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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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Jun 27, 2016
Our Scripture verse for today is Luke 9:23-24 which reads: "And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it."
 
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, "There is found in some songs a deep religious, psychological, emotional, spiritual, and theological significance. The songs sung in 'Black churches' often speak of a brighter day, assurance, hope, being on the battlefield, heaven, victory, and the power of God. Many observers of religion and gospel singing will admit that few sing with such creativity, melody, fervor, and emotion as Black people."
 
Our first topic for today is titled "The Slave Trade and the New World (Part 4)" from the book, "From Slavery to Freedom" by John Hope Franklin.
 
The Big Business of Slave Trading
 
When in 1517 Bishop Bartolomeo de Las Casas advocated the encouragement of immigration to the New World by permitting Spaniards to import African slaves, the trading of humans in the New World formally began. Las Casas was so determined to relieve Indians of the onerous burden of slavery that he recommended the slavery of Africans. (Later, he so deeply regretted having taken this position that he vigorously renounced it.) The ban against the use of Africans was removed, and Charles II issued licenses to several Flemish traders to take Africans to the Spanish colonies. Monopoly of the trade went to the highest bidders.
 
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Our second topic for today is "The Negro Church: A Nation Within a Nation, Part 4" from The Negro Church in America by E. Franklin Frazier. He writes:
 
--- The Church as an Agency of Social Control, Part 1
 
In dealing with the Negro church as an agency of control we shall focus attention upon the relation of the church to the Negro family and sex life during the years following Emancipation. In order to understand the important role of the Negro church, it is necessary to have a clear conception of the situation which confronted organized religion. Under slavery, the Negro family was essentially an amorphous group gathered around the mother or some female on the plantation. The father was a visitor to the household without any legal or recognized status in family relations. He might disappear as the result of the sale of slaves or because of a whimsical change of his own feelings or affection.
 
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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 part 4 of Chapter 4: "Reconstruction and Retaliation -- 1866 to 1914"
 
--- THE METHODISTS
 
The whites blamed the Denmark Vesey rebellion in South Carolina in 1822 upon the black Methodists and this hindered the denomination's expansion in the South. Then, too, the itinerant ministry with traveling officers was simply an impossibility for Negroes, whether bond or free. However, with Emancipation they were free to move about and evangelize.  Consequently, after the Civil War, many Negro Methodist assemblies came into existence and all grew very rapidly.
 
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