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The History of Black Americans and the Black Church

As many of you know, 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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Slavery in Mainland Latin America, Part 9; Negro Cults in the City, Part 1; Radicalism: 1915 – 1953, Part 8 (The History of Black Americans and the Black Church #65)

Welcome to episode #65 of the The History of Black Americans and the Black Church podcast.

Our Scripture Verse for today is Matthew 18:20 which reads: “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

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 writes, “One of the major contributions of community psychology to the counseling field is the conceptualization of various approaches to prevention and intervention. These are: Primary prevention/systems intervention. This approach rests on the belief that problems or issues are often the result of the way systems operate, policies are implemented, structures are put in place, etc. The assumption is that in order to eliminate or treat the problem one must make an intervention at the systems level; that is, at the level of institutions, policies, and structures. This is the approach that Dr. Willie Richardson basically takes in the book Reclaiming the Urban Family—How to Mobilize the Church as a Family Training Center.”

In this podcast, we are using as our texts: From Slavery to Freedom, by John Hope Franklin, The Negro Church in America by E. Franklin Frazier, and The Black Church In The U.S. by William A. Banks.

Our first topic for today is titled “Slavery in Mainland Latin America, Part 9” from the book, “From Slavery to Freedom” by John Hope Franklin.

While slaves in Brazil and elsewhere were a source of profit, they were also a source of constant trouble. Living in small, crowded huts and subsisting on coarse fare, they frequently became restive and sought to break the chains of slavery. In 1550 the slaves of Santa Marta [SAN-TA MAR-TAH], Colombia, committed great atrocities and burned the city. Five years later an African calling himself king led a violent insurrection that was subdued only by strenuous exertions of the authorities. One of the most desperate bids for freedom in the New World occurred in Brazil in the seventeenth century. It was the establishment of the Republic of Palmares [PAL-MAHR-ES], an African state in Alagoas [AH-LAH-GO-AHS] in northeastern Brazil, between 1630 and 1697. Fleeing the towns and plantations between Bahia [BAH-HEE-AH] and Pernambuco [PEHR-NAM-BOO-KUH], runaway slaves penetrated the heavy forests and settled rustic communities in the Rio Mundahu valley. Despite sieges laid by the Portuguese and by the Dutch, who were attempting to occupy that portion of Brazil in 1644, these Maroons held out until 1697, when the superior forces of the Portuguese soldiers entered the walled city of Palmares [PAL-MAHR-ES]3. Refusing to surrender, the leader and his principal assistants hurled themselves to certain death from the rocky promontory overlooking the city. Although the other insurrections and Maroon communities established in Spanish and Portuguese America perhaps never equaled Palmares, many of them were greater than any that slaves undertook in British America.

Several factors distinguished slavery in Latin America from that institution in British America. One such factor was the relatively small number of Spaniards and Portuguese in their colonies as compared to the considerable numbers of Britons in the English colonies. It was not at all unusual for slaves to outnumber by a large margin their Spanish and Portuguese owners and officials who frequently had little or no family with them and who were, all too often, infrequent visitors to their New World domains. Such a disproportionate number of blacks facilitated the many more successful insurrections and Maroon communities that arose in Latin America than arose in British America. Perhaps it also had something to do with the strict slave codes which were introduced into Latin America earlier than in British America.

If the Lord tarries His Coming and we live, we will continue looking at this topic in our next episode.

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Our second topic for today is “Negro Religion in the City, Part 14: Negro Cults in the City, Part 1” from “The Negro Church in America” by E. Franklin Frazier.

The cults which have developed among Negroes represent something new in the religious life of Negroes. They are sometimes not differentiated from the traditional religious groups which meet in abandoned stores and houses because the cults often meet in the same type of buildings. In most of the ‘store-front’ churches the Negro maintains his traditional beliefs and conceptions of God and the world and himself. On the other hand, in the new cults which flourish in the cities, Negroes have abandoned their traditional notions about God and the world and, what is of crucial importance, their conceptions of themselves. An attempt has been made to classify the different types of cults from the standpoint of such features as faith healing or holiness or whether they claim an Islamic origin, but there is much overlapping. Moreover, while all these cults represent ‘New Gods of the City’, there is an important difference between those which seek to restore a purer form of Christianity or sanctification and holiness and those which tend to be secular in outlook and represent primarily a complete transformation of the Negro as a race. Of course, in some of those cults in which the Negro escapes from his racial identity, there may be faith healing and sanctification but these are subordinate to the main orientation of the cults.

If the Lord tarries His Coming and we live, we will continue looking at this topic in our next episode.

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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 looking at part 8 of Chapter 5: “Radicalism: 1915 – 1953”

Some men who organized storefronts did so out of their own vanity and the desire to be leaders. Conflict of leadership within the established denominations also help increase the number of such churches. But it is also true that some leaders desire to be used by the Lord Jesus Christ to win souls unto Him and nourish those souls in God’s Word. Some men have obviously been led of the Spirit of God to found such assemblies.God has blessed their efforts. Blacks who criticize storefronts often ask, “Why are there so many of them? Look! Four in one block. Why don’t they get together?” They often refer to poorly trained ministers as “jacklegs.”

