liv'sEssay - The Black Church And African American Politics...

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The Black Church And African American Politics By CONTACT _Con-41EE2FB01 \c \s \l Olivia Simons Religion in America Honors January 24, 2010 “Yes We Can!” It is a phrase that was chanted at every one of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign rallies in 2008. Obama’s campaign rhetoric communicated a vision of hope, change, and belief. This was a familiar message to the African Americans who remember the struggle and
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oppression of the Civil Rights Movement. Obama is the first African American to be elected president in the United States. This historical event has stimulated discussions about the role race and religion play in American politics. Barack Obama’s relationship with Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago and pastor Jeremiah Wright Jr., a leader in the Black Church, threatened the success of his presidential campaign. Obama did not want to be known as the “Black” candidate. He needed the votes of both whites and African Americans to win. Obama feared he would lose “white votes” if he were too closely identified with the Black Church. In contrast, during the 20 th century, the “Black Church” united the African American community and created a power base that elevated pastors to political leaders and influenced public policy in America. Approximately two thirds of African Americans are Christian, whose religious institutions reflect a variety of non-Roman Catholic churches. Dating back to the time of slavery, African Americans were religious beings. Even in times of slavery, “the slaves embraced Christianity and blended it with their own African culture.” (Donald T. Phillips) It is evident that the Black Church created a place for the African American community to unite and address the social challenges unique to its experience. Religious educators Eric Lincoln and Lawrence H. Mamiya noted that, “the Black Church has historically been a source of hope and strength for the African Community.” Many used this strength to persevere through hard times. The Black Church created a framework to address these social challenges unique to its experience. As time went on, free African Americans began to, "organize themselves into social groups and create a society and culture of their own design. As a matter of fact, post-Revolutionary War America brought a wave of African-American institution-building that lasted approximately forty years.” ( Martin Luther King, Jr. on Leadership, Donald T. Phillips) These social groups became
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increasingly more structured and organized, allowing African-Americans to peruse their goals more effectively. In the early twentieth century, African American religion underwent a process of diversification as an increasing number of blacks began to migrate from the rural South to the cities of both the North and the South. In her recently released book,   Your Spirits Walk Beside Us, Barbara Savage writes
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This note was uploaded on 12/12/2010 for the course ACCT 307 taught by Professor Murray during the Spring '10 term at Central Texas College.

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liv'sEssay - The Black Church And African American Politics...

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