Catalogue


William Louis Poteat : a leader of the progressive-era South /
Randal L. Hall.
imprint
Lexington, Ky. : University Press of Kentucky, c2000.
description
262 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.
ISBN
0813121558 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Lexington, Ky. : University Press of Kentucky, c2000.
isbn
0813121558 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
3836307
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Randal L Hall is assistant director of admissions at Wake Forest University.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2001-01-01:
In a well-written and well-researched work, Hall chronicles the life of an important transitional figure in the South's intellectual history. Although born into a slaveholding family and a lifelong adherent of the Southern Baptist faith, Poteat, a biology professor and president of Wake Forest University, became an advocate of evolution, a supporter of the Social Gospel, and a leading figure in the Progressive movement. Like many southern progressives, Poteat's religious background limited his concept of reform. Ironically though, just as Richard Nixon's anticommunist credentials made it possible for him to open relations with China, Poteat's religious orthodoxy allowed him to take stands for progressive reform that would have been rejected if proposed by others. This book's strength is its ability to show how Poteat's faith and scientific training combined to make him comfortable supporting such diverse causes as world peace and eugenics. The chapter on his battles as president of Wake Forest to preserve academic freedom in the face of Baptist opposition to the teaching of evolution, and a broad liberal arts curriculum in the face of discipline specialization, speaks to issues that are still relevant in higher education today. All levels. D. Butts; Gordon College (GA)
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Hall's portrait of Poteat represents a complex image that concurrently broadens our understanding of southern progressivism and yet also makes it more difficult to define exactly who the progressives were." -- Filson History Quarterly
"Hall's portrait of Poteat represents a complex image that concurrently broadens our understanding of southern progressivism and yet also makes it more difficult to define exactly who the progressives were.-- Filson History Quarterly" -- Filson History Quarterly
"A fine book on a worthy subject written by a talented young historian.-- Journal of Church and State" -- Journal of Church and State
"A splendid story of an authentic North Carolina hero.... The force and clarity of his advocacy during tumultuous times made him a powerful figure in shaping public policy that continues today." -- William Friday
"An important and well-researched contribution to the history of Southern Baptists and southern culture." -- Journal of Theology
"An important and well-researched contribution to the history of Southern Baptists and southern culture.-- Journal of Theology" -- Journal of Theology
"Answers the need for a major study of an important but neglected southern leader.... Rests on an elegant research base, and it is written in a vigorous and pithy prose that lends itself to the author's nuanced treatment." -- Journal of American History
"Answers the need for a major study of an important but neglected southern leader.... Rests on an elegant research base, and it is written in a vigorous and pithy prose that lends itself to the author's nuanced treatment.-- Journal of American History" -- Journal of American History
"This is simply first-rate work.... A masterful book.-- Journal of Southern History" -- Journal of Southern History
"The image of William Louis Poteat presented in this volume is much more detailed than has been available. Poteat was a complex man in a changing era and played a significant role in the evolution of North Carolina, the South, and Wake Forest University into their present status.-- Winston-Salem Journal" -- Winston-Salem Journal
"This is simply first-rate work.... A masterful book." -- Journal of Southern History
"In a well-written and well-researched work, Hall chronicles the life of an important transitional figure in the South's intellectual history." -- Choice
"In a well-written and well-researched work, Hall chronicles the life of an important transitional figure in the South's intellectual history.-- Choice" -- Choice
"In this thoroughly researched, elegantly written, and imaginatively conceived book, we have a biography that is worthy of the man. This work will take its place among the leading studies of southern intellectual life, religious development, higher education, and politics in the region during the first third of the twentieth century." -- William A. Link
"In this thoroughly researched, elegantly written, and imaginatively conceived book, we have a biography that is worthy of the man. This work will take its place among the leading studies of southern intellectual life, religious development, higher education, and politics in the region during the first third of the twentieth century.-- William A. Link" -- William A. Link