Whatever the motivations and reasons for their existence, and in spite of the criticisms, the storefronts serve a good purpose. As Frazier remarks, it is irrelevant in a sense and useless to try to answer the question, “Are we overchurched?” For many Blacks in the North and South, the storefront represented a haven from the cruel White world and afforded the only true fellowship and social life they had. This is not to overlook the fact that where the Word of God is faithfully preached and taught, sinners are saved and the saved sinners are edified.

If the Lord tarries His Coming and we live, we will continue looking at this topic in our next episode.

Let’s have a word of prayer.

In closing, allow me to say that like many of you, I grew up in a very religious and church-going family, and during that time, I often heard the phrase “Being Saved.” Now, much of what the church people whom I grew up around said “being saved” was I now know is wrong according to the Bible. For example, joining the church, being baptized, doing good things, or being a good person does not mean you are saved. I wrote an article about this matter titled “On ‘Being Saved’ in Black America” which is available for you to read free of charge on our website, gospellightsociety.com. Right now, I want to share with you very briefly what the Bible says “being saved” really is.

First, understand that you need to be saved because you are a sinner. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, understand that a horrible punishment eternal Hell awaits those who are not saved. In Matthew 25:41, Jesus Christ said that God will say to those who are not saved, “depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

Third, realize that God loves you very much and wants to save you from Hell. John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

If you want to be saved from Hell and be guaranteed a home in Heaven, simply believe in Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose from the dead for your sins, and then call upon the Lord in prayer and ask Him to save your soul. And believe me, He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

If you do that today, then you can truly sing in the words of the Old Negro spiritual: Free at last, Free at last, Thank God Almighty I’m free at last.

Until next time, may God richly bless you.

Slavery in Mainland Latin America, Part 8; Negro Religion in the City, Part 13; Radicalism: 1915 – 1953, Part 7 (The History of Black Americans and the Black Church #64)

Welcome to episode #64 of the The History of Black Americans and the Black Church podcast.

Our Scripture Verse for today is Psalm 119:30 which reads: “I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me.”

Our History of Black Americans and the Black Church quote for today is from John M. Perkins. He said, “Yielding to God’s will can be hard. And sometimes, it really hurts. But it always brings peace.”

In this podcast, we are using as our texts: From Slavery to Freedom, by John Hope Franklin, The Negro Church in America by E. Franklin Frazier, and The Black Church In The U.S. by William A. Banks.

Our first topic for today is titled “Slavery in Mainland Latin America, Part 8” from the book, “From Slavery to Freedom” by John Hope Franklin.

The vast majority of blacks—perhaps five-sixths—were always employed on the great sugar, coffee, cotton, and cacao plantations. These farm workers fared the worst in Brazil. They worked from sunrise to sunset and were supervised for the most part by stewards who, with whips in their hands, threatened, intimidated, and tortured them into performing their work. As in the Spanish colonies, there were laws that sought to protect slaves from cruel masters and overseers, but because such statutes were extremely difficult to enforce, they did not provide much help. The invention of instruments of torture must have taxed the ingenuity of those in command. There was the tronco [tron-ko], constructed of wood or iron, by which the slave’s ankles were fastened in one place for several days; the libambo [leh-bam-bo] did the same thing to the arms. Novenas [no-vee-nahs] and trezenas [treh-zee-nah] were devices by which a slave was tied, face down, and beaten for nine or thirteen consecutive nights.

There were some mitigating features of Brazil’s institution of slavery. Since there was no law against teaching slaves to read and write, many of them became proficient in the use of language. The law required that slaves be baptized within at least one year after their arrival in the country. After this rite was performed, they were expected to attend mass and confession regularly. In addition, the manumission of slaves was actually encouraged in Brazil. Faithful nurses were often set free. There was a general custom
that after a slave mother had given birth to ten children she was to be set free. The clergy urged pious communicants to manumit their slaves at death if not sooner. There are perhaps no records of an owner’s refusal to emancipate a slave who was able to purchase his or her freedom. Finally, there is the general view that in the colonial period Brazilians felt little, if any, race prejudice. Blacks were given many opportunities for advancement, and free blacks theoretically enjoyed the same rights and privileges before the law that whites did.

If the Lord tarries His Coming and we live, we will continue looking at this topic in our next episode.

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Our second topic for today is “Negro Religion in the City, Part 13: Religion in the ‘Storefront’ Church, Part 4” from “The Negro Church in America” by E. Franklin Frazier.

The large number of churches in Negro communities in the North as well as in the South has raised the question as to whether the Negro population is over-churched. There is no way of answering this question and it is irrelevant in a sense when one considers the important role of the Negro church in the organization of the Negro community. The vast majority of Negroes have constituted a lower class, gaining a living as common labourers and in domestic and personal service. Among these people there is little associational life and the churches of all types represent, as we have seen, the main form of organized social life. Even when Negroes have broken away from the traditional churches they have sought in new religious groups a way of life which would conform to their needs. This may be seen when we turn to consider the cults which have grown up in recent years among Negroes.

If the Lord tarries His Coming and we live, we will continue looking at this topic in our next episode.

