History is not only for the old. Two young historians engaged in cutting-edge research presented their findings beginning on Monday, June 3, at the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society. Those unable to attend can watch a recording of the evening below.

Alex Loganbill presented “A New Responsibility: The Awakening of the Mennonite Social Conscience During the Civil Rights Era, 1950-1965.” In 1950, Mennonites gathered at a historic conference in Winona Lake, Indiana, to attempt to square contemporary Christian social ethics with their own two-kingdom theology in a post-war America. These commitments were promptly tested when the Civil Rights Movement thrust racial injustice to the forefront of the American consciousness. Amidst this turmoil, Mennonites were forced to face the largely-ignored reality of racism within the church, and find their place in American society as advocates of Christian ethics and peacemaking. Mennonite leaders and laity alike encouraged each other to fulfill their newfound responsibilities to the state and to society.

Ashley King presented “Peace and Prisons: Quaker Efforts in Addressing Penal Affairs in Northern Ireland 1971-1989.” She will examine the activities of Quaker organizations in Northern Ireland in their efforts to address issues of penal affairs during the Northern Irish Troubles (1971-1989). The paper analyzes how the Quakers understood their actions related to penal affairs by looking at how they justified their actions from a Quaker theological understanding of “God in All,” pacifism, and reconciliation.

The annual Young Historian Spotlight is a collaboration of Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society, Mennonite Church USA Archives, the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College, and the Sider Institute for Anabaptist, Pietist, and Wesleyan Studies at Messiah College.