From Bible Belt to Sun Belt tells the dramatic and largely unknown story of “plain-folk” religious migrants: hardworking men and women from Oklahoma
, Texas, and Arkansas
who fled the Depression and came to California for military jobs during World War II. Investigating this fiercely pious community at a grassroots level, Darren Dochuk uses the stories of religious leaders, including Billy Graham
, as well as many colorful, lesser-known figures to explain how evangelicals
organized a powerful political machine. This machine made its mark with Barry Goldwater, inspired Richard Nixon’s “Southern Solution,” and achieved its greatest triumph for the conservative movement with the victories of Ronald Reagan.
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Okllahoma was Indian Territory before white settlement and still has one of the largest concentration of Native Americans in the nation. Arkansas was part of the territory acquired by the United States through the Louisiana Purchase and was a border state that joined the Confederacy during the Civil War.