While religious diversity is often considered a relatively recent phenomenon in America, the Cape Fear region of North Carolina has been a diverse community since the area was first settled. The Cape Fear River and the port city of Wilmington were more urban than the rest of the state; thus the region provided people with opportunities seldom found in other parts of North Carolina. These opportunities drew residents from many ethnic backgrounds, and the residents brought their religious traditions with them. In ""A Coat of Many Colors"", Walter H. Conser Jr. explores how religious and racial diversity in the Cape Fear region have functioned as a microcosm for the South and examines the ways in which religion can affect such diverse aspects of life as architecture and race relations.
Walter H. Conser Jr., professor of religious studies and history at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, is the author of several books, including God and the Natural World: Religion and Science in Antebellum America.