The Roles of Black Fraternal Organizations and Churches; the Development and Shaping of 18th Century Black Communities in Early North American Colonies

Chapter 2 Essay Question

The Roles of Black Fraternal Organizations and Churches; The Development and Shaping of 18th Century Black Communities in early North American Colonies

Ethnic Studies

In the early 17th century, religion was based on very different principles and concepts than that of today. During this time the African American religious culture was born in the suffering of American slavery.   This system not only ruptured direct connections to the African’s history, culture, and religious community, but also set the context for the rise of a new transformation of a religious system. Within this time Europeans routinely justified the enslavement of Africans in religious terms; arguing that they were bringing “heathens” under the influence of Christianity. The institution of slavery was then committed to the notion of the inferiority of Africans so much so that many slaveholders deployed the biblical story of Noah’s curse on Ham; which Europeans interpreted as those with a black complexion will be set to a life of servitude to their fair and white complexion counterparts. Which then promoted a view that bondage was God’s will for people of African descent and that the Christian scriptures enjoined them to be obedient to their masters above all else .
Religion provided resources for forceful public critique of the institution that enslaved and sought to dehumanize African Americans in the new republic. But even through the adversity of being brainwashed into these beliefs, this sort of theological framework did not appeal to the majority of enslaved African Americans in colonial America. With the Great Awakening beginning in the 1740s, it set the context for the adaptation of enslaved African Americans to draw theological resources for the development of African American Christianity. Large numbers of slaves found the biblical message of spiritual equality before God appealing and found comfort in the biblical theme of deliverance....