Honors Theses

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis



First Advisor

Curtis Wilkie

Relational Format



This paper is an exploration of the intersection of race and religion in Oxford, Mississippi. In particular, it gives a history of the restoration of the Burns-Belfry Church in Oxford, Mississippi. The project was a cross-cultural effort to save the town's first church built by freedmen in 1868. Many individuals worked together to save the town's historic landmark. In addition, the work also examines attempts by churches in Oxford to improve race relations in the community. The work looks at how events held between these churches may be the key to forgiveness and racial harmony. The title is taken from the scripture Matthew 18:20, Where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them. Thirteen interviews with members of the Oxford Lafayette County Heritage Foundation, Oxford Development Association, and pastors from First and Second Baptist Church, St. Peter's Episcopal Church, and Burns United Methodist Church comprise the bulk of thesis. Information was also gathered from the archival collections in the JD Williams's library, The Oxford Eagle, and The Daily Mississippian.



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