Religion in Black America
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (September 2009)|
Black Americans were evangelized by the whites who brought them to the U.S., and the religious persuasions of African Americans today largely parallel the religious persuasions of the slavemasters who owned their ancestors.
Enslaved Africans brought their religious traditions with them to the United States, which included principally traditional indigenous African religions. While this religious tradition largely died out under the regime of slavery, some remnants do remain, especially in the area of Black religious music, which is distinct from traditional Anglo religious music, emphasizing emotion and repetition more intensely than Anglo religious music.[dubious ]
Most African slaves embraced Christianity, particularly evangelical Protestantism. There are several reasons this occurred: Often, slaves were forced to adopt the religion of their owners, which accounts, for instance, for the dominance of the Baptist faith among African Americans today, as a large number of slave owners in pre-Civil War times were Baptists.
Many clergy within evangelical Protestantism actively promoted the idea that all Christians were equal in the sight of God, a message that provided hope and sustenance to oppressed slaves. Worship was also allowed in ways that many Africans found to be similar, or at least adaptable, to African worship patterns, with enthusiastic singing, clapping, and dancing.