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Slaves and Religion: A Blend of African Religion and European Christianity

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US History Age Level N/A

This collection of items shows things like items and objects that were used to carry out religious ceremonies of the enslaved African people. This collection will also look at what exactly religion was and looked like during slavery times. The Africans that were brought over to the Americas for the purpose of slavery had no knowledge of Christianity or any other European religion. Africans had their own beliefs and since brought over to slavery, could no longer practice them freely. Slaves were eventually exposed to Christianity by their slave masters  and that was the only religion that the master permitted. Slaves ultimately saw the European religion, Christianity, as possible freedom.  The slaves often resisted the teachings and exposure of Christianity because of their strong commitment and belief in their motherland religion. Eventually there was a mixture of the slaves original religion back in their homeland and the newly learned Christianity. Enslaved people also eventually appealed to Christianity and turned it into a possible road to freedom. This was no good sign for slave masters, which soon leads to punishment of things like open worship and Bible reading. We will be looking at many things in this collection from items to secret gathering places that the slaves used.

The Lord Is My Shepherd

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Antislavery Medallion

National Museum of American History

Ceremonial Object

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Absalom Jones

National Portrait Gallery

Wooden drum used on the Sea Islands, South Carolina

National Museum of African American History and Culture

A Rural Baptist Church

Virginia Baptist Historical Society

Ritual object

National Museum of African Art

River Baptism (Southern Baptism; Negro Baptism)

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Bishop Richard Allen

National Portrait Gallery

Slave songs of the United States

Smithsonian Libraries