Percy, after being raised as a committed segregationist, had upon entering the Roman Catholic Church in 1947 begun to reevaluate his social ethics; by the mid-1950s he had become an outspoken opponent of segregation, and during the turbulent decade that followed wrote several articles attacking the racist mores of white Southerners on explicitly Christian grounds. In other words, Percy's commitment to the civil rights movement was a direct consequence of his religious conversion, and it is only in connection with his Catholicism that it is properly understood... Percy was raised an agnostic (though nominally affiliated with a theologically liberal Presbyterian church); he acquired from his distinguished uncle and guardian William Alexander Percy not only religious liberalism but also political conservatism, embodied in the old Southern planter's paternalistic attitude towards the African-Americans whom he defended from the Klan but nonetheless conceived of as inherently inferior.
Webpage created 26 July 2005. Last modified 26 July 2005.
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