The aspects of slavery in the United States started in the August of 1619, when 20 Angolans’ names were first recorded in a journal entry. These blacks were ushered into the British colony in Virginia, later to be sold to English colonists. The idea of enslaving Africans grew in the United States, which acted as a reason of country’s division, dating back to the Civil War period. The racists legacy continued even after the war, birthing resistance movements such as Montgomery Bus Boycott and the underground railroad among others. It is this trend which resulted in black church issues, considering the blacks were discriminated to the extent of having their separate schools and religion (History.com, 2021).
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The exploration of the black church is noted from the Trans-Atlantic slave trade days, black lives matter, childhood church and Floyd George’s verdict. In this traverse, the outstanding theme is that black church has diversely existed as the African American’s foundational experience. Black religious has been pivotal in societal issues propelled with blacks’ desire to attaining self-consciousness and merge the double self-feeling to true and better self.
Among the first institutions to be built by the blacks were their churches, which operated independently of the societies of the whites. The first congregation of these people occurred contemporaneously with the 1776’s Declaration of the Independence. Some of the early churches were set in Virginia, Georgia, and South Carolina before these individuals strived to take their masters in religion nationwide (History.com, 2021). Through flowering of denominations, the black church become and is still a key refuge for those evading hard times. Through this, the institution has comfortably given the world an astonishing cultural gift through songs and oratory issues.
The African Americans were people dehumanized since their time of entrance into the United States. They were debased following the inhuman slavery system which dominated this country at that time. Therefore, the church societally provided protection, and became a place of individual and racial self-affirmation, of learning and teaching spiritual and psychological sustenance in terms of prophetic faith (History.com, 2021).
They work on a symbolic space involving free black people and the enslaved, nurturing the hope for the betterment of today and tomorrow. In the social realm, this church worked to serve spiritual and secular needs of people in a community that was underserved and disenfranchised by religious institutions. Through this, the institutions’ effect has permeated into the popular culture, and made its scriptural devotion to embrace equality, liberation and redemption in the context of ideas of love. These have then gone to remake and challenge the white nation by calling for a necessity to higher self especially in times of trial and testing.
The black church has outstandingly been central to identity history and social justice vision. This is an umbrella which covers people who define themselves in the context of individuals on their journey to equality, freedom and higher power. The institution, as much as it was the oldest, appears to be more than just a place set for worship. They work as political, religious, social and economic pillars for people of African origin.
It is through such an iconic identity which made the institution to animate the individuality of the blacks today. Earlier in history, this place was created to ensure there is convergence of people with the same need of advancing aspirations in praying, singing and even shouting out demeaning frustrations. Therefore, it occurred as a saving grace of the black community who were ostensibly free before the Civil War (History.com, 2021). Consequently, the institution was governed by the issues of identity and fight for freedom just from earlier struggles to freedom of the back Americans.
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The black church was grounded on the context of fueling rebellions. For instance, the first church sustained and nurtured issues about underground railroads, was a training ground for the orators and worked to support the abolitionist movement. Through this institution ministers such as Harvey Richard came out not only effective but also influential during the reconstruction period. Further, the church reinforced economic boycotts and antilynching campaigns, making it a meeting place and pillar of the civil rights movement. Their focus was and is still rooted on the fundamentals of equality between the white, the black, earthly, and heavenly freedom as well as love among brothers and sisters. The institution became a driving force in terms of transforming the United States into a new place.
The institution had struggled to remain relevant in a society that until recently, before the last election, was color-lined and strictly policed, hence giving room for social and physical outlets practically. For the current antebellum period, the black church has worked to offer training and nourishing of leaders. Through this, there has been the establishment and fostering of regional, local, and national black networks.
This brings into limelight the issue of Floyd George, who was killed by white police mercilessly. The death is not the only one in American history, it occurred after the deaths of Micheal Brown, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, and others, individuals who died some time back due to racial discrimination. But the subsequent reaction of the blacks to Floyd’s death showed the church had empowered followers to devote themselves to the need of seeking equality and rights through movements. George’s bereavement spiked demonstration in all 50 states, even in communities and cities which are predominantly occupied by the whites. The nation has been served from the days when the blacks would be intimidated. The African Americans are now empowered to understand their worth.
The protest revived the aspect of the Black Live Matters movement, but this time, it was more diverse and radical. Sports, the local governments and businesses united to also support he protests. The worst scenario was the Minneapolis city council, which did pledge to dismantle the department of the police. It is true from this observation that the African Americans have gained power and empowerment, with regards to stopping oppression. It is unimaginable on how they have influenced the whites too, considering the white joined the African Americans, in solidarity to the death of Floyd. Much worse, the verdict is even more fascinating and appealing.
After George’s death, the police responsible and colleague were sacked, and during his judgment, he was already a former police officer serving Minneapolis Police post. Dereck knelt on this victim’s neck for more than 9 minutes and therefore he was guilty for three accounts of second-degree unintentional murder, second degree manslaughter and third-degree murder (Cuddy, 2020). The decision was concluded after jurors deliberation which took over 10 hours. Even after the protests, the victim had no reaction to the guilty verdict.
This verdict proves that the movement and the push which the black church had in the context of liberating the African Americans has worked. In fact, when his brother visited the area where he was killed, some priests also planned for prayer mission at the scene. These colored priests intentionally condemned the death of one of their own, a fact which proved that they were in unison with the protest that were going on. The church yesterday is still the church today, as it works to anticipate for the wellness of its people, while at the same time advocating for equality.
Therefore, this church has trailed along way to ensure the blacks are respected. The verdict which the state gave towards Derick, the policeman involved in Floyd’s murder, is a clear indication that the state too understands the need to serve the black reasonably. This church has strived to ensure there is equality between the blacks and the whites socially. This institution has also ensured there is a permeation of the popular white culture. The institution has succeeded in making its scriptural devotion to embrace equality, liberation and redemption in the context of ideas of love. It was the love and need to honor brotherhood, a fact which made the judges to proclaim Derick guilty.
In conclusion, the black church has strived to make sense of the need for the black and white to live in harmony. At the beginning, it was not easy, as the whites were dominantly defending their life against racism issues. With its iconic feature, the institution has leveraged the reasoning of people who live in this community, to the extent of making them individual and not inhuman as they were. The yesterday’s church never had influenced as the today’s church, but the aspects of racial discrimination is not as diverse, because of societal cohesiveness.
Cuddy, A. (2020). George Floyd: Five pieces of context to understand the protests. BBC NEWS. Web.
History. Black history milestones: timeline. Web.