Religion and the Good Ole’ South

 

 

Religion

            When I think of the south and what it represents I think of several things. One thing that stood out to me most is religion.  Religion was a heavy topic that was discussed in our previous class discussions. Southerners really value religion and going to church.  When you drive anywhere in the south you will find a church on just about every corner. As I was driving down the streets of Memphis I would often times find several churches on one street. Some churches were not even a mile or even a half mile apart. As I was completing my photo essay it was important for me to capture the importance of religion in the hope. I wanted to take pictures of historical churches that people were currently attending. I wanted to capture photos of well-known black churches as well as well-known white churches. I also wanted to take pictures of large churches as well as small churches to show that there are a wide range of churches that people attend in the south. I recently went to Atlanta about two weeks ago and i made it mandatory to take a picture of Ebenezer Baptist Church which is where Martin Luther King Jr. and his father ministered. This church is a historic site for the south. I could not have left Atlanta, Ga. without capturing a photo of this church. It seems as though they tried to keep this church as original as possible. Too many upgrades to this church would take away from the old historic feeling. Even the sign for the church remains exactly the same as it did when Dr. King and his father preached there.

I also made it a priority of mine to take a picture of my childhood church. Religion is very close to my heart and I have so many memories within that church. My entire family went to church so it was very important for me to put this church in my photo essay because it is a part of who I am today. I have so many memories in this church that will never leave. It is and forever will be my home church. It is one of the smallest pictures that I have in my photo essay and that is another reason why I had to have this church in my photo essay. Most people today feel that they have to attend larger churches in order to feel important or as if their church is better than a smaller church. In my opinion I feel it does not make any difference whether my church is small or large just as long as I am receiving the word for the pastor.

I also travelled down to my old neighborhood as a young child. I really wanted to go back to my childhood neighborhood because I knew I could capture great photos of churches. There were three churches that were right next to each other. I never realized that these were three different churches when I was a little girl because it just seemed did not seem out of the ordinary to see these three churches next to one another. In one of these churches my sister and I belonged to a Girl Scout troop within the church.

Then I rode down Central Avenue and I took a picture of Second Presbyterian Church. This church is huge and I past by this church everyday to come to school. It would only be right to have this church in my photo essay. This church does several things for the community. Just about every time I past this church whether if it is on the weekday or weekend there is always some type of activity going on. This church even offers a church for the community which I think is great.

I also made it a point to get a photo of the Catholic Church Immaculate Conception. Not everyone in the South is Baptist. There are many Catholic people in the south so it would not be right to leave out Catholic Churches in my photo essay. There are many people in the south that are Catholic so it was important for me to have a well-known Catholic church in my photo essay. I have always heard this church brought up in several conversations but I never knew exactly where it was. When I think of the different churches in the south I always tend to think about predominately black churches, which is something I need to get out of the habit of. There are more churches in the South that are not mostly black.

World Overcomers church is located right here in the city on Winchester Avenue. It is a well-known black church. A one time in our city’s history this church was receiving a lot mixed reviews from the press around the country. The reason there was so much attention brought upon this church was because the statue of liberty was being built to be placed in the front of the church. People from around the city had mixed feelings about it. Even the New York City had something to say about the statue being built in Memphis, Tn. At the time when this was happening, I was a young girl. I did not know why this was such a big issue. Now that I am older, I have an opinion about it. It is not that big of a concern to me. World Overcomers has their own meaning for the statue so who I am to say that it is wrong for it to be in front of the church.

I rode around the city with my mom and older sister to do this project. Once I got into the assignment I started to really enjoy myself. I captured some great photos and I also received some weird looks from people as I was snapping my photos. I was really amazed by how well my pictures turned out and how many other churches are in the city that I did not take pictures of. That made me take notice of how much the South really values religion as a part of our culture.

 

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