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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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Jul 30, 2016

Our Scripture verse for today is Psalm 119:93 which reads: "I will never forget thy precepts: for with them thou hast quickened me."

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 now begins to discuss statement which are frequently heard in the black church which he calls "innocent but dangerous." The first such statement is: "Anything dead needs to be buried.” Lee June says, “Devotion leaders or speakers often make this statement when they seek to ‘liven up’ the church service. Such a statement is intended to get the people more involved and outwardly expressive by ‘saying amen,’ singing, clapping, standing, shouting, and so on. This statement is innocent in the sense that the person who utters it is typically sincere and truly desires to get people involved in the worship experience and to express themselves physically. The statement, however, can be detrimental because it equates emotions with spirituality and worshiping. It is further potentially detrimental because it does not allow for the individuality or diversity of worship expressions. Some people are more reserved when it comes to emotions and still others feel deeply but do not express it outwardly. Some express themselves by meditating; others do so by crying and some by silently reflecting on and worshiping God. Such a statement also can rob, or at least interfere with, an individual who might want to quietly worship and meditate."

Our first topic for today is titled "The Slave Trade and the New World (Part 7)" from the book, "From Slavery to Freedom" by John Hope Franklin.

The Big Business of Slave Trading, continued

The Africans offered stiff resistance to their capture, sale, and transportation to the unknown New World. Hence wars broke out between tribes when the members of one sought to capture members of another to sell them to the traders.

Queen Nzinga of Matamba (Angola today) attempted to coordinate a war of resistance against the Portuguese, as did Tomba of the Baga people in what is the Republic of Guinea today. Although their resistance was effective, they were not able to forestall the slave trade.

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Our second topic for today is "The Negro Church: A Nation Within a Nation, Part 8" from The Negro Church in America by E. Franklin Frazier.

--- The Church and Education

Negroes in the cities contributed to the support of schools for Negro children. Generally, the support which the free Negroes provided was greater in southern cities like Baltimore, Washington, and Charleston, South Carolina, than in New York and Philadelphia. As early as 1790, the Brown Fellowship Society in Charleston maintained schools for the free Negro children. An important fact about the schools which the free Negroes maintained was that many of them were Sunday schools.

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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 8 of Chapter 4: "Reconstruction and Retaliation -- 1866 to 1914"

--- FRUSTRATING SECULAR CONDITIONS, Continued

Kenneth Clark described this period as the "nadir" of the Negro in American life. It came, he said, "as a seemingly abrupt and certainly cruel repudiation of the promises of Reconstruction for inclusion of the Negro into the political and economic life of the nation. This was a period when the white crusaders for racial justice and democracy became weary as the newly freed Negroes could no longer be considered a purely Southern problem; when the aspirations for and movement of the Negroes toward justice and equality were curtailed and reversed by organized violence and barbarity perpetrated against them; when as a result of abandonment and powerlessness, the frustrations; bitterness, and despair of Negroes increased and displaced optimism and hope."

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