Clarence Jordan (1912-1969)
Clarence Leonard Jordan, the seventh of ten children who survived infancy, was born to Maude Josey and James Weaver Jordan on July 29, 1912, in Talbotton. One of his brothers, Robert H. Jordan, served as a justice on the Supreme Court of Georgia and as chief justice from 1980 to 1982.
In 1933 Jordan earned a B.S. degree in agriculture from the University of Georgia, where he was editor of the Georgia Agriculturist and state president of the Baptist Student Union. Responding to a call by
Jordan later cited childhood events as his first experiences of the economic disparity and racial animosity between black people and white people. As a college student, he attended national YMCA conferences that deepened his sense that the Christian Gospel and prevailing cultural traditions regarding race were incompatible. His theological and biblical study as a seminarian convinced him that God regarded all people as equals and intended for humankind to do the same.
Jordan decided to incorporate his agricultural training into his ministry and established Koinonia Farm as a Christian community in which members pooled their resources into a common treasury and treated all persons as equals, regardless of race or class. Koinonia taught local farmers, black and white,
Jordan led Koinonia
Jordan died of a heart attack on October 29, 1969, while working at Koinonia on a Cotton Patch translation. Florence Jordan died of cancer at Koinonia on June 17, 1987, and both are buried at Koinonia.
Andrew S. Chancey, "Race, Religion, and Reform: Koinonia's Challenge to Southern Society, 1942-1992" (Ph.D. diss., University of Florida, 1998).
Clarence Jordan, The Substance of Faith and Other Cotton Patch Sermons by Clarence Jordan, ed. Dallas Lee (New York: Association Press, 1972).
Tracy E. K'Meyer, Interracialism and Christian Community in the Postwar South: The Story of Koinonia Farm (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1997).
Dallas Lee, The Cotton Patch Evidence: The Story of Clarence Jordan and the Koinonia Farm Experiment (New York: Harper and Row, 1971).
P. Joel Snider, The "Cotton Patch" Gospel: The Proclamation of Clarence Jordan (Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1985).
David S. Williams, From Mounds to Megachurches: Georgia's Religious Heritage (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2008).
Andrew S. Chancey, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities
A project of the Georgia Humanities Council, in partnership with the University of Georgia Press, the University System of Georgia/GALILEO, and the Office of the Governor.