Religion of former enslaved Africans after slavery ended in the United States

Religion of former enslaved Africans after slavery ended in the United States

African American Religion

The following articles expose the fact that even after slavery ended, in the United States, formerly enslaved Africans continued to observe forms of Traditional African Religion and in some cases actually reverted back to their ancestral faith.

There was a great lack of comprehension of what Traditional African Religion is by the writers. The same lack of comprehension could be said to exist today by those who do not understand or respect Traditional African Religion.

First learn about the Founding Fathers of the United States of America
This audio comes from “Codes and Conspiracies- Founding Fathers”: Season 2, Episode 4 which aired on American Heroes Channel (AHC), a network that is owned by Discovery Communications, who also owns The Discovery Channel.

Audio clip on the Founding Fathers

African Religion 1866
The article below appeared in The Daily Union and American newspaper from Nashville, Tennessee on November 16, 1866. The American Civil War ended in 1865.

By the mid 1850s, Nashville had at least five daily newspapers. The Nashville Union and American was formed in May 1853 by the merger of the Nashville American and the Nashville Union, both Democratic Party papers.

First established in 1835, the Nashville Union’s political support included state printing contracts for as long as the Democratic Party was in office. Part of its mission was to oppose Senator Hugh L. White’s efforts to succeed Andrew Jackson as president in 1836.

The Nashville Union and American resumed publication after the war in December 1865, under the name the Daily Union and American. Over the years, the newspaper underwent many changes of name and ownership. At various times, it was published as a daily, weekly, semiweekly, and triweekly.

The Daily Union and American retained this title until 1866 when it merged with the Nashville Dispatch to become the Nashville Union and Dispatch. In 1868, the newspaper joined with the Nashville Daily Gazette and reverted to the Nashville Union and American once again.

In 1875, the paper joined with the Republican Banner to form the American. The following year, it became the Daily American, and in 1894 the Nashville American. In 1910, the latter merged with the Nashville Tennessean to form the Nashville Tennessean and the Nashville American, a predecessor of Nashville’s present-day largest newspaper, the Tennessean.

Source: Library of Congress via University of Tennessee
African Religion 1866

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African Religion 1866 part 1

African Religion 1866 part 2

African Religion 1866 part 3

African Religion 1866 part 4

African Religion 1866 part 5
African Religion 1868

“The Religious Instruction of the Negroes In the United States”
By Charles Colcock Jones

The Religious Instruction of the Negroes In the United States

Page 172
Because of their moral degradation
This has been in a measure demonstrated. The statements already made need not be repeated. They are a proper field for missionary effort; and have been to a great extent, very strangely overlooked. Such a mass of ignorance and vice can in no way be desirable in any community, whether we view them in a civil or religious light. Their corrupting influence in cities, where they chiefly congregate, has never been inquired into, nor duly appreciated.

Because of their entire dependence upon the whites for their every improvement
They have almost no spirit of moral improvement among themselves; it is not to be expected from them considering their character and circumstances. They have no men of influence, no leaders of their own color, who are able to sway the people; to project and execute plans for their general religious improvement. Nor have they societies of their own for the purpose. The truth is, they do not look to themselves; they do not depend upon themselves. They look up to and depend upon the whites.

The feeling of subjection and dependence which they had in a state of slavery, is hereditary and is kept alive by the frequent accession of Negroes, escaped from servitude or set free. Then the vast superiority of the whites in point of numbers, intelligence, morality, and station, cherish it. Hence the efforts of the whites for their benefit are received with special favor and relied upon. At least it was so in times past. They have of late years been taught to distinguish between friendly and hostile whites; and they have been inflated with high notions of their perfect equality with the whites in wisdom, standing, rights, and importance.

Page 173
The effect has been, and it should not be deemed extraordinary, that they have become rather heady and high-minded; some of their friends have not been able to do them the good that they wished; and others disgusted, have ceased to feel and to act for them. Whether they will be ultimately benefited by this increase of knowledge and sense of importance, remains to be seen.

Page 177
The general preaching to the whites will not answer the purpose. The Negroes require preaching specially adapted to them. It is true they are received into, and are under the watch and care of, white churches; but that fact does not prove that they are properly enlightened, and are continued under courses of instruction, so that they go on unto perfection. In hundreds of instances the very reverse is the fact; their ignorance, superstition, and deception are complained of. Their piety is taken upon trust; and the numerous and perplexing cases of discipline for gross immoralities sufficiently prove that the complaints uttered against them are well founded. A man must not stand on the outside of a church and judge of the church character and standing of these people, he must go within.

The Sabbath schools for their exclusive benefit, taking the entire population, need scarcely be named. Their plantation meetings serve to keep alive religion among them, but contribute little to the increase of their intelligence; while there are hundreds of plantations where there are no such meetings at all, there being few or no church members to conduct them.

