African American Slave Religion

Published: 2022-05-17
African American Slave Religion
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Religion Slavery
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 907 words
8 min read

Majority of African American slaves were Christians, and just a few of them were of other religions. In spite of the fact that change of slaves to Christianity was to some degree disputable in the early years of slave exchange, it turned out to be more far-reaching at the season of the American Revolution. Slaves figured out how to safeguard their conventions to some degree and made a more unmistakable African American religion through joining them with Christianity. This Afro- Christianity involved practices which were performed by slaves even inside the extremely constrained space they had in their life. In this paper, I will investigate the change of slaves to Christianity, their unique slave's religions and the religious practices of African American slaves.

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Slaves' conversion to Christianity

Slaves that were foreign made into the British settlements normally originated from West Central Africa. These individuals originated from clans that as of now had exceedingly created religions. African innate religions assumed an essential part of individuals' day to day life. Strikingly Christianity was utilized by numerous to legitimize the slave exchange as it was trusted that these 'agnostics' were being 'spared'. In spite of these convictions, changing over slaves was disputable amid the initial years of slave exchange. Different components of Christianity were in guide inconsistency to the possibility of subjugation, henceforth changes were not as far reaching in the start of subjection, in the southern states, as they later turned out to be. The existence of the Biblical conviction that Christians ought not to hold different Christians hostage, which means if a slave was changed over he or she ought to be liberated. Likewise, it was dreaded slaves would respect themselves equivalent to their lords once changed over which could prompt protection or even disobedience. Just in 1729, it was authoritatively decided that change did not have any outcomes concerning a slave's legitimate and economic wellbeing. Also, it was expected that transformation would meddle with the working framework, as slaves should take a shot at Sundays as opposed to going to mass.

The African Religious Traditions

African individuals who were caught and brought into subjection, as of now had profoundly created religions. Few Africans had just known that Christianity existed through the preaching of the African evangelists. By far most of them held conventional indigenous religions and right off the bat experienced Christianity in the New World. The slaves originated from the West bank of Africa, a district with a few hundred distinct religions. Every one of these religions shifted altogether and even varied from town to town. The essential standards and examples, be that as it may, demonstrated solid likenesses and in a general sense the religions can be respected similarly.

By and large, African religions had confidence in one God, and various 'lesser Gods,' who fluctuated locally. God was seen as the Creator of everything, except the general population loved their lesser gods. Progenitors are vital in these African religious customs as it was trusted that they were conceived again in their relatives. It is likewise. Therefore, funerals are critical, and it was of first significance that these occurred concurring ceremonies, as the dead would be conceived once more. Also, dead progenitors possessed power or impact to "favor or revile the living," which additionally clarifies why they were regarded and venerated to such an extent. More established individuals were viewed as nearer to these worshiped predecessors and consequently held a special position in these social orders.

Religious Practices of Slaves and Slave Agency

African customs would never have survived in a new environment, however when taking a look at the life of the slaves about religion, a mystery religious life that was so exceptionally built up, to the extent of developing into what could be termed 'mystery chapels.' Slaves held secretive religious meetings outside the cotton estates they were working in at night. They called these get-togethers "stealin' the meetin'." They had a comprehension among themselves with regards to the time and place.

The mystery religious life gave slaves a type of self-governance as they could hold their gatherings and figure out what they did amid those gatherings. The sentiment self-sufficiency slaves picked up with the gatherings made them into specialists in their particular manner. Other than the component of self-sufficiency, the gatherings likewise gave the slaves positive feelings


Previously Africans had their own beliefs and had their form of worship. They also believed in ancestral spirits, nature, and magic. Despite believing their African religion, a change in environment as slaves led to them being converted to Christianity since it gave them hope for freedom. However, there were restrictions as they were not allowed to form gatherings of worship because the natives feared that they would find freedom.

Conversion of slaves to Christianity prompted them to do away with some of their cultures, for example, blood sacrifice that is essential in their culture. They also the adopted new practices like Bible reading and praying to God unlike worshiping nature that they were used to.

To a large extent they contributed in the way the current black church culture due to their in cooperation of some of their tradition in the church service, this includes: dancing, drumming, and singing.


Fountain, Daniel, L, (1967), slavery, civil war and salvation: African American slavery and Christianity 1830-1870

Levine, L. W. (1978). Black culture and black consciousness: Afro-American folk thought from slavery to freedom (Vol. 530). Oxford University Press, USA.

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