The Baptist denominational history is not unique in American Christianity. Virtually all of the major white mainline Protestant denominations split over the issue of slavery. For example, Northern and Southern Methodists parted ways in 1845, the same year as the Baptists, producing an additional spark for the tinderbox of Southern political secession. While they disagreed about slavery, both Southern and Northern Methodists agreed that black Methodists should hold a subservient place not just in society but even in Christian fellowship. Even after the southern and northern branches of Methodists reunited in 1939, they refused to integrate black Methodist churches into their existing regional jurisdictions. Instead, they segregated all black congregations into a newly created and deceptively named “Central Jurisdiction,” thereby limiting their influence in the denomination for three decades until this system was finally abolished in 1968. And while the national United Methodist denomination did considerable courageous work supporting the civil rights movement, most white Methodists in the pews rejected or simply ignored national denominational directives and actions. In the South, white Methodists were hardly distinguishable from white Baptists in continuing to promote white supremacy during the civil rights era.
From “White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity” by Robert P. Jones