The Civil Rights History Project: Survey of Collections and Repositories
Oral histories of Koinonia
Repository: Koinonia Partners
Collection Description (Extant): Koinonia is an intentional Christian community founded by two couples, Clarence and Florence Jordan and Martin and Mabel England in 1942 as a “demonstration plot for the Kingdom of God.” For them, this meant a community of believers sharing life and following the example of the first Christian communities as described in the Acts of the Apostles, even amidst the poverty and racism of the rural South.
Clarence Jordan held an undergraduate degree in agriculture from the University of Georgia and wanted to use his knowledge of scientific farming “to seek to conserve the soil, God’s holy earth” and to help the poor: most of Koinonia’s neighbors were black sharecroppers and tenant farmers. Jordan and England were ordained ministers and professors (Jordan held a doctorate in New Testament Greek) and part of their vision was to offer training to African American ministers living in the area. For the first few years or so of the Koinonia experiment, Jordan, in particular, was welcomed to preach and teach in local churches. Though the demands of farming in those early years did not allow time for formal training of others, he used these visits to both black and white churches to offer guidance. They envisioned an interracial community where blacks and whites could live and work together in a spirit of partnership.
Through the 1950s and early 60s, Koinonia remained a witness to nonviolence and racial equality as its members withstood firebombs, bullets, KKK rallies, death threats, property damage, excommunication from churches, and economic boycotts. Koinonia and its members suffered greatly. But Koinonia survived.
Access Copy Note: Selections from transcripts are available online. See the video "Clarence Jordan: Legacy of Faith" at http://www.koinoniapartners.org/clarence/index.html
Collection URL: http://www.koinoniapartners.org/History/oralhistory/index.html
Digital Status: Partial
Interviewees: Queen E. White, Georgia Solomon, Joseph Jones, Con Browne, Geraldine Abbott, Zev Aelony, Clarence Jordan
Rights (CRHP): Contact the repository for information on rights.
African American clergy--Georgia
African American farmers
Civil rights movements--Georgia
Civil rights workers--Georgia
Civil rights--Religious aspects--Christianity
Ku Klux Klan (1915- )--Georgia