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Confessions of a Free Speech LawyerCharlottesville and the Politics of Hate$
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Rodney A. Smolla

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501749650

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501749650.001.0001

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Reverend Edwards

Reverend Edwards

(p.20) 4 Reverend Edwards
Confessions of a Free Speech Lawyer

Rodney A. Smolla

Cornell University Press

This chapter talks about Rev. Dr. Alvin Edwards, pastor of Mount Zion First African Baptist Church in Charlottesville. After the Charleston murders, Edwards reflected on what religious groups in Charlottesville could do to prevent a similar event of racial hate. It describes how Edwards realized that the lack of interaction between the black and white clergy in Charlottesville symbolized a broader theme in American life, the difference between diversity and integration. Viewed statistically, Charlottesville's religious community was racially “diverse,” but the lack of meaningful interaction between black and white clergy exposed a lack of authentic integration. This chapter discusses how Edwards countered the habit of estrangement among race by forming the Charlottesville Clergy Collective. A God-centered faith community of prayer, solidarity, and impact within the Charlottesville-Albemarle Region of Central Virginia.

Keywords:   Alvin Edwards, Charlottesville, Charleston murders, religious groups, racial hate, diversity, integration, Charlottesville Clergy Collective

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