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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 looking at part 7 of Chapter 5: “Radicalism: 1915 – 1953”

Emotional and economic needs and educational levels are important considerations also, as is the matter of status of whether one is a Northerner or Southerner. Perhaps the main reason for beginning storefronts was that the established Southern churches did not follow up their members who left. Then, too, the failure of established Northern churches to contact, welcome, and win these newcomers, has a bearing on the number of such assemblies found in urban areas. However, Preston Williams points out,

They had left the soil and life of their ancestors and come to the wonderful world of the northern city where freedom and opportunities were said to exist. But they found neither freedom nor opportunity. They were robbed even of personal fellowship and social camaraderie. To believe that the “Black Church” could have successfully met this challenge is to believe in magic, not miracles. To attribute its failure to meet this need to a defective theology or a desire for self-segregation; to the perfidy of its clergy or the power drives of its people is simply to play the role of a fool or White man’s jester. The Black Church simply had no way of meeting the crisis of the twenties and thirties. It lacked the theological, financial, educational and other resources that this situation demanded. The theological resources were nowhere present in America.

If the Lord tarries His Coming and we live, we will continue looking at this topic in our next episode.

Let’s have a word of prayer.

In closing, allow me to say that like many of you, I grew up in a very religious and church-going family, and during that time, I often heard the phrase “Being Saved.” Now, much of what the church people whom I grew up around said “being saved” was I now know is wrong according to the Bible. For example, joining the church, being baptized, doing good things, or being a good person does not mean you are saved. I wrote an article about this matter titled “On ‘Being Saved’ in Black America” which is available for you to read free of charge on our website, gospellightsociety.com. Right now, I want to share with you very briefly what the Bible says “being saved” really is.

First, understand that you need to be saved because you are a sinner. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, understand that a horrible punishment eternal Hell awaits those who are not saved. In Matthew 25:41, Jesus Christ said that God will say to those who are not saved, “depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

Third, realize that God loves you very much and wants to save you from Hell. John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

If you want to be saved from Hell and be guaranteed a home in Heaven, simply believe in Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose from the dead for your sins, and then call upon the Lord in prayer and ask Him to save your soul. And believe me, He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

If you do that today, then you can truly sing in the words of the Old Negro spiritual: Free at last, Free at last, Thank God Almighty I’m free at last.

Until next time, may God richly bless you.

One Way Passage, Part 2; The Negro Church: A Nation Within a Nation, Part 10 (The History of Black Americans and the Black Church #41 with Daniel Whyte III)

Welcome to episode #41 of the The History of Black Americans and the Black Church podcast. My name is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International. Since it is hard to separate Black American history and Black Church history I am combining the two because they are so intertwined. As many of you know, 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.

Our Scripture verse for today is 1 John 1:9 which reads: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

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 continues discussing statements which are frequently heard in the black church which he calls “innocent but dangerous.” The third such statement is: “I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold.” Lee June says, “While these words are from a song, they are often uttered in other contexts and can have both a positive and negative meaning. The negative side of the statement exemplifies itself when one desires to show how special their relationship with Jesus Christ is and/or their dependence on Him. This desire is admirable. However, many times when the person utters these words, he or she is simultaneously flashing a gold watch or ring or is wearing a gold or silver necklace or arm bracelet. The person may also be driving a luxury automobile and have an expensive house. This statement can be detrimental when one does not see the contradiction in what one is saying and modeling. It can thus convey bad theology and suggest to the believer who is not well-grounded or mature to believe or feel that material possessions are in and of themselves bad, or it can imply that the Bible is totally against riches. While Jesus warned against riches, He did not reject riches (silver and gold) outright.”

In this podcast, we are using as our texts: From Slavery to Freedom, by John Hope Franklin, The Negro Church in America by E. Franklin Frazier, and The Black Church In The U.S. by William A. Banks. If you enjoy this podcast, please feel free to purchase any one of these books from our website.

Our first topic for today is titled “One Way Passage, Part 2” from the book, “From Slavery to Freedom” by John Hope Franklin.

To further illustrate the living hell that slaves endured, some captured females were in their first or second trimester of pregnancy and these mothers were forced to deliver their children in this deplorable environment. A lot of Africans screamed and moaned to the point that these sounds were considered normal to the European captain of the ship; thus a woman could die after a natural and normal birthing of a child because no one would or could assist her with the removal of the placenta. Often, the crying babies’ screams could not be heard over the screams of the adult sufferers. Ship workers did not want the responsibility of taking care of a baby, and African babies were often thrown overboard despite the pain and agony the mother would feel.

European ship workers complained about the smell of the African while on the slave ship, despite the African’s inability to wash, bathe, dispose of bodily waste, and appropriately bury dead bodies. There were brief interludes on deck, for exercise, which was necessary for the prevention of bed-sores and stiffening of the joints. Smallpox and flux, the diseases associated with filth, were among the most common and often were lethal.

Despite difficulties with language, ship captains learned to export slaves from different tribes with different languages so as to avoid mutinous collaboration among the slaves. Despite the many precautions to avoid a rebellion, some Africans managed to successfully hijack ships. But very few could navigate the Ocean, and these ships were lost at sea. Other Africans committed suicide by either jumping off the ship or by rebelling to the point where the slave trader shot him dead. Many Africans died from disease and heartache, and many of the dead were left lying next to a living African for days. The death toll associated only with the middle passages is estimated in the millions. No one knows for sure because ship captains did not want their reputations tarnished by reports of them not having control over their ship, their crew, or their cargo. Therefore, the alteration of records was a widespread practice.

If the Lord tarries His coming and we live, we will continue looking at this topic in our next episode.

