The History of Black Americans and the Black Church Episode #77

This is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International, with episode #77 of the The History of Black Americans and the Black Church podcast.

Our Scripture Verse for today is Galatians 3:28 which reads: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”

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, “Why is Islam very attractive to African American males and what must be done to make Christianity more attractive? In reference to this question, Lincoln and Mamiya suggested that the symbols of manhood projected by such prominent Muslims as Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali are factors. While this is undoubtedly true, Islam is also more aggressive in its outreach to males, particularly in the prison environment.”

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 “Colonial Slavery, Part 11: The Middle Colonies, Part 2” from the book, “From Slavery to Freedom” by John Hope Franklin.

The concentration of an increasing number of slaves in the city of New York brought with it increased dangers to the white population. Blacks defied authority and disobeyed the laws. In 1712 the ungovernable temper of New York blacks flared up into a fully organized insurrection in which twenty-three slaves armed with guns and knives met in an orchard and set fire to a slaveholder’s house. During the melee that followed nine whites were killed and six were injured. In the ensuing trial of the accused blacks twenty-one were found guilty and executed.

Almost thirty years later, in 1741, there was a rumor of an even larger insurrection. After a series of fires, the rumor spread that blacks and poor whites were conspiring to destroy law and order in the city and to seize control. After the city offered generous rewards for the apprehension of the conspirators, almost 200 whites and blacks were arrested and prosecuted. At least 100 blacks were convicted, 18 of whom were hanged, 13 burned alive,and 70 banished. Four whites, including 2 women, were hanged. There were no more serious outbursts during the colonial period, and by the time of the Revolution, New York had begun to recognize the moral and economic undesirability of holding human beings in bondage.

South of New York, the colonies of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware each in its own way subscribed to the institution of slavery. After the English came to dominate New Jersey, they encouraged slavery in every way. Soon, the black population there was growing steadily: 2,581 in 1726, 3,981 in 1738, and 4,606 in 1745 out of a population of 61,000. In Pennsylvania the growth was not so rapid, largely because of the opposition to slavery by the Quakers. In 1688 Germantown Quakers issued their celebrated protest, and in 1693 George Keith remonstrated with Pennsylvanians for holding persons in perpetual bondage. But in 1685 no less a person than William Penn himself expressed the view that African slaves were more satisfactory workers than white servants, and this had the effect of greatly encouraging slavery in some quarters. In 1721 the black population of Pennsylvania was estimated at between 2,500 and 5,000. Thirty years later there were about 11,000 in the colony. In 1790 there were 10,274 blacks, of whom 3,737 were slaves and 6,537 were free.

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


Our second topic for today is “Negro Religion in the City, Part 26: Negro Cults in the City, Part 12” from “The Negro Church in America” by E. Franklin Frazier.

Something needs to be said about the beliefs and ritual and practices of the cult. The members of the various sects which have split off from the parent body live according to the teachings which have been divulged to Noble Drew Ali and are contained in the Holy Koran. Jesus figures largely in the Koran but Allah is God and He ordained his Prophet, Noble Drew Ali, to divulge his secrets to the dark folk of America. The charter of the Moorish Science Temple is supposed to have come from the ‘great capital empire of Egypt’. Negro (black) signifies death and coloured something painted. Therefore, the term Moorish-American must be used. In their religious services, which meet promptly and are dismissed promptly, the contents of the Holy Koran are expounded to the members. During the services, which are extremely quiet, men and women are segregated. ‘”Christmas” is observed on January fifth, the anniversary of the day when the prophet, Noble Drew Ali, was reincarnated.’ Members greet each other, the right hand up-raised and the palm turned out, with the words ‘Peace’ and ‘Islam’. There are a number of taboos, including the prohibition of the use of meat and eggs, the use of intoxicants, attendance at European games and the straightening of the hair.

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


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 20 of Chapter 5: “Radicalism: 1915 – 1953”

The Death of God: Father Divine died on September 10, 1965, leaving behind a million deluded followers. Mother Divine, pointing out that his death involved only the physical body, said, “Like Jesus, although his body is gone, he is still with us.” Much praise from various sources was given Father Divine upon his death. The Philadelphia Inquirer headlined: “Negro Leaders Grieve at Father Divine’s Death.” The article said,

Leaders of the Philadelphia Negro community expressed grief at the death of Father Divine on Friday and offered praise for the influence the Negro evangelist exerted on his followers. “I was deeply grieved to learn of his passing,” said the Rev. Leon H. Sullivan, founder of the O.I.C. and pastor of the Zion Baptist Church. “…In my opinion, he was the forerunner…of much that we see in the practical aspects of religion today. While many people were talking about what religion could do about integration and self-determination and human dignity, he was practicing it.”

Father Divine was called a “force for good and stability in the community” by U.S. Representative Robert N.C. Nix (D., Phila). Nix said Father Divine’s followers “were taught a high degree of morality…paid their bills…were good constructive citizens.” Father Divine’s death was described as a “great loss,” by Cecil B. Moore, president of the Philadelphia branch of the NAACP. “We think he lived and demonstrated by his life, principles we are fighting for.”

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, 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.

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