One thing that this class has been pushing since the very beginning is the fact that there is not such thing as a black church. As a society, we tend to think that there is a black church and a white church. But over this course, the literature that we have read has proven that that sterotype is incorrect. This last reading proves it as well. Just
as trees are made up of different branches and twigs, the black religious community has different congregations, communities and denominations.
The Civil Rights Movement was at the center of America in the 50’s and 60’s/ This movement significantly helped mold and shape modern black christianity. Christianity was at the forefront of the movement and some of the ideologies from the bible and Richard Gregg and Ghandi helped Martin Luther King Jr. keep his peace. Because of these two things (christianity and the movement), they influenced each other so much that it even reflected onto gospel music. The song, “We Shall Overcome,” is a prime example of this. I grew up hearing this song a lot, especially during black history month in February. Here is a video of Mahalia Jackson singing “We Shall Overcome.”
I think that the passage about W.E.B DuBois was strange, but also well needed. Throughout our readings thus far, we have mainly heard from very religious, God fearing people. This is one of the only passages that we have read yet that has challenged this stigma. Since DuBois was a man who identified as agnostic, it was good to see his point of views in contrast with other point of views that we have previously read about. I also found it interesting that this weeks reading evoked thoughts and about previous weeks readings.
The fact that Richard Allen was converted to be a Methodist when he was 17 and stayed devoted shocked me. According to this reading, he seems very adamant that no other section of Christianity is greater than the Methodists. The way that his master treated him was interesting. He seemed to be more of the benevolent kind.
In chapter 8, I see some ideas from Sister Kelly’s writings that the church I grew up in still believes today. One quote that stuck out to me was when she writes, “honey, right now, you young folks is blind, deaf and dumb to the knowledge of God’s name; that can’t last, you gonna change do you hear me? We can’t do no good unless we got God in our heart, and our heads, too.” This is something that I have heard reiterated over and over again. Older people always think that that younger people are too wordly and full of sin and do not know God. Later on, Sister Kelly goes on to claim that young people in general are just awful. I wonder what she would have to say if she saw today’s current generation.
Something I found interesting in the reading of Raboteau was the relationship between slave owners and their slaves in the religious aspect. Christianity was forced onto slaves and was used as an excuse by their owners to overwork them. I have always known that slavery was a very harsh and horrible thing, but when I read things like they thought slaved deserved to be overworked because they were accused of being pagans, it makes me upset. The fact that slave owners were so power hungry that they even controlled what the slaves faith was is appalling to me, but at the same time it is not.
I found things interesting in this reading. When I think about religion in African American society, I automatically think of Christianity. It intrigued me to see how before Africans were brought to America through slavery, their religions were so diverse and full of things that are not found in traditional Christianity, such as speaking to the ancestors and believing in reincarnation. The reading also changed my idea of cults from being completed negative to indifferent. Santeria is actually making a pretty big comeback in Cuba. It has even been named “Cuba’s New Favorite Religion,” even though it is not new. Here is a link to an article about how Santeria has emerged from Cuba’s shadows: https://news.vice.com/article/santeria-is-cubas-new-favorite-religion