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Our second topic for today is “The Negro Church: A Nation Within a Nation, Part 10” from The Negro Church in America by E. Franklin Frazier.

— We continue looking at The Church and Education

The impetus among Negroes to build institutions of higher education was due primarily to their need for an educated ministry. But the desire on the part of the masses for an educated ministry was far from universal. The masses of Negroes were still impressed by the ignorant and illiterate minister who often boasted that he had not been corrupted by wicked secular learning. Soon after the “invisible institution” of the slaves was integrated into the institutional church, it was feared that a schism would occur in the African Methodist Episcopal Church as the result of the conflict between the ignorant and intelligent elements in the church. Nevertheless, the African Methodist Episcopal Church succeeded in establishing a number of so-called colleges and universities. The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church and the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church also established schools. The Baptists had to depend upon local efforts. In South Carolina the Negro Baptists who became dissatisfied with the white control of the college for Negroes finally established their own school.

If the Lord tarries His coming and we live, we will continue looking at this topic in our next episode.

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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 looking at part 10 of Chapter 4: “Reconstruction and Retaliation — 1866 to 1914”

— FRUSTRATING SECULAR CONDITIONS, Continued

Writing in 1903, W.E.B. DuBois summarized: “The Negro church of today is the social center of Negro life in the U.S., and the most characteristic expression of African character. Take a typical church in a small Virginia town: It is the ‘First Baptist’, a roomy brick edifice seating five hundred or more persons. Tastefully finished in Georgia pine, with a carpet, small organ, and stained-glass windows. Underneath is a large assembly room with benches, This building is the central clubhouse of a community of a thousand or more Negroes.

“Various organizations meet there — the church proper, the Sunday School, two or three insurance societies, secret societies, and mass meetings of various kinds. Entertainment, suppers, and lectures are held besides the five or six regular weekly religious services. Considerable sums of money are collected and expended here, employment is found for the idle, strangers are introduced, news is disseminated and charity distributed. At the same time, this social, intellectual, and economic center is a religious center of great power.

“Depravity, Sin, Redemption, Heaven, Hell, and Damnation are preached twice a Sunday with much fervor; and revivals take place every year after the crops are laid; and few indeed of the community have the hardihood to withstand conversion. Back of this more formal religion, the Church often stands as a real conserver of morals, a strengthener of family life, and the final authority on what is Good and Right. Thus one can see in the Negro Church today, reproduced in microcosm, all that great world from which the Negro is cutoff by color prejudice and social condition.”

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If the Lord tarries His coming and we live, we will continue looking at this topic in our next episode.

Let’s have a word of prayer.

In closing, allow me to say that like many of you, I grew up in a very religious and church-going family, and during that time, I often heard the phrase “Being Saved.” Now, much of what the church people whom I grew up around said “being saved” was I now know is wrong according to the Bible. For example, joining the church, being baptized, doing good things, or being a good person does not mean you are saved. I wrote an article about this matter titled “On ‘Being Saved’ in Black America” which is available for you to read free of charge on our website, gospellightsociety.com. Right now, I want to share with you very briefly what the Bible says “being saved” really is.

First, understand that you need to be saved because you are a sinner. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, understand that a horrible punishment eternal Hell awaits those who are not saved. In Matthew 25:41, Jesus Christ said that God will say to those who are not saved, “depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

Third, realize that God loves you very much and wants to save you from Hell. John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

If you want to be saved from Hell and be guaranteed a home in Heaven, simply believe in Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose from the dead for your sins, and then call upon the Lord in prayer and ask Him to save your soul. And believe me, He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

If you do that today, then you can truly sing in the words of the Old Negro spiritual: Free at last, Free at last, Thank God almighty I’m free at last.

Until next time, may God richly bless you.

Slavery in Mainland Latin America, Part 6 (The History of Black Americans and the Black Church #62)

Welcome to episode #62 of the The History of Black Americans and the Black Church podcast.

Our Scripture Verse for today is John 6:35 which reads: “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.”

Our History of Black Americans and the Black Church quote for today is from Tony Evans. He said, “Churches must extend their influence beyond the lives of church members to impact the broader community that they serve.”

In this podcast, we are using as our texts: From Slavery to Freedom, by John Hope Franklin, The Negro Church in America by E. Franklin Frazier, and The Black Church In The U.S. by William A. Banks.

Our first topic for today is titled “Slavery in Mainland Latin America, Part 6” from the book, “From Slavery to Freedom” by John Hope Franklin.

There were five centers of distribution from which slaves were sent into the various parts of Brazil. From Bahia [BAH-HEE-AH] and Sergipe [SER-JIP-EE] they were taken to plantations and to domestic service on the coast; from Rio de Janeiro [REE-OH DEY ZHUH-NAIR-OH] and São Paulo [SOW POW-LO] they were taken to cane fields and coffee plantations or were kept to work in the capital; from Minas Gerais [MEE-NUHS ZHI-RAHYS] most slaves were sent to the gold mines, such as those of Goyaz [GOY-AYZ]; slaves from the distribution center at Pernambuco [PER-NAHM-BOO-KOO] supplied the sugar-producing provinces of the northeast, and slaves from Maranhao [MAH-RUH-NYOUN] and Para [PAH-RAH] were sent to the cotton plantations of the north. In the seventeenth century it was estimated that more than 44,000 Africans were imported annually, while the following century witnessed an annual importation of no less than 55,000 blacks. Estimates of the number of Africans imported into Brazil vary from 5 million to 18 million. Whatever the total figures were, it is clear that between 1538 and 1828 Africans were imported in such large numbers that persons of African descent still constitute a considerable portion of the population.

