The Episcopal Society for Cultural and Racial Unity (ESCRU)

A Break with the Past

Protest To Increase Black Clergy Placement

A protest demanding the dissolution of racial barriers in the placement of clergy, c. 1966.

The Episcopal Society for Cultural and Racial Unity (ESCRU) was the first sure sign of an institutional rebellion to break from the separate but equal construct. ESCRU’s founding members declared explicitly that black and white Episcopalians could no longer in practice be separate and that full equality could only be achieved by bringing whites and blacks into a new covenant of unity. This was a radical message of Christian social gospel, and it would require a conversion of the heart. ESCRU’s message was a bold and daring confrontation at the time, and it did, indeed, open the eyes of the power structure of the Church. [Sources]

Excerpt from "The Saga of Selma," a March 1965 radio program produced by John Morris, Executive Director of ESCRU, documenting a confrontation in Selma, Alabama.