Ronald Rabidou

M.A., University at Albany
M.B.A., University of Massachusetts
B.A., University of Massachusetts

My dissertation, Churches on Fire: Race, Religion, and Government in 1990s America, examines a wave of arsons targeting places of worship across America during the last half of the 1990s, many of them African American churches. In exploring the complexities of the attacks, my work provides a revealing view of matters involving race, religion, and government during the period. I argue that attitudes of blacks and whites concerning the fires reflected a greater diversity than previously understood. Religion played a key role in shaping public response to the church burnings. And government emerged as an effective force in investigating the arsons, prosecuting arsonists, helping rebuild churches, reconciling communities, and preventing future fires.