Plantation Church: How African American Religion Was Born in Caribbean Slavery

Oxford University Press
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Noel Leo Erskine investigates the history of the Black Church as it developed both in the United States and the Caribbean after the arrival of enslaved Africans. Typically, when people talk about "the Black Church" they are referring to African-American churches in the U.S., but in fact, the majority of African slaves were brought to the Caribbean. It was there, Erskine argues, that the Black religious experience was born. The massive Afro-Caribbean population was able to establish a form of Christianity that preserved African Gods and practices, but fused them with Christian teachings, resulting in religions such as Cuba's Santer?a. The Black religious experience in the U.S. was markedly different because African Americans were a political and cultural minority. The Plantation Church became a place of solace and resistance that provided its members with a sense of kinship, not only to each other but also to their ancestral past. Despite their common origins, the Caribbean and African American Church are almost never studied together. Plantation Church examines the parallel histories of these two strands of the Black Church, showing where their historical ties remain strong and where different circumstances have led them down unexpectedly divergent paths. The result will be a work that illuminates the histories, theologies, politics, and practices of both branches of the Black Church.
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About the author

Noel Leo Erskine is Professor of Theology and Ethics at Candler School of Theology and the Laney Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Emory University. He has been a visiting Professor in ten schools in six countries. His books include King Among the Thologians and From Garvey to Marley.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Oxford University Press
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Published on
Jan 7, 2014
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Pages
240
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ISBN
9780199365135
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Americas (North, Central, South, West Indies)
History / Caribbean & West Indies / General
History / United States / Revolutionary Period (1775-1800)
Religion / Ethnic & Tribal
Religion / Theology
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Nelson A Denis
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Nelson A. Denis tells this powerful story through the controversial life of Pedro Albizu Campos, who served as the president of the Nationalist Party. A lawyer, chemical engineer, and the first Puerto Rican to graduate from Harvard Law School, Albizu Campos was imprisoned for twenty-five years and died under mysterious circumstances. By tracing his life and death, Denis shows how the journey of Albizu Campos is part of a larger story of Puerto Rico and US colonialism.

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Richard S. Newman
An Interview with the Author on the History News Network

A Founding Father with a Vision of Equality: Richard Newman's op-ed in The Philadelphia Inquirer

Author Spotlight in The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

"Gold" Winner of the 2008 Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Award, Biography Category

Freedom's Prophet is a long-overdue biography of Richard Allen, founder of the first major African-American church and the leading black activist of the early American republic. A tireless minister, abolitionist, and reformer, Allen inaugurated some of the most important institutions in African-American history and influenced nearly every black leader of the nineteenth century, from Douglass to Du Bois.

Allen (1760–1831) was born a slave in colonial Philadelphia, secured his freedom during the American Revolution, and became one of the nations leading black activists before the Civil War. Among his many achievements, Allen helped form the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, co-authored the first copyrighted pamphlet by an African American writer, published the first African American eulogy of George Washington, and convened the first national convention of black reformers. In a time when most black men and women were categorized as slave property, Allen was championed as a black hero. As Richard S. Newman writes, Allen must be considered one of America's black Founding Fathers.

In this thoroughly engaging and beautifully written book, Newman describes Allen's continually evolving life and thought, setting both in the context of his times. From Allen's early antislavery struggles and belief in interracial harmony to his later reflections on black democracy and black emigration, Newman traces Allen's impact on American reform and reformers, on racial attitudes during the years of the early republic, and on the black struggle for justice in the age of Adams, Jefferson, Madison, and Washington. Whether serving as Americas first black bishop, challenging slaveholding statesmen in a nation devoted to liberty, or visiting the President's House (the first black activist to do so), this important book makes it clear that Allen belongs in the pantheon of Americas great founding figures. Freedom's Prophet reintroduces Allen to today's readers and restores him to his rightful place in our nation's history.

Michael Medved
“It ain’t so much the things we don’t know that get us into trouble,nineteenth-century humorist Josh Billings remarked. “It’s the things we know that just ain’t so.”


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The myths that Medved deftly debunks include:

Myth: The United States is uniquely guilty for the crime of slavery and based its wealth on stolen African labor.

Fact: The colonies that became the United States accounted for, at most, 3 percent of the abominable international slave trade; the persistence of slavery in America slowed economic progress; and the U.S. deserves unique credit for ending slavery.

Myth: The alarming rise of big business hurts the United States and oppresses its people.

Fact: Corporations played an indispensable role in building America, and corporate growth has brought progress that benefits all with cheaper goods and better jobs.

Myth: The Founders intended a secular, not Christian, nation.

Fact: Even after ratifying the Constitution, fully half the state governments endorsed specific Chris­tian denominations. And just a day after approving the First Amendment, forbidding the establishment of religion, Congress called for a national “day of public thanksgiving and prayer” to acknowledge “the many signal favors of Almighty God.”

Myth: A war on the middle class means less comfort and opportunity for the average American.

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Each of the ten lies—widely believed among elites and taught as truth in universities and public schools—is a grotesque, propagandistic distortion of the historical record. For everyone who is tired of hearing America denigrated by people who don’t know what they’re talking about, The 10 Big Lies About America supplies the ammunition necessary to fire back the next time somebody tries to recycle these baseless beliefs. Medved’s witty, well-documented rebuttal is a refreshing reminder that as Americans we should feel blessed, not burdened, by our heritage.


From the Hardcover edition.
Noel Leo Erskine
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