The Father Divine Project


The wedding anniversary photographs from the archive of Father Divine's Peace Mission Movement, express a unique religious belief system through the vernacular of American wedding photography.

Within an iconography of conservative American values and the stylistic codes of wealth, independence and success, the photographs perform a radical act that would have been shocking to most of the public in the 1940s and the 1950s. Marriage between the races was socially taboo and in many states illegal. The photographs "visualize" the social ideal of racial harmony through the celibate 1946 marriage between Father Divine, a 65 year-old African American man, and Mother Divine,  a 21 year-old white Canadian woman. 

The religious belief that this photograph depicts, however, is not the interracial union of two human beings, but the marriage of a single human being to her "God."

*This is a work-in-progress.

Contents of this path:

  1. "Inside the Kingdom": The Evolution of the Peace Mission
  2. "Outside the Kingdom": An Historical Context
  3. "God in a Body": The Religious Roots of the Movement
  4. "A Greater Picture of ME": The Peace Mission Archive
  5. "Aren't You Glad": The Peace Mission's Expressive Culture by Dr. Leonard Norman Primiano
  6. Other Interpretive Paths
  7. About The Father Divine Project

This page has tags:

  1. introduction Craig Dietrich

This page references:

  1. Father Divine and Mother Divine (1950s)
  2. The Marriage of Father and Mother Divine