In 1798 the first reliable estimate of the population listed 406,000 free blacks and 1,582,000 slaves in a total population of 3,250,000. By 1818 the total population had risen to 3,817,000, in which there were 1,930,000 slaves and 585,000 freedmen. Thus, it can be seen that in that twenty-year period Africans were largely responsible for the increase in the total population. In 1830 they constituted 28.6 percent of the population. In 1847, in a total population of 7,360,000, including 800,000 civilized Indians, there were 3,120,000 African slaves, 1,100,000 free persons of color, and 180,000 free native Africans. In 1888, the year of the emancipation of Brazil’s slaves, there were 723,419 slaves.

If the Lord tarries His Coming and we live, we will continue looking at this topic in our next episode.

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Our second topic for today is “Negro Religion in the City, Part 11: Religion in the ‘Storefront’ Church, Part 3” from “The Negro Church in America” by E. Franklin Frazier.

The desire for the warm and intimate association of fellow worshippers in church services was not the only reason why the ‘storefront’ church was more congenial to the recently urbanized Negro than the cold impersonal atmosphere of the large denominational city church. In these small ‘storefront’ churches the Negro migrant could worship in a manner to which he had been accustomed. The sermon by the pastor is of a type to appeal to traditional ideas concerning hell and heaven and the imagery which the Negro has acquired from the Bible. Much emphasis is placed upon sins of the flesh, especially sexual sins. The preacher leads the singing of the Spirituals and other hymns with which the Negroes with a folk background are acquainted. The singing is accompanied by ‘shouting’ or holy dancing which permits the maximum of free religious expression on the part of the participants.

If the Lord tarries His Coming and we live, we will continue looking at this topic in our next episode.

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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 looking at part 5 of Chapter 5: “Radicalism: 1915 – 1953”

SECULARIZATION OF THE CHURCHES
Black churches in the North were not prepared for the great influx that took place during and after World War I. The result: new sects and storefront churches came into existence, and what Frazier calls the secularization of the churches begin. Secularization drew the Blacks away from a religious orientation to a worldly one where the temporal was stressed rather than the spiritual. Otherworldliness was a major characteristic of the emphasis of the Black church during slavery and until the end of the nineteenth century. Things formerly opposed–jazz, drinking, dancing, card playing, and theater going–were no longer regarded as sinful by all the churchgoers. Significantly, this “secularization” trend was countered in some measure by the birth of church groups stressing “holiness.” More Black ministers began to dabble in politics. Increased interest was expressed in community affairs. Churches began to show more interest in self-help and racial advancement organizations such as the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), and the Urban league. They expressed their interest with membership drives, financial contributions, special sermons, and the availability of the church building for meetings.

If the Lord tarries His Coming and we live, we will continue looking at this topic in our next episode.

Let’s have a word of prayer.

In closing, allow me to say that like many of you, I grew up in a very religious and church-going family, and during that time, I often heard the phrase “Being Saved.” Now, much of what the church people whom I grew up around said “being saved” was I now know is wrong according to the Bible. For example, joining the church, being baptized, doing good things, or being a good person does not mean you are saved. I wrote an article about this matter titled “On ‘Being Saved’ in Black America” which is available for you to read free of charge on our website, gospellightsociety.com. Right now, I want to share with you very briefly what the Bible says “being saved” really is.

First, understand that you need to be saved because you are a sinner. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, understand that a horrible punishment eternal Hell awaits those who are not saved. In Matthew 25:41, Jesus Christ said that God will say to those who are not saved, “depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

Third, realize that God loves you very much and wants to save you from Hell. John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

If you want to be saved from Hell and be guaranteed a home in Heaven, simply believe in Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose from the dead for your sins, and then call upon the Lord in prayer and ask Him to save your soul. And believe me, He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

If you do that today, then you can truly sing in the words of the Old Negro spiritual: Free at last, Free at last, Thank God Almighty I’m free at last.

Until next time, may God richly bless you.

Slavery in Mainland Latin America, Part 5 (The History of Black Americans and the Black Church #61)

Welcome to episode #61 of the The History of Black Americans and the Black Church podcast.

Our Scripture Verse for today is Jeremiah 17:7 which reads: “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.”

Our History of Black Americans and the Black Church quote for today is from Martin Luther King, Jr. He said, “The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.”

In this podcast, we are using as our texts: From Slavery to Freedom, by John Hope Franklin, The Negro Church in America by E. Franklin Frazier, and The Black Church In The U.S. by William A. Banks.

Our first topic for today is titled “Slavery in Mainland Latin America, Part 5” from the book, “From Slavery to Freedom” by John Hope Franklin.

The absence of a considerable population of blacks in modern Uruguay and Argentina does not mean that Spain neglected to furnish these colonies with African slaves. Instead, it is suggestive of the remarkable biological and cultural fusion that occurred. Montevideo and Buenos Aires were major ports of entry for slave traders during colonial days. While there are no figures available for the total African population of the Viceroyalty of La Plata, there can be no doubt that there was a large population of blacks, especially in the area of the estuary of the Rio de la Plata. A contemporary estimated that in 1805 about 2,500 slaves were being imported annually. In 1803 the black population of Montevideo was 1,040 out of a total of 4,726. There is every indication that Buenos Aires also had a substantial black population. As late as 1827 there were seven African societies in the Argentine capital. The disappearance of Africans in the southern part of South America is an eloquent testimony of the complete absorption of a people by the tremendous migration of Europeans that occurred in the last century.

