What do people look for in religion? Do they look for guidance, beliefs, reason, or do they look for help? African-Americans have looked for all of these for many years. They found all of these in Christianity. Christians believe in one God who they worship, trust, and look up to. Since Christianity was first intorduced in the early Colonial Period, African-Americans have used their Christian beliefs to fight horrible things that have gone on in America such as slavery and segregation.
As African-Americans were captured through the slave trade and brought to the colonies they possessed many different religious beliefs. Many people are extremely ignorant in history and believe that all African-Americans were once united together as a whole in Africa. This was not nearly the case. Africa was made up of many different states with many different people and with many different beliefs. These people were dark skinned, but aren’t all white people light skinned. The white man has never agreed on one main language. As the African-Americans were brought to the colonies from Africa, they used Christianity to help bring them together.
Some people use song and dance to express their Christian beliefs. This was all started by the slaves. African-American slaves used songs, dances, and often stories to show their feelings about God. These stories were called trickster stories. As African-American slaves became more involved in the Christian faith it gave them something to live and fight for. Instead of doing labor for their white owners, they did their work for themselves and most importantly, they did it for God.
Slaves were treated as animals. They were forced to work in the fields, in the house, or on the farms for free. They were beaten, deprived of food and clothing, and even raped. If slaves tried to run away they were captured and beaten. Being beaten meant being stripped of their clothes and whipped severely with a leather strap. Some were whipped up to 300 times.
As time passed, African-Americans were beginning to speak English. This helped significantly. Now they could preach and spread their beliefs. As Christianity spread through the country, slaves were beginning to worship the Lord out loud. They began to build churches and have marriages. Having Christian marriages provided a family for the slaves and this gave them a sense of brotherhood.
The white man degraded the slaves so much that many had an extremely how self-esteem. Many slaves felt that their duty in life was to be the white man’s slave. However, Christianity showed them that they were equal to everyone and this often raised the slaves self-esteem. Through churches and marriages the African-Americans were now creating a community for themselves.
Slavery ended and blacks were finally free to some extent. Although they were now free, they would still remain under the white man’s foot. This was a huge step for the African-Americans though. I believe that Christianity had a lot to do with the ending of slavery. The blacks already knew that slavery was wrong, and finally enough whites realized, through God that this was wrong and immoral. However, there will still be many whites who are ignorant in the preachings of God and still treat the blacks as though they are slaves. African-Americans will keep their heads high and fight for their freedom through the strength of God.
Even though African-Americans were no longer slaves, they still do not have the freedom that everyone in America deserved. Slavery was now gone, but the main issue became segregation. Blacks still did not received the same rights as the whites did. They could not attend the same schools, use white bathroom facilities, eat in the same restaurants, ride on the front of buses, or even drink fro the same water fountains. This went against everything that God said and the blacks knew that. They knew that God created everyone equal and their are some African-Americans who will fight for this. Most blacks were scared to come public and fight for their rights. There was still a lof of violence and hostility toward blacks at this time. Blacks were being hung, beaten, and brutally murdered. This put a lot of fear into the eyes of African-Americans. Some tried to fight back, but most were so strong in their religious beliefs that they knew that God did not want them to fight these problems with violence.
Then came a man, Martin Luther King, Jr., who many lookes at as a desciple sent down from God. African-Americans relied on peopld such as King to fight segregation through Christian preaching. Martin Luther King, Jr. was in influential black civil leader and an ordained minister. He taught exactly what he learned from reading and studying God’s word. One thing he stressed to the black community was non-violence. He told people to believe in God and stick with God becuase He is able to do anything. Many blacks blamed God because if could do anything, then why ws this happening to African-Americans. King told these people that some men are evil and they take advantage of freedom. King felt that learning from past mistakes would helpt to better mankind in the future. In other words, God can defeat the evils that happened during slavery and segregation. King fought long and hard against segregation while spreading God’s word and finally won a battle. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was put into Congress and passed. This was a huge step for the African-American community. This act gave blacks the self-esteem and the equal rights that they had been waiting for. Even though this does not end hatred in America, it definitely puts a serious dent in it. Martin Luther King, Jr. touched many people, including whites, through his powerful speeches.
Christianity has done many different things for many different people. It reached out and grabbed blacks and gave them something to live and die for. There were many times when African-Americans did not understand the works of God. They found out that God truly does work in mysterious ways.