Religion: Excommunication in Erath

The tension had been rising for weeks. Among the Louisiana rice marshes and stands of sugar cane around the little (pop. 2,500) town of Erath, 125 miles west of New Orleans, groups of white folks gathered to pass along the latest rumors about the new pastor. Father Labbe was holding catechism classes without the usual row of empty chairs between 650 white and 75 Negro children. He was going to mix the kids all up, people whispered, by putting them in alphabetical order and having them...

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