Americana: Seeing the Light

Perhaps it was the hellfire surroundings of the old Roanoke, Va., jail, but for some time now, at the rate of six or eight a year, prisoners there have been seeing "the light" and asking to be baptized. Prison officials were not averse to such rehabilitation. They obligingly took the converts from prison to a nearby church, where the rites were performed.

The trips, however, presented something of a security risk. So when he designed a brand-new $6 million jail for Roanoke, Architect John Marfleet included a baptistry. "We conferred many, many times with...

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