Religion And The African American Experience

1231 words - 5 pages

Religion and the African American ExperienceReligion and the Black Church in African American society, in regards to the socio-cultural, economical and political issues of the 20th century, has turned the African American experience of mere individual survival into one of prosperity and a sense of community. From the days of slavery, Africans have struggled to survive in America due to the unfair treatment based on the color of their skin; despite the fact that they were granted their freedom in 1865, they were still not seen on treated as equals. Since blacks were never treated or seen fairly in America they waged a constant war, to obtain equality culturally, economically, and politically. Religion is one of the biggest contributors towards the movement of establishing equality in those three main issues. Culturally religion created a sense of community behind which blacks could stand; furthermore, if gave blacks a sense of belonging. Economically religion gave blacks extra financial support in their hard economical predicament. Politically religion was the roots from which many great speakers came from. The reason why blacks were becoming stronger in politics is because they could draw strong parallels between the political world and religion (something they were very familiar with). It is clear that religion has shaped the post-slavery African American experience because it is the foundations of their cultural, economic, and political life.After every fight for freedom there is a rebuilding process that takes place, for the enslaved group. The first thing that is usually reestablished is the enslaved party's sense of humanity and self worth. The way in which religion accomplished this is by creating a refuge and haven from the harsh world blacks deal with and dealt with in the past. Religion served as a place offering privacy from the white world that was constantly peering inward. With the establishment of churches and religion blacks had a place to conduct their own cultural events without having to consult the "white" government. Another thing that religion did in terms of socio-cultural matters is that it rebuilt the old traditions that were lost during times of enslavement. Religion most importantly brought blacks together under a common cause. Since religion was everywhere it made it a lot easier to gain followers. For example while Malcom X was in prison he "underwent a conversion to the doctrines of the Lost-Found Nation of Islam in America."(The Norton Anthology, African American Literature,pg 1816) Malcom X was one of the strongest political minds of the 20th century. Religion and the black church in the 20th century was most important because it brought families back together and created new ones for people who had no families.The second thing that is rebuilt during post-enslavement reconstruction is financial and economical status. After slavery the slaves were promised forty acres and a mule to compensate them for what had been...

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