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Religious and Spiritual Practices of Enslaved African Americans Essay

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The Community of Enslaved Africans and their Religious & Spiritual Practices.

During a most dark and dismal time in our nations history, we find that the Africans who endured horrible circumstances during slavery, found ways of peace and hope in their religious beliefs. During slavery, Africans where able to survive unbearable conditions by focusing on their spirituality.
Christianity was amongst the slave community. Being that the vast majority of the slave community was born in America, converting slaves to Christianity was not a struggle. All slaves were not Christian, and slaves that had accepted Christianity were not official members of the church. Over time Slaves made Christianity their own. There would be occurrences where church gatherings would hold both white and black members. Slave religion was both institutional and non institutional. The slave gatherings would be both formally organized and spontaneously adapted. These gatherings would usually take place at night in the woods. Slaves enjoyed their own meetings better because they could sing and pray as they wanted. In some cases slave masters would not allow attendance of church gatherings and prayer meetings, some slaves would risk flogging to attend these meetings. Christianity was transformed into by the slave community to its own particular experience. Teachings by white masters were usually geared towards reminding slaves that on good behavior to their white masters, they would be accepted into heaven and even then , they would be limited to a lesser heaven than there owners. Jesus was not talked about, teachings consisted only of the laws to not lie or steal from their masters. Slaves would soon start to hold their own gatherings to just sing and pray a...


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.... So ultimately, owners failed at this.
Moreover, many owners later came to feel that Christianity may actually have encouraged rebellion (all those stories of Moses and the Israelites in Egypt, after all, talked about the liberation of the slaves), and so they began to discourage Christian missionaries from preaching to the slaves. African Americans have taken their own spiritual, religious journey. God was looked upon as a source of peace and encouragement. The community of enslave Africans were able to use religion and spirituality as a way of overcoming the mental anguish of slavery on a daily basis. To a slave, religion was the most important aspect of their life. Nothing could come between their relationship with god. It was their rock, the only reason why they could wake up in the morning, the only way that they endured this most turbulent time in our history.


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