African American slaves (and freedmen) turned wholeheartedly to Christianity for their lifeblood's sustenance, but how this occurred has always been something of a mystery. In exhaustively reviewing all that's known about the period, Mitchell dispels a number of misconceptions. 184 pages, softcover. Eerdmans.
Black Church Beginnings provides an intimate look at the struggles of African Americans to establish spiritual communities in the harsh world of slavery in the American colonies. Written by one of today's foremost experts on African American religion, this book traces the growth of the black church from its start in the mid-1700s to the end of the nineteenth century. As Henry Mitchell shows, the first African American churches didn't just organize; they labored hard, long, and sacrificially to form a meaningful, independent faith. Mitchell insightfully takes readers inside this process of development. He candidly examines the challenge of finding adequately trained pastors for new local congregations, confrontations resulting from internal class structure in big city churches, and obstacles posed by emerging denominationalism. Original in its subject matter and singular in its analysis, Mitchell's Black Church Beginnings makes a major contribution to the study of American church history.
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