It was only natural that the Portuguese, the first to sense the importance of African slave labor, would undertake to provide their New World empire with Africans. Although they made extensive use of Indian labor throughout the sixteenth century, they introduced Africans into Brazil as early as 1538, when the first shipment from the Guinea coast reached Bahia. It was the introduction of sugar into the colony about 1540 that stimulated the importation of Africans, and after that time the slave trade continued unabated. During the period of Spanish control, 1580-1640, the slave trade to Brazil greatly accelerated. In 1585 there were 14,000 slaves in the colony out of a population of 57,000. Toward the end of the century the Spaniards brought in large numbers of slaves from Guinea, Sao Thome, Mozambique, and other parts of Africa. Though there was a tendency for them to be concentrated in Pernambuco, Bahia, and Rio de Janeiro, they fanned out in various directions as sugar and coffee plantations were developed in the fertile interior valleys.

If the Lord tarries His Coming and we live, we will continue looking at this topic in our next episode.

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Our second topic for today is “Negro Religion in the City, Part 10: Religion in the ‘Storefront’ Church, Part 2” from “The Negro Church in America” by E. Franklin Frazier.

The ‘storefront’ church represents an attempt on the part of the migrants, especially from the rural areas of the South, to re-establish a type of church in the urban environment to which they were accustomed. They want a church, first of all, in which they are known as people. In the large city church they lose their identity completely and, as many of the migrants from the rural South have said, neither the church members nor the pastor know them personally. Sometimes they complain with bitterness that the pastor of the large city church knows them only as the number on the envelope in which they place their dues. In wanting to be treated as human beings, they want status in the church which was the main or only organization in the South in which they had status. Some of the statements concerning their reason for leaving the big denominational churches was that ‘back home in the South’ they had a seat in the church that everyone recognized as theirs and that if the seat were empty on Sunday the pastor came to their homes to find out the cause of their absence.

If the Lord tarries His Coming and we live, we will continue looking at this topic in our next episode.

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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 looking at part 4 of Chapter 5: “Radicalism: 1915 – 1953”

BAPTISTS, Part 2
Baptists, constituting the vast majority of Negroes, were accustomed to local autonomy, and their congregations provided the perfect medium for the free airing of personal disappointments, discontent and disillusionment. Dashed hopes, feuds, factions, and fights created Negro politicians. In this atmosphere of tension, the Baptist preacher arose as the master politician who continued as the leader of the people by diverting them from their external failures in society through practical politics in a religious setting.

Since 1915, the heavy concentration of Negroes in the South has been largely denied the privilege of political expression. The local congregation has filled this need and has created through city, county, state, and national Baptist associations a political outlet for the Negro. The explosion which created two national conventions continued down through county, state, city and local bodies…On the local level, this division of Baptists persists, partly because the external forces have not substantially changed and partly because splits are the habitual way of Negro Baptists.

If the Lord tarries His Coming and we live, we will continue looking at this topic in our next episode.

Let’s have a word of prayer.

In closing, allow me to say that like many of you, I grew up in a very religious and church-going family, and during that time, I often heard the phrase “Being Saved.” Now, much of what the church people whom I grew up around said “being saved” was I now know is wrong according to the Bible. For example, joining the church, being baptized, doing good things, or being a good person does not mean you are saved. I wrote an article about this matter titled “On ‘Being Saved’ in Black America” which is available for you to read free of charge on our website, gospellightsociety.com. Right now, I want to share with you very briefly what the Bible says “being saved” really is.

First, understand that you need to be saved because you are a sinner. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, understand that a horrible punishment eternal Hell awaits those who are not saved. In Matthew 25:41, Jesus Christ said that God will say to those who are not saved, “depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

Third, realize that God loves you very much and wants to save you from Hell. John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

If you want to be saved from Hell and be guaranteed a home in Heaven, simply believe in Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose from the dead for your sins, and then call upon the Lord in prayer and ask Him to save your soul. And believe me, He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

If you do that today, then you can truly sing in the words of the Old Negro spiritual: Free at last, Free at last, Thank God Almighty I’m free at last.

Until next time, may God richly bless you.

Slavery in Mainland Latin America, Part 3; Negro Religion in the City, Part 8 (The History of Black Americans and the Black Church #59)

Our Scripture Verse for today is 1 John 5:5 which reads: “Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?”

Our History of Black Americans and the Black Church quote for today is from Ralph Abernathy. He said, “Christians should be ready for a change because Jesus was the greatest changer in history.”

In this podcast, we are using as our texts: From Slavery to Freedom, by John Hope Franklin, The Negro Church in America by E. Franklin Frazier, and The Black Church In The U.S. by William A. Banks.

Our first topic for today is titled “Slavery in Mainland Latin America, Part 3” from the book, “From Slavery to Freedom” by John Hope Franklin.

