Document Type



Media is loading

Publication Date



Dr. Jefferson Caruthers narrates his life story in Churches of Christ. His story illustrates the differences between West Coast Churches of Christ that were often integrated and southern congregations that were typically segregated. He reflects on common experiences within Churches of Christ from the 1980s to 2020s. Caruthers discusses the political leaning of most African American Churches of Christ (i.e., Democrat). And he explains that, although the gospel is primarily about saving souls, black Churches of Christ adherents have always worked for civil rights in society to some degree or another. He discusses the continued racism society, the distastefulness (in the eyes of African Americans) of Faulkner’s repeated hosting of rightwing speakers, his wariness about mergers of black and white congregations, decline in adherents, COVID-19, and his hope for small congregations. He described three major groups within African American Churches of Christ: ultraconservatives who broke fellowship with a moderate middle group over the use of praise groups, and a progressive group seeking to include women in prayer and reading scripture in the worship gathering.


This interview of Jefferson Caruthers (Winston Salem, North Carolina) conducted by James Gorman (Knoxville, Tennessee) took place on July 18, 2022.

Length: 1 hour 1 minute

Additional files include an mp3 audio file.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

ACU_CoCOralHistoryProject_Caruthers.Jefferson.mp3 (57300 kB)
Audio file "Interview #3 – Jefferson Caruthers"