Abolitionism and the Uplift Movement

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Justin Schenck
March 7, 2013
Abolitionism
Prof. Price
The Uplift Movement and Origins of the “Black” Church
In the late 18th century after the end of the revolution many new opportunities and hopefully thinking caused African Americans to start fighting for equality through the Uplift movement. This was an era where the Great Awakening and Enlightenment were becoming much more popular nationwide. Secret abolition societies and organizations were sprouting up all across the new Republic. These free thinkers and new anti-slavery organizations called for the need of a place to gather without racial discrimination and where the members could feel comfortable. I believe that the solution for this problem was the development of African American churches where racial segregation was not present and the black community along with white activist could gather comfortably for worship, opportunity, social/scholastic education, and held as a place for various activist meetings.

The first of the churches was founded by two former slaves, Richard Allen and Absalom Jones. The African Methodist Episcopal Church was established in 1792. These churches created many leaders in the fight for racial equality and the abolishment of slavery. The churches were open to both free blacks and slaves. White slave owners would bring their slaves to church with them and justified slavery by saying that the church is teaching them Christianity even though they experienced very little access to a quality service. These new “black” churches gave African Americans the chance to decipher the bible in their own way and spiritual traditions which have carried on still to this day. Along with these new traditions created leadership roles in the church which were nonexistent in the mainstream churches.

Not only were these churches a place for comfortable worship but also served as a “headquarters” for meetings among the anti-slavery and racial equality groups. Without these places for...
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