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, African's where able to survive unbearable
We'll soon be free, We'll soon be free, We'll soon be free, When de Lord will call us home. For almost eight decades, enslaved African-Americans living in the Antebellum South, achieved their freedom in various ways—one being religion—before the demise of the institution of slavery. It was “freedom, rather than slavery, [that] proved
The author starts out by describing the harsh situation slaves were put in and how the black experience in America is a history of servitude and resistance, of survival in the land of death. The spirituals are the historical songs which tell us what the slaves did to hold themselves together and to fight back against their oppressors. In both Africa and America, music was directly related to daily life and was an expression of the community’s view of the world and its existence in it. The central theological concept, which is the prime religious factor, in the black spirituals is the divine liberation of the oppressed from slavery. Further, the theological assumption of black slave religion as expressed in the spirituals was that slavery contradicts God, and therefore, God will liberate black people. This factor came from the fact that many blacks believed in Jesus, and therefore, believed that He could save them from the oppression of slavery because of his death and resurrection. The fact that the theme of divine liberation was present in the slave songs is supported by three main assertions: the biblical literalism of the blacks forced them to accept the white viewpoints that implied God’s approval of slavery, the black songs were derived from white meeting songs and reflected the "white" meaning of divine liberation as freeing one from sin (not slavery), and that the spirituals do not contain "clear references to the desire for freedom". The extent of
African-American Religion It can be assumed that Christianity shaped slave culture in several ways such as developing a common bond among slaves. At the some time, it could also be argued that slavery altered Christianity in various ways including the formation of Methodist and Baptist denominations. However, these were not the only manners in which both cultures had an effect on each other. Black converts dramatically increased the number of Christians in the New World. The ideas instilled in slaves by Christianity gave some slaves thoughts of rebellion and influenced African-American music and dance. Not to mention the church was a major supporter of the proslavery argument which conveyed slavery as a positive thing during the
Both free and enslaved Africans were discriminated against in this time period but responded differently towards their challenges. African Americans found ways to cope with their situation one being religious gatherings (Doc D). They sang old traditional African songs and danced. By doing so, they can forget about life troubles for a moment and give themselves a sense of hope that someday they would by free. Some slaves where more violent than other and began rebellions against their white owners. The use of rebellion was inspired to them by the Bible and that God was pleading for their cause with earnestness and zeal (Doc G). Slaves who caused mischief was relocated deeper south where the treatment and condition was even worse. The Fugitive Slave Law forced the North to send back any slaves who escaped to the North in return for a reward. Slaves who tried to escape to the North were also relocated. By relocating them, the chances of escape decreased for them. Even
African slaves were brought to America from many tribes and they brought with them a variety of beliefs and practices. In some ways, the religion that many West Africans practiced bears a striking resemble to the practices of Christianity and Judaism. There are however several differences that make it clear that it is its own separate faith. On the plantations in America slaves were taught a “modify” version of Christianity so that they would obey their masters, and often times slaves would hold their own services. Other slaves believed in and practice what was called “conjuration” along with Christianity.
One of the main reasons masters did not want their slaves to become Christians involved the Bible. This was one reason why many plantation owners tried very hard to stop their slaves from becoming literate. If they learned to read it would become a threat to their religion. In the South, African American people were not normally allowed to go to church services. African American people in the North were actually allowed to attend church services. Drums, which were played in traditional religious ceremonies, where not allowed due to overseers scared that they would use them to encode messages.
Black Slaves and Religion One of the first things that attracted the African American slaves to Christianity was a way of obtaining the salvation of theirs souls based on the Christian’s idea of a future reward in heaven or punishment in hell, which did not exist in their primary religion. The religious principles inherited from Africa sought purely physical salvation and excluded the salvation of the soul. However, they did believe in one supreme God, which made it easier for them to assimilate Christianity.
The nineteenth century oversaw women like Harriet Jacobs and Kate Chopin developing narratives which notably resisted the customary feminist roles in the home. Each of these narratives entails a female protagonist who is looking to escape and attain freedom. With many critics debating about their source of dissatisfaction, the final resort, women refusing to conform to the role of a devoted wife, provided authoritative and subversive texts to the advice literature that was popularized at the turn of the century.