We have colored ministers and exhorters, but their numbers are wholly inadequate to the supply of the Negroes; and while their ministrations are infrequent and conducted in great weakness, there are some of them whose moral character is justly suspected and who may be considered blind leaders of the blind.

Page 178
The Negroes are incapable of receiving religious instruction, except to a very limited extent.

From the manner in which their religious instruction is neglected, it would appear that their incapacity is taken for granted. Appealing to our own experience in their instruction, we should judge the objection to be a mistake. They are capable, even under oral instruction, and that not enjoyed in any high degree of perfection, of making very considerable advances in religious knowledge.

But if they are capable of receiving instruction sufficient to make plain to them the way of salvation, then their capacities should be filled to overflowing, to that extent. In all reason and conscience deny it not to them, for it is their everlasting life. The mind of man is created so as to admit of eternal expansion and progression in knowledge and holiness.

The good work which is done for them in time will be carried forward unto perfection in eternity. But to pursue the excuse a step further. It is customary with many to entertain low opinions of the intellectual capacity of the Negroes. Whether this be right or wrong we leave every man to judge for himself after a due investigation of the subject; and to judge, likewise, whether their mental weakness is to be attributed to the circumstances of their condition, or to any difference as made by the Author of their existence between them and other men. If God has made such a difference, it cannot be proved to be any impeachment.

Page 210
The religious instruction of the Negroes will contribute to safety
“The thing that hath been it is that which may be;” and although, as a slave holding country, we are so situated, that, so far as man can see, the hope of success on the part of our laboring class, in any attempt at revolution is forlorn, yet no enemy (if there be an enemy) should be despised, however weak, and no danger unprovided for, however apparently remote.

Success may not indeed crown any attempt, but much suffering may be the consequence both on the one part and on the other. It is then but a prudent foresight, a dictate of benevolence and of wisdom, to originate and set in operation means that may act as a check upon, if not a perfect preventive of evil.

I am a firm believer in the efficacy of sound religious instruction, as a means to the end desired. And reasons may be given for that belief. They are to be discovered in the very nature and tendency of the Gospel. Its nature is peace, in the broadest and fullest extent of the word.

Page 212
Besides the general and special influences of the Gospel now adverted to, safety will be connected with the very dispensation of it, in two particulars, which I would not omit to mention. The first is:–The very effort of masters to instruct their people, creates a strong bond of union and draws out their kindly feelings to their masters: kindness produces kindness: love begets its own likeness.

The presence also of white instructors, settled ministers or missionaries, in their private as well as public religious assemblies and free intercourse with the people and with their influential men and leaders, exert a restraining influence upon any spirit of insubordination that may exist, and at the same time give opportunities for its detection. The Negroes are as capable of strong personal attachments to their religious instructors as are any other people; and of their own will are inclined to make confidential communications.

The second particular is, that the Gospel being dispensed in its purity, the Negroes will be disabused of their ignorance and superstition, and thus be placed beyond the reach of designing men. The direct way of exposing them to acts of insubordination is to leave them in ignorance and superstition, to the care of their own religion.

Then may the blind lead the blind, and both shall fall into the ditch: then may they be made the easy and willing instruments of avarice, of lust, of power or of revenge. Ignorance–religious ignorance–so far from being any safety, is the very marrow of our sin against this people, and the very rock of our danger. Religion and religious teachers they must and will have, and if they are not furnished with the true they will embrace the false. And what, I would add, is the language of facts on the point under our notice.

The Dual Mandate in British Tropical Africa
Libria 1893
Traditional African Religion in Africa and the Christianization process of the people of Africa 1893
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African Religion- Libria 1893
African Religion- 1887
The people of Africa

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African Religion- 1887

African Religion-1887
African Religion- 1932
Voudou 1932
African Religion 1997

Slayton House Annapolis Maryland


Christianity in Africa

1956 Nigeria- First Christian Mission arrived in 1846
Christians in Nigeria 1956
Note: Calabar, formerly Old Calabar, town and port, capital of Cross River state, southeastern Nigeria.
By the mid-1800s, after the waning of the slave trade, Old Calabar’s economy had become based on the export of palm oil and palm kernels. It became a British protection in 1884, the town, which was called Old Calabar until 1904, served as capital of the Oil Rivers Protectorate (1885–1893), the Niger Coast Protectorate (1893–1900), and Southern Nigeria (1900–1906) until the British administrative headquarters were moved to Lagos. It remained an important port (shipping ivory, timber, and beeswax, as well as palm produce) until it was eclipsed by Port Harcourt, terminus (1916) of the railroad, 90 miles (145 km) west.

1960 Africans rejecting Christianity with the rise of nationalism
Christians Africa 1960
1961 The aggressive push to convert Africans into Christians
Christian Missionaries in Africa 1961
Christian Missionaries in Africa 1967
Video: Traditional African Religion and Culture

Video: Traditional African Religion and Culture part 2


See related articles:
History Flashback: The Dual Mandate in British Tropical Africa

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