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AFAM BOOK NOTES: Slave Community Enslavement, Acculturation, and African Survivals p63 Comparing whites enslaved by African Muslims, Blassingame wrote that the degree to which they (whites) became Islamicized depended on "the length of their enslavement, treatment while in bondage, age, association with other slaves from their country, and the proselytizing zeal of their masters. An impressive number . .. were able to resist ... because their enslavement was so short. They were among the fortunate whites who were ransomed." "Arican slaves brought to the Americas could not look forward to being ransomed. . .." p63 African slaves had to change many things in order to adjust to live in a new world: language, culture, and . .. p64 Picture "Ransom of white slaves" p65 ... religion. p65 Compared to slaves in Latin America, American slaves retained relatively little of their African culture because slave imports ended much earlier (no reinforcement of AFrican culture by newcomers), and southern churches were much more active at prosyletizing Africans than the Latin American Catholic Church. In large part, this was because the Latin American Church was so closely connected to the state that it had little room for independent action of any sort. p66 Latin American clergy were more likely to take part in the slave trade than their North American counterparts. p66 Even those clergy who wanted to condemn the slave trade in Latin America faced the growing influence of colonial planters, who complained to the state that priests' sermons might foment slave rebellion. p67 "By the nineteenth century, Catholic humanism had lost its battle with colonial materialism." Catholic priests preached obedience to slaves, and one claimed that "confession is the antidote to slave insurrection." p68 African slaves faced another barrier to religious services in Latin America--they cost money. Between 1820s and 1860s in Cuba, a baptism cost 75› to one dollar, and a burial cost $5.00 to $7.50.
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p70 In the royal charters of the southern US colonies of the 17th century, there were specific requirements to christianize the slaves. p72 Many Africans had little trouble adopting Christianity because it preached many of the same beliefs that were central to African religions--supreme being, creation myths, priest-healers, moral and ethical systems. Christianity's "life after death" was also attractive because it offered the promise that they would someday regain contact with their ancestors. A Baptist missionary to the Yoruba of Nigeria in 1853 observed that they had words for monotheistic god, sin, guilt, . .. p73 ... sacrifice, intercession, repentance, faith, pardon, adoption; and they believed in heaven and hell. p73
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