One of these points being the differences between religion and spirituality. Religion seemed to be more structured, fear-instilled, ritualistic, and institutionalized. Alternatively, spirituality seemed to be more informal, more free, open-ended, and individual. Before colonization, African Religion was more about spirituality than religion itself. It was about believing in the supreme being and believing that this supreme being is embedded within nature. God was everywhere, God was every, and most importantly, God was good. Not only was this a concrete belief, but it was also believed that African ancestors had the ability to intervene in the life of the living. Before their ancestors would pass away, important information would be passed down from them orally. This concept of orality highly contributed to the retainment of African culture during slavery. Although this is true, a sense of culture and spirituality was lost. During colonization, religion was forced upon slaves. This concept of a White supreme being acted as fuel for White people. If the supreme being was believed to be White then it was the Africans duties to cater to the White man as they were seen as kin of the supreme being. This ultimately led to the disconnect between the African people and their sense of spirituality. Today, many Black people believe that without religion there is no sense of spirituality. Not only
In African-American history, "the church" has been the center of Black communities and has been established as the greatest source for African American religious enrichment and development. The term, "the Black Church” represents many details of racial and religious lifestyles unique to Black history. By 1700, most Protestant and Catholic slave owners came to a conclusion, that if a slave had a soul, conversion to Christianity had no effect on them being a slave. Some slave owners searched for passages in the Bible that made it sound as if the Bible approved the enslavement of black men and woman. During the 1730s, the "Great Awakening" movement brought about a demand for the use of livelier music called hymns in worship service. This new
The Soul of Black Folk and Up From Slavery The turn of the 19th century was a time in American history that brought with it major economic, cultural, and political changes. The Reconstruction era and Gilded Age had ended with rising influential Jim Crow laws, which made a clear division among the American population. The publishing of Booker T. Washington's, Up from Slavery and W. E. B. Du Bois's, The Souls of Black Folk both occurred in the early 1900's when oppression of the black race in America was known internationally. The two men's novels are both persuasive writings that questioned the land they lived on. The similarities and differences in Washington and Du Bois's novels can be evident through their individual writing style,
Christianity was new to most slaves who had been abducted from their native country and taken to the Americas. Some were hesitant to abandon their old traditions for the Christ their white captors taught of, but after several generations of slavery, most black slaves had succumbed to relentless preaching. However, the Christianity that took hold within the slave community was often interpreted differently, conveying different messages to pockets of slave population. The use of Christianity in slavery was a double edged sword, creating not only a tool for control, but a weapon of discontent in slave communities. Examining the works of Richard Allen and the stories of Nat Turner, create a narrative of how Christianity was applied differently to slaves.
Long before their contact with whites, Africans were a strongly religious, and deeply spiritual people. During the early history of slavery, the African American spirituality was often seen by whites as a pagan faith. These rituals and dogmas were seen by whites as Voodoo, Hoodoo, Witchcraft, and superstitions. They often commented on these "pagan practices," and fetishes, and were threatened by them. As a result, great effort was put on eradicating these practices, and many were lost within a generation.# Although tremendous efforts was placed on eradicating the “superstitious” religious beliefs of the African slaves, they were not immediately introduced to the religion of white slave masters, Christianity. Many planters resisted the idea of converting slaves to Christianity out of a fear that baptism would change a slave's legal status. The black population was generally untouched by Christianity until the religious revivals of the 1730s and 1740s. The Bible was manipulated to support the institution of slavery and its inhumane practices. Christianity was used to suppress and conform slaves. Slaveholders, priests, and those tied to the Church undermined the beliefs of the millions of African-Americans converts.# White Christianity was used to justify the enslavement of blacks. By the early nineteenth century, slaveholders had adopted the view that Christianity would make slaves more submissive and orderly.
Slavery is a stain in the history of the United States that will always be particularly remembered for the cruelty it exhibited. Up until 1865 slaves were imported in shiploads and treated as if they were merely cattle. On the farms slaves were given no mercy and had to work