This paper elaborates on the diverse contributions peoples of African descent have made to the pluralistic religious landscape of America and replicates various passages from our textbook. It focuses on the personal narratives of non-religious to religious leaders—exemplifying their influence on the African American religious movement during slavery and the reconstruction of America. Each section represents different historical periods, regional variations, and non-Christian expressions of African-American religion.
From Africa through Early America
Olaudah Equiano, Traditional Ibo Religion and Culture
During 1766, Olaudah Equiano learnt to read the bible and seen amazement at the exact laws and rules his country, Nigeria, have always abided by. After becoming baptized, Equiano identified himself with the Christian abolitionists in England and began to write his first autobiography about Ibo religion. Equiano elaborates on how Christianity correlates with the African descent and its culture. In his passage, he describes the similarities between the Jews and the Africans—from circumcision to offerings, from purifications to washings, from believing in one Creator to life after death.
Jupiter Hammon, Address to the Negroes in the State of New York
Jupiter Hammon was a distinct minority in the African-American community and was the first black to write and publish poetry. His personality was profoundly religious and conservative, unlike other slaves. Hammon studied the bible and preached to slaves—while teaching the sublimation of spiritual freedom for physical freedom. During 1786, New York City, Hammon addressed members of the African Society—asking slaves to submit themselves to their masters. Hammon conce...
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...ement effect was a religious crusade as much as a social and political campaign.
The second edition of “African American Religious History: A Documentary Witness,” covers the religious experiences of African Americans—from the late eighteenth century until the early 1980s. My paper is written in a chronological order to reflect on the progress blacks have made during the years—by expounding on the earliest religion of Africans to black religion of today. Race Relation and Religion plays a major role in today’s society—history is present in all that we do and it is to history that African-Americans have its identity and aspiration.
This course has broaden my knowledge of the religious history of African Americans and enables me to gain greater appreciation for the black churches.
African American Religious History: A Documentary Witness
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