Essay African Christianity

Submitted By Gcode76
Words: 1298
Pages: 6

During the early 1430’s African men, women, and children were taken from their homes and forced into servitude. These people were taken across the ocean far from their native lands and forced to work in extreme condition. These people tried to keep their African autonomy while they were forced into bondage, but they were stripped of it through force. These people had no contact back to their native lands except through others who were also taken, but after arrival in the new land these people were separated and spread throughout the new land. After arriving in the new land these African men, women, and children were stripped of their African heritage. These people had to change the way they dressed, the language they spoke, the food they ate, and most importantly their religious beliefs. Most of these African people who were taken derived from the western region of Africa were twenty percent of the people practiced Islam1. Polytheism was the predominant religious practices in this era during this time. When these African slaves arrived in America Christianity thrived throughout the land.
These African slaves were forced to give up there Islamic and polytheistic beliefs and force convert to Christianity. The conversion of the African slaves into Christianity was due to the fact that their new white American owners felt that is was their “Christian duty “to save the African souls from their heathen ways. Two of the front runners of converting slaves to Christianity were George Whitfield and Samuel Davies. Between the years of 1738 and 1770 Whitefield came to America and encouraged southern plantation owners that it was their duty to bring slaves to Christ. Whitefield also encouraged plantation owners to treat slaves in a humane way such as parent towards a child. Samuel Davies also encouraged Slave owners to bring their slaves to Christ. In London Davies lobbied for help in bring American slaves to Christ through the use of rivals.
African slaves lost contact with their native land because of the end of Slave trade in the 1807. Because of this fact, there were no African ideals entering America during that time. The White American owners felt that the Africans were heathens and they were not civilized. Slaves took on the same denomination as their masters. Some Slaves were even given the opportunity to become members of local churches. In many cases, some plantation owners even allowed local ministers to deliver the Gospel to their slaves on their plantations. Many Slaves converted to be Methodist and Baptist because of their preaching of all men are equal in the sight of God. This message gave slaves hope that one day they would be accepted as equals and set free.
Although African American slaves were forced to convert to Christianity, African Americans were able to forge their own autonomy in Christianity through time and progress. First African Americans were able to gain their own identity by combining their own African traditions with American Christianity traditions. Initially this task was never easy because the slaves were constantly under the watchful eye of their masters. Slave worshiping services became under closer watch and in many cases barred after a slave insurrection was led by a black Baptist preacher in South Hampton, Virginia by the name of Nat Turner. This one event lead African slaves to develop codes to let other slaves know when and where slave worship services would take place. These places were known as “hush harbors.’ At these “hush harbors,” slaves were able to combine Americanized Christianity and their African traditions. At these “hush harbors” slaves were able to worship through dance and song in an Africanized style.
If these salves were caught worshiping without a White minister present, they could face harsh punishment. In many instances these secret worshippers even faced death. An atestment to this fact was given to A Works Projects Administration interviewer in