ethiopian movement and the assumptions that church leaders made about rural people and their needs in urban society would be repeated in their later response to the Great Migration.