During the colonial period Central America was largely a part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain, and no separate figures are available for the importation of slaves into that region. Africans in Central America perhaps were a small but important segment of the population. They were imported into Guatemala as early as 1524, when the Spaniards occupied the land. While the number was never as large as 10,000, they were a considerable source of trouble to the Spanish authorities. Runaways would band together in the woods of Sierra de las Minas and with their bows and arrows harass the countryside for miles around. The entire military force of Guatemala City found it impossible to subdue them. Some slaves became free, developing into substantial citizens. One such freedman became an extensive landowner and herdsman. Although he made a great profit from dairy products that he sold in Guatemala City, the authorities felt that perhaps some hidden treasure was the real source of his wealth. He periodically denied this, and until his death he stood as an example of what an African was able to accomplish in Central America.

Perhaps the largest concentration of blacks in continental Spanish America was to be found in the Viceroyalty of New Granada, comprising the modern states of Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador. The ports along the Caribbean early became entrepots for Negro slaves and points from which they were distributed to the interior. Panama, Caracas, and Cartagena were among the largest slave markets in the New World. By the time that accurate census figures for the area became available, Negroes were present in considerable numbers. In the Audiencia of Santa Fe–present Panama and Colombia–there were in 1810 approximately 210,000 Negroes and mulattoes, slave and free, in a total population of 1.4 million. In the Captaincy General of Caracas–present Venezuela–Negroes and mulattoes numbered 493,000 in 1810, while the total population was 900,000. About the same time, the Presidency of Quito–present Ecuador–had 50,000 Negroes and mulattoes in a total population of 600,000.

If the Lord tarries His Coming and we live, we will continue looking at this topic in our next episode.

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Our second topic for today is “Negro Religion in the City, Part 8” from “The Negro Church in America” by E. Franklin Frazier.

In the cities of the North the churches were much larger than the churches in the South. The average membership of a North church in the North was close to 800 while the average for the South was less than half that number. The Negro preacher in the northern city has striven to build up large churches which are a measure of his status and influence, not to mention his control of economic resources. These churches are vast social organizations with a number of departments concerned with many aspects of Negro life other than the religious. They have established systems of book-keeping and something approaching an impersonal bureaucratic organization. In spite of the wealth and power of these churches, they repel the Negro masses who seek a type of religious association that is warm and intimate and in which they have a satisfactory status.

If the Lord tarries His Coming and we live, we will continue looking at this topic in our next episode.

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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 looking at part 2 of Chapter 5: “Radicalism: 1915 – 1953”

DENOMINATIONAL LOYALTY: STATISTICS
Not surprisingly, the migrants generally continued their denominational affiliations. Those who were Baptists in the South were still Baptists in the North. The Methodists also remained relatively loyal to their denomination. Statistics in 1916 for the four major all-Black groups are: for the Baptists, 3,196,623; AME, 545,814; AMEZ, 456,813; CME, 202,713. The 1998 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches gives this breakdown for 1998: National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., 8,200,000; National Baptist Convention of America, 2,500,000; Progressive National Baptist Convention Inc., 2,500,000; AME, 3,500,000; AMEZ, 1,252,369; CME, 718,922; COGIC, 5,499,875. These statistics do not tell the complete story. Other Pentecostal and apostolic groups have been omitted; figures for some groups are difficult to obtain; and some of the Black Baptist churches belong to more than one Convention.

If the Lord tarries His Coming and we live, we will continue looking at this topic in our next episode.

Let’s have a word of prayer.

In closing, allow me to say that like many of you, I grew up in a very religious and church-going family, and during that time, I often heard the phrase “Being Saved.” Now, much of what the church people whom I grew up around said “being saved” was I now know is wrong according to the Bible. For example, joining the church, being baptized, doing good things, or being a good person does not mean you are saved. I wrote an article about this matter titled “On ‘Being Saved’ in Black America” which is available for you to read free of charge on our website, gospellightsociety.com. Right now, I want to share with you very briefly what the Bible says “being saved” really is.

First, understand that you need to be saved because you are a sinner. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, understand that a horrible punishment eternal Hell awaits those who are not saved. In Matthew 25:41, Jesus Christ said that God will say to those who are not saved, “depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

Third, realize that God loves you very much and wants to save you from Hell. John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

If you want to be saved from Hell and be guaranteed a home in Heaven, simply believe in Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose from the dead for your sins, and then call upon the Lord in prayer and ask Him to save your soul. And believe me, He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

If you do that today, then you can truly sing in the words of the Old Negro spiritual: Free at last, Free at last, Thank God Almighty I’m free at last.

Until next time, may God richly bless you.

Slavery in Mainland Latin America, Part 2 (The History of Black Americans and the Black Church #58)

Our Scripture Verse for today is Colossians 3:13 which reads: “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”

Our History of Black Americans and the Black Church quote for today is from John Lewis. He said, “The civil rights movement was based on faith. Many of us who were participants in this movement saw our involvement as an extension of our faith. We saw ourselves doing the work of the Almighty. Segregation and racial discrimination were not in keeping with our faith, so we had to do something.”

In this podcast, we are using as our texts: From Slavery to Freedom, by John Hope Franklin, The Negro Church in America by E. Franklin Frazier, and The Black Church In The U.S. by William A. Banks.

Our first topic for today is titled “Slavery in Mainland Latin America, Part 2” from the book, “From Slavery to Freedom” by John Hope Franklin.

