Afro-Baptist Slave Rituals

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Kelsee’ Purnell
His 337
The Afro- Baptist Slave Rituals and Denomination Controversies, Contrasts, and Comparisons in the Lower Mississippi Valley
During the antebellum period, African American religion emerged under slavery and capitalism in both the North and South. The arrival of Africans into the New World was not a free option but was due to the involuntary slave movement. A vast majority of the slaves were born in America. From the beginning of slavery, many African Americans received inhumane treatment from whites in the society of the Antebellum South. Also, enslaved African Americans were not free and allowed to participate in the norms of society due to laws regulating slavery such as Jim Crow. However, slaves did acquire freedom in various ways. In particular, slaves achieved freedom through religion. In return, slave masters utilized religion against them in order for control. To achieve salvation of afterlife, religion from a master’s perspective urged African Americans to be obedient plantation field workers and house servants. Close to the eve of the Civil War, Christianity had an extremely large impact on illiterate African American slaves in the Lower Mississippi Valley with the organization of sects and denominations. Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterian were the 3 main denominations practiced by slaves. Despite illiterate capabilities, African American slaves were able to disseminate their own religion, traditions, and knowledge verbally within the slave community with Baptists being one of the largest African American denominations within the Lower Mississippi Valley. At this time, whites and blacks were attending the same church gatherings. Racial discrimination remained a factor in the church on plantations. Plantation chapels were used for slaves and masters. Masters utilized these plantation chapels to control slaves by minimizing them from traveling. At revival camp meetings, settings, tents, and seating remained...
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