March 23, 2023
Shaker Historical Society
16740 South Park Blvd
Shaker Heights, OH 44120
‘Shaking your filthy tail’: Religious Rivalry and Shaker identity in the Early American Republic
Thursday, March 23, 2023
While to many people today, the Shakers embody homespun America, at one time they were perceived as a genuine threat to the young nation. This was so much so that Shaker communities faced repeated mob attacks. In part, the hostility was born of rivalry. During the Second Great Awakening, many new churches were competing for converts. The enmity also came from a fear of Shaker gender and family arrangements, as Shakers dissolved nuclear families and parents worried about losing their children.
Speaker Dr. Rodney Hessinger, Professor of History and Associate Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences at John Carroll University will begin this talk with the tale of a local clash between the Mormons from Kirtland and the Shakers of North Union. Then, it will narrate a larger transition in Shaker self-presentation, showing how they repackaged the memory of their founder, Mother Ann Lee, so as to keep the peace with their non-Shaker neighbors.