Father Divine Research Paper

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Very little is known about Father Divine’s early life. Father Divine and the Peace Movement he started did not keep many records. He himself declined many times to write his own biography, saying that ‘The history of God would not be useful in mortal terms’. He also refused to acknowledge relationship to any family. Researchers believe that Father Divine was born in the Deep South, in Georgia. Researchers also had to dig up newspapers from the 1930’s to confirm his name; George Baker. Father Divine worked as a gardener in Baltimore, Maryland. He attended a local Baptist Church, often preaching until 1907 when Samuel Morris, a traveling preacher came along. Morris was usually soft spoken and uncontroversial in his sermons until…show more content…
“Mother Divine” (Peninniah) and Father Divine would assert that their marriage was never physical. Father Divine and his disciples relocated to Sayville, New York in 1919. In this period, his movement grew. Father Divine held free weekly banquets and helped newcomers find jobs and homes. He attracted many white followers as well as black. The environment of Father Divine’s house and apparently flaunted wealth made neighbors infuriated. Members of the white community accused him of maintaining a large harem and engaging in scandalous sex, although the County district attorney’s office found the claims to be false. Neighbors still continued to complain. On May 8th, 1931, a Sayville deputy arrested and charged Father Divine with disturbing the peace. Father Divine submitted his $1000 bail in cash, which was amazing because this was the era of the Depression. By May 1932, meetings were regularly held throughout New York and New Jersey. Father Divine had supporters in Washington state, California, and the world. In this period of expansions, several branch communities were opened in New York and New Jersey. Father Divine’s followers finally named the movement, the International Peace Mission…show more content…
The trial took place at Nassau County Supreme Court before Justice Lewis J. Smith. The Jury found him guilty on June 5th. Justice Smith lectured on how Father Divine was a fraud and a “menace to society” before issuing the maximum sentence for disturbing the peace, one year in prison and a $500 fine. Smith died of a heart attack a couple days later. Father Divine remarked, “I hated to do it!. This remark made him a nationally known figure. His conviction was reversed a few days later and Divine moved with his followers to

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