RACE RELATIONS: Test for Carter in His Backyard

Jimmy Carter's first real post-election test has come in, of all places, his home town of Plains. There, at his country-plain, white Baptist church—a setting all the more dramatic because of its small scale—he had to resolve a controversy that threatened to tarnish his Presidency before it began. The issue: whether blacks would be permitted to join the church. After a membership meeting last Sunday, equality—and Jimmy—emerged as winners; the congregation voted to end race restrictions.

The church-membership drama erupted unexpectedly in the closing days of the campaign. The week before the election, a flamboyant black minister, the Rev. Clennon King,...

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