H. Paul Thompson, Jr., Ph.D.


H. Paul Thompson, Jr. , Ph.D.


Points: The Blog of the Alcohol and Drugs History Society


'A Most Stirring and Significant Episode': Religion and the Rise and Fall of Prohibition in Black Atlanta, 1865-1887
Northern Illinois University Press (2012)


A Most Stirring and Significant Episode is the first book-length study of African American involvement in the nineteenth-century temperance movement, but it is much more than that. Unlike any previous work, it challenges the reader to interpret blacks’ temperance rhetoric and response to prohibition in light of key elements of African and African American cosmology. As a study in the social history of ideas, it argues that nineteenth-century temperance ideology emerged from and reinforced widely held religiocultural values, and as such it was able to transcend the nation’s yawning racial, regional, and chronological divides. Part I examines the ideology, institutions, and processes through which white and black northerners introduced temperance to post-bellum Black Atlanta, and the book climaxes in Part II with a penetrating analysis and colorful description of Fulton County, Georgia’s 1885 and 1887 “local option” prohibition elections. Ignored by historians for years, these elections proved to be a turning point in the southern temperance movement and to have national political implications. The southern temperance-turned-prohibition movement could never again be the same after white reformers concluded that black Atlantans’ votes had overturned prohibition. This work lies at the intersection of the study of race, religion, and reform, and will engage readers interested in the social history of alcohol, American religious history, African American history, Southern history, intellectual history, and urban history.  


“Edwards, Justin” and “National Temperance Society and Publication House” in The Sage Encyclopedia of Alcohol: Social, Cultural, and Historical Perspectives, Scott C. Martin, ed. SAGE Publications, 2015.

“’On Account of Conditions that Seem Unalterable:’ A Proposal about Race Relations in the Church of God (Cleveland, TN), 1909-1929.” Pneuma:  The Journal of the Society for Pentecostal Studies 25 (Fall 2003): 240-263.

 “The Temperance Philanthropy of Harvey B. Spelman and JDR:  The National Temperance Society and Publication House.” Research Reports from the Rockefeller Archive Center (Fall 2005): 11-14.           

“Rev. Harold Thompson: One of the Longest-serving Persons of Color Ordained by the Assemblies of God,” Assemblies of God Heritage 25 (Spring 2005): 22-27.

Plus various book reviews in such journals as the Journal of Southern History,  Journal of African American History, Georgia Historical Quarterly, and  Social History of Alcohol and Drugs.

Dean, College of Humanities  & Professor of History
North Greenville University, Tigerville, SC