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The Reverend 
 
  
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Product Details 
  
 
Hardcover 
108 pages 
University Press of Mississippi 
Published 2006 
  
Book Description 
  
"I believe a preacher is called from his birth," Reverend Louis Cole told photographer James Perry Walker. "He is born into this world to preach, or not to preach."  
  
For six years, from 1976 until the reverend’s death in 1981, Walker photographed this circuit preacher, the black Baptist congregations he served, and the roads he traveled. The Reverend depicts the life and death of an African American minister who spread the Gospel and inspired his congregants in West Tennessee and North Mississippi. Walker fuses his own impressions and the reverend’s stories and sermons with intimate photographs to reveal the spiritual depth of one man and the extraordinary impact he had on his flocks. In the process, Walker allows the viewer communion with a very private African American culture.  
  
These photographs were taken over a six year period from 1976 to 1981 and include portraits, landscapes, and intimate scenes of church services and special events. The faithful worship at revival meetings, mourn at funerals, celebrate at baptisms, and sing praise at holiday celebrations. Converted at the age of fifteen, ordained at nineteen, Reverend Cole was a true circuit preacher of the old style. He visited his four churches on a rotating basis, preaching at a different church each Sunday of the month and continually counseling his far-flung seekers. The portraits of him reveal a man of great strength and hard-won wisdom who was a pillar of the communities he served..  
  
Alongside the introduction by Walker and a foreword by Will D. Campbell, the Reverend Cole’s own words prove to be a parable of Christian struggle and energy in a hard-pressed region. He tells his life story in brief incidents, prayers, sermons, and reflections on a variety of subjects ranging from Revelations to hunting dogs. The grace and power of Reverend Cole’s language heightens the spiritual ecstasy and dignity evident in Walker’s beautiful black-and-white photographs. Together his words, Campbell’s foreword, and Walker’s images give testimony to the difficult trials and the abiding, powerful faith of all the reverend’s black congregations.  
  
From the Publisher 
  
This intimate portrait of a fiery spiritual leader and his African American congregations  
  
* Offers an up-close perspective, a witness to an otherwise very private and intensely spiritual African American culture  
  
* Tells the moving story of Reverend Cole’s last years  
  
* Yields portraits of astonishing trust between subject and photographer—--Walker spent six years with the Reverend and his congregations  
  
* Features a foreword by Will D. Campbell, which joins the Reverend’s own sermons and Cole’s telling of his life story  
  
About the Author 
  
James Perry Walker’s photographs have been exhibited in such diverse galleries and museums as the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson, Mississippi, Tricia Collins Contemporary Art and Taranto Gallery in New York City, the Flint Institute of Arts in Flint, Michigan, and the Basel Art Fair in Switzerland. His photographs have been published in such periodicals as The Southern Quarterly and Camera International. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee.  
  
Will D. Campbell was a Baptist preacher in Taylor, Louisiana, and from 1954–1956 was Director of Religious Life at University of Mississippi until he was forced to leave for his ardent Civil Rights advocacy. He served as race relations consultant to the National Council of Churches in New York, and worked closely with Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., John Lewis, and Andrew Young. The award-winning author of novels and nonfiction, he lives in Wilson, Tennessee, and often calls himself "a preacher without a pulpit."
 
  
 
 
  
 
  
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