AMERICANS, EXODUS, AND THE AMERICAN ISRAEL
DurioG the past two
research on African American religious beliefs and
has challenged an aider focus on the institutional and in!eilectual life of
white, middle-class Protestantism. This research demonstrates that African religious
life has been an integral part of American religious history. At the same time, an oider
scholarship that emphasized the .:: /wiencies
,lacK lire, compared
has been overtaken
a new approach that, whiie underscor;ng
the heavy toii of ,vnite racism, nevertheless stresses the capacity of African Americans
to adapt creatively to their hostile environment. Perhaps more than any other scholar,
Albert Raboteau has led this contemoorary emergence of African American religious
history. in the foiio'Ming
Raboteau dernonstl dtes how African slaves found
within European American Protestantism a theology of history that they adapted to
help them make sense of their enslavement. In the Exodus story, in particular, African
slaves found a narrative V-lith broad implications for their own situation to which
tney gave a radically new meaning.
the land for me,
And leI' God's saints
There was a wicked man,
He kept them children in Egypt land.
Canaan land is the land for me,
And let God's saints come in.
God did say to Moses one da}\
Say, Moses, go to Egypt land,
And tell him to let my people go.
Canaan land is the land for me, .
il.nd let God's saints come in.
Reprinted by permission from Albert J. Raboteau, "African Americans, Exodus, and the American
African American Christianity: Essays
Paul E. Johnson, ed. (Berkeley: California,