The Conflict Of Religious Exchange Between Europeans And Enslaved African Americans

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Over the past several decades scholars have struggled with the conflict of religious exchange between Europeans and enslaved African Americans. Jon Sensbach tells a remarkable story of Rebecca Protten a Caribbean descent. Born a slave in 1718, Protten had a childhood conversion experience, gained her freedom from bondage, and joined a group of German proselytizers from the Moravian Church. She embarked on a mission spreading black Christianity in the eighteenth century, and preaching to hundreds of the enslaved Africans of St. Thomas, a Danish sugar colony in the West Indies. Protten trying to insert faith into a slave society was challenging but her unique gifts and unending effort was a revolution in the African American Christian Community In Addition to Protten gaining her freedom and becoming an evangelist, in 1736, Protten met German missionary Friedrich Martin, who later became her mentor. Martin was a part of the Moravian church and had arrived to St. Thomas to preach the gospel. Protten occasionally visited Martin and his missionaries when they rented a house in St. Thomas. “She is modest, honest, and chaste before God, and has served her master and mistress with loyalty with sincerity.”(47) Martin’s quote implies that he believe Protten is an ideal spokesperson for Christ and a priestly woman of God. Protten immediately received the role helping Negro women. However trying to insert faith in African Americans was not easy. According to Sensbach, “Convincing
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