It would be erroneous to assume that slave traders in Spanish America confined their activities to the insular possessions. Almost from the beginning they transported slaves to Mexico, Panama, Colombia, Peru, and Argentina, and from these points the slaves were disperses in all directions. Only the lines of supply directly from Africa or from the Caribbean entrepots were officially recognized, but smugglers and interlopers were not averse to bringing Africans from English, French, or Dutch colonies or from other points when it was profitable to do so. By these various routes of commerce more than 60,000 Africans entered Mexico during the first century of conquest. In the following century the number was even greater. While the islands and the adjacent continent possessed a limited capacity to absorb slaves, the Mexican market was a veritable paradise for traders. The Jesuit Father Andres de Rivas estimated that 3,000 or 4,000 entered the country each year. Gonzalo Aguirre Beltran, the Mexican historian, asserts that a conservative estimate for the seventeenth century would place the figure at 120,000 slaves. In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries importation declined sharply, with no more than 20,000 slaves entering the Viceroyaltyof New Spain during that period. When Baron Alexander von Humboldt visited the country in 1793, he said that there were only 10,000 slaves. Certainly 200,000 had entered the country by that time, but the majority had become mixed with the whites and Indians so extensively that perhaps they were no longer recognizable as a distinct element in the population.

If the Lord tarries His Coming and we live, we will continue looking at this topic in our next episode.

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Our second topic for today is “Negro Religion in the City, Part 7” from “The Negro Church in America” by E. Franklin Frazier.

The secularization of the Negro church has not affected to the same extent and in the same manner all sections of the Negro population. The manner in which secularization has affected Negroes is related to the new stratification of the Negro population. In a study of stratification in Negro churches in Chicago, it was found that church-going was not important for many persons of upper-class status and that those who attended church attended churches with services that were ritualistic and deliberative, the Episcopal, Presbyterian, and Congregational. The upper middle class was found to be affiliated with the same churches as the upper class with the important difference, however, that the upper middle class was more faithful in church attendance. Some members of the upper middle class also attended the Methodist and Baptist churchs for social reasons. On the other hand, the members of the lower middle class were affiliated with churches which were described as semi-demonstrative, as there was emotional participation on the part of the members. This was indicative of their recent social ascension from the lower class for whom demonstrative participation in the church services is regarded as indispensable. In fact, some of the members of the lower middle class preferred to attend certain Methodist and Baptist churches for this very reason.

If the Lord tarries His Coming and we live, we will continue looking at this topic in our next episode.

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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 looking at part 1 of Chapter 5: “Radicalism: 1915 – 1953”

BLACK POPULATION SHIFTS
Migration to the cities was inevitable. Many Blacks went to the urban centers of the South after the Civil War, but it took the First World War to cause mass migration to northern cities. This urbanization had a tremendous effect upon the life of the Black man. Prior to the war, 90 percent of the Blacks in America lived in the South and most of these, some 80 percent, were in rural areas. When the war came the population began to shift and Blacks headed North. Many reasons were given for the migration: oppression, forced labor, the Ku Klux Klan, lynchings, etc.

One hundred Negroes were lynched during the first year of the twentieth century. By the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, the number stood at 1,110. When the war was over, the practice was resumed–28 Negroes being burned alive between 1918 and 1921. Scores of others were hanged, dragged behind automobiles, shot, drowned, or hacked to death.

Natural calamities also caused some Blacks to leave the South. Northern industry’s need for unskilled workers probably played the most important part in drawing the Blacks North. The war brought European immigration practically to a halt; from 1914 to 1915 the number of White immigrants decreased from 1,218,480 to 326,700. The cities’ Black populations increased by leaps and bounds. Migration from the farm to the city and from the South to the North brought many difficulties. In housing, there were restrictive covenants, segregation ordinances, and White landlord exploitation, all of which led to ghettos and the poor health and high mortality that accompany large families living in small, unsanitary homes. The city’s impersonalness and destruction of family life, with increaed desertion, illegitimacy, and juvenile delinquency aggravated matters. Increased migration North created hostility there, and the churches were greatly affected.

If the Lord tarries His Coming and we live, we will continue looking at this topic in our next episode.

Let’s have a word of prayer.

In closing, allow me to say that like many of you, I grew up in a very religious and church-going family, and during that time, I often heard the phrase “Being Saved.” Now, much of what the church people whom I grew up around said “being saved” was I now know is wrong according to the Bible. For example, joining the church, being baptized, doing good things, or being a good person does not mean you are saved. I wrote an article about this matter titled “On ‘Being Saved’ in Black America” which is available for you to read free of charge on our website, gospellightsociety.com. Right now, I want to share with you very briefly what the Bible says “being saved” really is.

First, understand that you need to be saved because you are a sinner. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, understand that a horrible punishment eternal Hell awaits those who are not saved. In Matthew 25:41, Jesus Christ said that God will say to those who are not saved, “depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

Third, realize that God loves you very much and wants to save you from Hell. John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

If you want to be saved from Hell and be guaranteed a home in Heaven, simply believe in Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose from the dead for your sins, and then call upon the Lord in prayer and ask Him to save your soul. And believe me, He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

If you do that today, then you can truly sing in the words of the Old Negro spiritual: Free at last, Free at last, Thank God Almighty I’m free at last.

Until next time, may God richly bless you.