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The History of Black Americans and the Black Church

The church and religion has played and continues to play a big role in the African-American community. Yet, many of us who grew up in the traditional black church do not have an understanding of how our faith evolved under the duress of slavery and discrimination to be and to represent what it does today. The purpose of this broadcast is to provide that background knowledge while also pointing out the dividing line between what is just tradition and true faith in Jesus Christ.
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May 29, 2015

Our Scripture verse for today is Romans 12:15 which reads: "Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep."

Our History of Black Americans and the Black Church quote for today is from Lee June, a professor at Michigan State University and the author of the book, "Yet With A Steady Beat: The Black Church through a Psychological and Biblical Lens." He said, "Christian self-actualization differs radically from humanistic self-actualization. Humanistic self-actualization occurs when an individual becomes all that one can be within the context of human standards and parameters. However, Christian self-actualization occurs when one becomes all he or she can become since the Christian's personal development is moderated by and occurs within the context of Jesus Christ and the parameters and principles of Scripture. The Christian becomes self-actualized as movement toward maturity or perfection is occurring. For believers in Christ Jesus, perfection does not mean sinless, but implies growth and movement toward maturity. Jesus, for example, indicated in Matthew 22:37-40 that for Christians the great commandment in the law is: 'Thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.' Hence, the self-actualized Christian would express love and have mature relationships on three dimensions: to God, to fellow humanity, and to self. Martin Luther King Jr. aptly suggested that to live a complete life; that is, a self-actualized life, one must be complete on all three dimensions."

In this podcast, we are using as our texts: From Slavery to Freedom, by John Hope Franklin, The Negro Church in America by E. Franklin Frazier, and The Black Church In The U.S. by William A. Banks.

Our first topic for today is titled "The African Way of Life -- Social Organization (Part 3)" from the book, "From Slavery to Freedom" by John Hope Franklin. 

It must not be assumed that people at the lower levels of the social order enjoyed no privileges or respect. All were regarded as necessary to society and were respected for what they contributed. They were accorded numerous privileges because their acknowledged skills earned for them the right to move from one place to another and entrance into groups that otherwise would have been closed to them. 

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Our second topic for today is "The Institutional Church of the Free Negroes, Part 1" from The Negro Church in America by E. Franklin Frazier. He writes:

Negroes Who Were Free Before the Civil War 

The twenty Negroes who were sold to the Virginia settlers by a Dutch man-of-war in 1619 were not slaves, since there was no precedent in English law for slavery. These Negroes and those imported later were "absorbed in a growing system (servitude based upon English apprenticeship and vagrancy laws) which spread to all the colonies and for nearly a century furnished the chief supply of colonial labor." Little is known of what became of the first twenty Negroes who were introduced into the Virginia colony. However, there is a record of the baptism of a child of one couple among them.

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Our third and final topic for today is from "The Black Church in the U.S.: Its Origin, Growth, Contributions, and Outlook" by  Dr. William A. Banks

Today we are looking at the section titled, "Early Black Churches Led by Whites, Part 2"

In the years after the Revolutionary War, determined efforts were made for real independence -- religious independence. The first distinctive Black Baptist church in America was founded at Silver Bluff, S.C., between the years 1773 and 1775. with help by a White deacon, named W. Palmer. It is known that George Liele (or Lisle) preached there. Liele was born a slave about 1750, probably in Virginia, and later taken to Georgia. 

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