AFRICAN AMERICAN CURRENT RELIGION
Religion in Black America refers to the religious and spiritual practices of blacks and people of African descent in the United States
Religion in Black America refers to the religious and spiritual practices of blacks and people of African descent in the United States. Historians generally agree that the religious life of Black Americans "forms the foundation of their community life." Before 1775 there was scattered evidence of organized religion among blacks in the American colonies. The Methodist and Baptist churches became much more active in the 1780s, and growth was quite rapid for the next 150 years until they covered a majority of the people.
After Emancipation in 1863, Freedmen organized their own churches, chiefly Baptist, followed by Methodists. Other Protestant denominations, and Catholics, played smaller roles. By 1900 the Pentecostal and Holiness movements were important, and later the Jehovah Witnesses. The Nation of Islam added a Muslim factor in the 20th century. Powerful pastors often played prominent roles in politics, as typified by Martin Luther King, Jr., the leader of the African-American Civil Rights Movement, and numerous others.
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Christianity of the Black population was grounded in evangelicalism
The Second Great Awakening (1800–20s) has been called the "central and defining event in the development of Afro-Christianity
Scholars disagree about the extent of the native African content of Black Christianity as it emerged in 18th-century America, but there is no dispute that the Christianity of the Black population was grounded in evangelicalism.
Central to the growth of community among blacks was the Black church, usually the first community institution to be established. Starting around 1800 with the African Methodist Episcopal Church, African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church and other churches, the Black church grew to be the focal point of the Black community.
The Black church- was both an expression of community and unique African-American spirituality, and a reaction to discrimination.
The church also served as neighborhood centers where free black people could celebrate their African heritage without intrusion by white detractors. The church also the center of education. Since the church was part of the community and wanted to provide education; they educated the freed and enslaved Blacks. Seeking autonomy, some blacks like Richard Allen (bishop) founded separate Black denominations.
The Second Great Awakening (1800–20s) has been called the "central and defining event in the development of Afro-Christianity."
Free blacks also established Black churches in the South before 1860. After the Great Awakening, many blacks joined the Baptist Church, which allowed for their participation, including roles as elders and preachers. For instance, First Baptist Church and Gillfield Baptist Church of Petersburg, Virginia, both had organized congregations by 1800 and were the first Baptist churches in the city.