African Americans Post Civil War- Baptism in Georgia Late 1800’s
During the decades of slavery in America, slave associations were a constant source of concern to slave owners. For many members of society, Black religious meetings symbolized the ultimate threat to white existence. Nevertheless, African slaves established and relied heavily on their churches. Religion offered a means of catharsis… Africans retained their faith in God and found refuge in their churches. However, white society was not always willing to accept the involvement of slaves in Christianity. As one slave recounted “the white folks would come in when the colored people would have prayer meeting, and whip every one of them. Most of them thought that when colored people were praying it was against them”.
Post -Civil War: After emancipation, black churches became virtually the only place for African-Americans to find refuge. Blacks moved away from the “hush-harbors” that they retreated to for solace as slaves. Once established, Black Churches spread rapidly throughout the South; the Baptist churches led in this proliferation.
Constantly moving between the poles of immediate survival and future liberation, Black congregations cultivated a spirit of uplift and self-expression, laying the foundation of Black power and self-determination. They understood that the “…Christian Gospel was a gospel of liberation … and … refused to accept an interpretation of Christianity that was unrelated to civil freedom.” This fundamental religious faith brought strength and courage to each of them.
Source: http://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/tserve/nineteen/nkeyinfo/aargabaptismlg.htm Source: http://pacivilwar150.com/Understand/RoleofReligion Source: http://www.aaregistry.org/historic_events/view/black-church-brief-history