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Grant number: FT-59453-12

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FT-59453-12

Andrew Michael Manis
Macon State College (Macon, GA 31206-5145)

The Deep South Ministry of Father Soterios Gouvellis

This study proposes a biography of Father Soterios (Sam) Gouvellis, a Greek Orthodox priest who served a parish in Birmingham, Alabama, during the civil rights movement of the 1960s. The project illustrates how a priest's sympathies for the black freedom struggle created tensions with both members of his own congregation and with Protestants in greater Birmingham. It focuses on (1) immigrants??? pressures to accommodate to the social mores of their host culture; (2) how Greek-Americans were torn between the South???s cultural and racial forms of nationalism; (3) their responses to an assimilation process that required proof of their ???racial fitness???; (4) the ways the Greek Orthodox alternately challenged and were shaped by the evolving racial milieu of the American South; and (5) the life of a priest???s family under duress. It shows how becoming good Americans required accepting standard racial stereotypes and the rejection of movements for racial change.

Project fields:
Ethnic Studies

Program:
Summer Stipends

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2012 – 6/30/2012