Emergence of African Religious Movements Essay

Essay On Emergence of African religious movements:

Blacks in the United States for a long time bore the brunt of discrimination on all fronts and as such, they always sought the way of freeing themselves. They wanted to establish their own distinct culture in quest for identity. African religious movements came to be vital tool of emancipation. African American religion therefore provided a form of identity to the African American people not to mention it was a form of silent protest to the white-dominated and repressive society. Interestingly, as much as it is meant to provide an all- African culture, there were numerous “taints” of European cultures (Salmond, 35).

As stated earlier, the reason for rise of African religious movements were anchored on the increasing discrimination of the white society towards their black-Americans. The black Americans lived as slaves in the farms of the whites, with no or shanty housing not to mention the discriminative education system against their children. Such other social services such as Medicare where conducted under the same discriminative policies. Religious movements included mainstream denominations, messianic- nationalist sects and conversionist sects. The mainstream denominations concentrated on social reform strategy that they hoped would eventually lead to inclusion of Africans in the political economy. These denominations supported mass action and programs meant to uplift African Americans (Salmond, 39).

On the other hand, the messianic-nationalist sects were founded around individuals who were thought saviors of African Americans from repressive American society. These sects sought to assert the identity of their followers and correct the insulting “Negro tag”. The conversionist sects were more expressive and at times, they did participate in social activism as a way of fighting for their rightful place in the society. Thaumaturgic sects’ were civil in their quest for equal society. They held that to achieve social prosperity they had to instill positive attitude (Salmond, 34).

The African religious movements in the wake achieved some degree of progress. The African Americans could now identify with their culture; they could do their own music, their rituals and even associate (Knotts, 23). Emergency of African religious movement played was instrumental in the long fight of African Americans for their inclusion in the bigger society and share in the American dream. The various activitist movements drove the message home. This accelerated the pace of social and economic reforms to include African Americans. As I write this, the American society is equal and tolerant than ever before. However, much need to be done to defuse the racial tensions that are normally a characteristic of American social relations (Knotts, 26).

Work cited

Knotts, A. G. Fellowship of love: Methodist women changing American racial attitudes, 1920-1968, Nashville, Tenn: Kingswood Books, 1996

Salmond, John A. Southern Struggles: The Southern Labor Movement and the Civil Rights Struggle, Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2004. Print.


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