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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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Nov 12, 2015

Our Scripture verse for today is Colossians 1:9 which reads: "For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding."

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, "Although what is called the ‘Black Church’ is still the most powerful institution within the Black community, there is a need for some midcourse corrections. Though there are many encouraging signs, the dangers are there also. Our challenge in the years ahead is to continue to maximize the resources that will advance Christ's church as a whole."

Our first topic for today is titled "The New World Experience" from the book, "From Slavery to Freedom" by John Hope Franklin.

As Van Sertima has ably pointed out in his book, They Came Before Columbus, peoples of African descent arrived in the United States before Christopher Columbus allegedly discovered America. It should also be noted that there were Africans who were on the same ship with Columbus during his exploration. The fact remains, however, that most African Americans arrived in the United States as slaves, and a few arrived as indentured laborers.

In the early 1400s, the Portuguese began to make their way along the west coast of Africa. It was Portugal that led Europe in its search for an all-water route to the East—India, China, and the East Indies.

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Our second topic for today is "The Institutional Church of the Free Negroes, Part 7" from The Negro Church in America by E. Franklin Frazier. He writes:

The Free Negroes Establish Their Own Churches

After Richard Allen and Absalom Jones organized the Free African Society, they differed as to whether Negroes should model their church organization after the Methodist or after the Protestant Episcopal Church. Allen was of the opinion that the Methodist form of worship was more suited to the religious needs and form of worship to which the Negroes had become accustomed. As a consequence of this difference between Jones and Allen, Jones organized the African Protestant Episcopal Church of St. Thomas but the majority of the Negroes who had seceded from the white church followed Allen.

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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 continuing with part 4 of Chapter 3: "Reaction -- 1820 to 1865"

NEW TESTAMENT SCRIPTURES AND SLAVERY

Not only were scriptures cited in an attempt to support the belief that Negroes were cursed, but they were used to support the very institution of slavery itself. These passages include Ephesians 6:5-9, Colossians 3:22-25; 1 Timothy 6:1-2; Titus 2:9-10; 1 Peter 2:18-19; and Philemon.

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