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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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Mar 20, 2015

Our Scripture verse for today is Romans 15:13 which reads: "Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost."

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, "Mother, in the Bible, generally refers to a female parent. Within many Black churches, however, 'mother' takes on an additional meaning and refers to older women who have been faithful to the congregation and who have typically served for a number of years with distinction. Thus, 'mother' has become a title of endearment, distinction, and special honor. Within the church, the term 'Father' does not have a similar meaning beyond a parent as does the designation 'mother.' However, in the New Testament, both Jesus and the New Testament writers refer to God as Father. While the use of 'Father' in reference to God is biblically sanctioned, the use of the term currently with Black churches has raised some concerns. That is, some have wondered whether this may be one of the reasons why some Black males have trouble identifying with God as a loving Father, given the estrangement of many Black males from their biological fathers. This is a concern worth attending to, but the solution to this concern is not to stop using the term in reference to God; rather this must become a sensitivity factor and has implications for how we teach and reach out to youths, both male and female."

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. If you enjoy this podcast, please feel free to purchase any one of these books from our website, HistoryBABC.com.

Our first topic for today is a continuation of our look at the earliest African states from the book, "From Slavery to Freedom" by John Hope Franklin. We are going to look at the Empire of the Congo.

The absence of substantial physical barriers in some areas south of the equator made possible the continuous infiltration of migratory tribes, which hampered political stability. The lands of the Bantu, San, Khoikhoi, and Pygmies certainly had some political organizations, and there is considerable anthropological and archaeological evidence to sustain the view that in some areas there existed rather advanced cultures. But it is clear that none of them reached the size or influence of West African states such as Mali and Songhay...

Our second topic for today is "Christianity: A New Orientation Toward Existence, Part 3" from The Negro Church in America by E. Franklin Frazier. He writes:

The Bible was the means by which the Negroes acquired a new theology. As we have noted, the Negroes who were brought to the New World undoubtedly carried memories of their gods. These memories were lost or forgotten and there was a determined effort on the part of the whites to prevent any resurgence of African religion. It was from the Bible that the slaves learned of the God of the white man and of his ways with the world and with men...

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

COMPARISON OF AFRICAN SLAVES WITH EUROPEAN IMMIGRANTS 

Memories of Africa were erased. Family ties were destroyed. To safeguard against rebellion, members of the same tribe were separated, for without a common language there would be less chance of revolt. For economic reasons families were split up: a father sold to North Carolina, a mother and baby sent to Georgia, an older child delivered to a plantation owner in Virginia—never again to see one another. Within Africa, polygamous marriages were legal and ceremonies were performed, but for the American slave these were practically non-existent. Instead, for the most part, there was promiscuity. The tremendous deleterious effect this had on Black family life is still felt today. Slaves faced a different climate, a new environment, and an unknown tongue. The uprooting, fear, and cruelty they experienced made their lives miserable...

 

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