[N.p.]: 1932. Broadside, 9 x 6.25 inches. Minor wear. Near fine. Item #732
Father Divine was the most prominent black religious cult leader of the 1930s, believed to be a divine messenger, the messiah, or God himself by tens of thousands of African-Americans and middle-class whites during the Great Depression. In November 1931, Divine and seventy-eight of his followers were arrested for disturbing the peace at the Reverend’s property in Sayville, New York, on the south shore of Long Island. Father Divine was tried and found guilty in June 1932. The judge -- who, interestingly, died of a heart attack just days later, speaking to Divine’s followers of heavenly retribution -- called him a fraud and a “menace to society,” handing down the maximum sentence of a year in prison. He actually spent only a few weeks in jail before his lawyers secured his release on appeal. This leaflet was probably issued during those weeks at one of the many support rallies held on his behalf throughout the country. When freed, Father Divine moved to Harlem where his “Peace Mission” of social and economic betterment acquired international acclaim.