[Cross-posted from New Books in African American Studies] The American Temperance Movement remains an interesting and important topic. Considering the various attitudes that influenced laws about alcohol sale and consumption of the past are often referred to when reviewing issues related to liquor legislation today. However, what may not be as readily considered is the role that interracial race relations affected and may still impact legislation today. In H. Paul Thomspon Jr.’s A Most Stirring and Significant Episode: Religion and the Rise and Fall of Prohibition in Black Atlanta, 1865-1887 (Northern Illinois University Press, 2012), we are given a front row seat to a 22 year period, from the end of slavery to the failure of Reconstruction, when blacks and whites in Atlanta, Georgia, were negotiating, wrangling and vying for various iterations of temperance, from prohibition to anti-prohibition. Thompson uncovers not only the role that race played in this period, but that religion and region (the North’s relationship to the South) played as well.
This fascinating read is sure to capture the attention of any interested in religion, or region, or race, or prohibition during this fascinating and important period of history.