"Hall's revisionist portrait of Poteat successfully restores a complex dimension to this oft-neglected southern thinker." -- Georgia Historical Quarterly
"Hall's revisionist portrait of Poteat successfully restores a complex dimension to this oft-neglected southern thinker.-- Georgia Historical Quarterly" -- Georgia Historical Quarterly
"The image of William Louis Poteat presented in this volume is much more detailed than has been available. Poteat was a complex man in a changing era and played a significant role in the evolution of North Carolina, the South, and Wake Forest University into their present status." -- Winston-Salem Journal
"A splendid story of an authentic North Carolina hero.... The force and clarity of his advocacy during tumultuous times made him a powerful figure in shaping public policy that continues today.-- William Friday" -- William Friday
"Brings a fresh demythologizing perspective to the figure of William Louis Poteat (1856-1938), a devout Baptist and longtime professor of natural sciences at Wake Forest College." -- Religious Studies Review
"Brings a fresh demythologizing perspective to the figure of William Louis Poteat (1856-1938), a devout Baptist and longtime professor of natural sciences at Wake Forest College.-- Religious Studies Review" -- Religious Studies Review
"An excellent biography of a difficult subject.... Deepens one's appreciation of the complexity of early-twentieth-century progressivism and the challenges posed and faced by southern liberals in that era." -- North Carolina Historical Quarterly
"An excellent biography of a difficult subject.... Deepens one's appreciation of the complexity of early-twentieth-century progressivism and the challenges posed and faced by southern liberals in that era.-- North Carolina Historical Quarterly" -- North Carolina Historical Quarterly
"Although Randal Hall's book is primarily a biography of Poteat -- and secondarily a history of Wake Forest as it evolved from a tiny Baptist school into a major college -- it is also a study of the split personalities of Southern Progressives.-- Isis" -- Isis
"Although Randal Hall's book is primarily a biography of Poteat -- and secondarily a history of Wake Forest as it evolved from a tiny Baptist school into a major college -- it is also a study of the split personalities of Southern Progressives." -- Isis
"A fine book on a worthy subject written by a talented young historian." -- Journal of Church and State
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, January 2001
Reference & Research Book News, February 2001
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
" William Louis Poteat (1856-1938), the son of a conservative Baptist slaveholder, became one of the most outspoken southern liberals during his lifetime. He was a rarity in the South for openly teaching evolution beginning in the 1880s, and during his tenure as president of Wake Forest College (1905-1927) his advocacy of social Christianity stood in stark contrast to the zeal for practical training that swept through the New South's state universities. Exceptionally frank in his support of evolution, Poteat believed it represented God at work in nature. Despite repeated attacks in the early 1920s, Poteat stood his ground on this issue while a number of other professors at southern colleges were dismissed for teaching evolution. One of the few Baptists who stressed the social duties of Christians, Poteat led numerous campaigns during the Progressive era for reform on such issues as public education, child labor, race relations, and care of the mentally ill. His convictions were grounded in a respect for high culture and learning, a belief in the need for leadership, and a deep-seated faith in God. Poteat also embodied the struggle with the intellectual compromises that tortured contemporary social critics in the South. Though he took a liberal position on numerous issues, he was a staunch advocate for prohibition and became a strong supporter of eugenics, a position he adopted after following his beliefs in a natural hierarchy and absolute moral order to their ultimate conclusion. Randal Hall's revisionist biography presents a nuanced portrait of Poteat, shedding new light on southern intellectual life, religious development, higher education, and politics in the region during his lifetime.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrationsp. viii
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. 1
Genesis of a Southern Reformerp. 5
Separate Spheres--Personal, Professional, Religiousp. 22
Christian Progressivism in the Southp. 60
Wrestling New South Educationp. 103
Christianity, Enlightenment, and Baptist Democracyp. 129
Spokesman for Another Lost Causep. 157
Conclusionp. 195
Notesp. 201
Bibliographyp. 247
Indexp. 258
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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