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Religion in America

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African American Religion in America in the 1800's Introduction
The act of religious revivals took place in the middle of the eighteenth century. The religious revival quickly swept over the colonies of America. The impact of the religious revival was it resulted in the doctrinal change as well as stimulated and provoked social as well as political thoughts. It was able to have a permanent effect on the religion of America. The act or the revival was also termed as the Great Awakening. This act made Christianity as a religion extremely personal to everyone. It also fostered an intense sense of religious belief and reclamation. It also encouraged and introduced the concept of self-analysis according to the theological perspective and induced a sense committal to the newly established benchmark of personal morality. Consequently, the Second Great Awakening also occurred in the early 19 century. The movement began in the 1800’s. It introduced a set of reforms which was aimed at removing the evils from the society (www.encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com).

The impact of the Great Awakening
The First Great awakening eventually led to a major change and a revolution took place. In the lower county, the Baptist in the northern side and the Methodist preachers aided in converting whites and blacks into Christianity, enslaved them as well as gave them freedom. The blacks were given a warm welcome and were asked to play an active role in the congregations as well as become preachers. The first church of Baptist was made in Virginia in the southern site. It was later also made in the southern side of Carolina along with Georgia. Two Baptist churches were made in Virginia in Petersburg. The result or the consequence of the revival movements was that many left the religion that was followed by the forefathers. This ethos helped willing people for the American Revolution.
The people who were behind the revivals did not challenge the slavery that existed. They preached anyone and everyone regardless of the caste, race or creed they belonged to. They welcomed converts from the black community as well as the white community. The message of Christianity was spreading across about equality. Some slave owners resisted this message and preaching but as the message further spread along. Few of the slave owners were influenced and they considered teaching their slaves the bible.

The African American resident played a crucial role in the process of their own conversion. They were brought to USA and in the beginning they resisted the conversion of the religion which their forefathers had been following. Later as they started living in the American soil, they accepted Christianity. They had a dual purpose of doing it. One was that they found the religion to be acceptable and secondly accepting the religion Christianity was a major process of accepting USA as home. Overtime, many slave owners, started the practice of teaching their slaves Biblical teachings, the African American slaves found the message appealing and hence converted to Christianity (Lambert, 1995).

Prominent Personalities involved in the Great Awakening
There were many prominent personalities that contributed to the revival of the religious movement. Personalities like Andrew Bryan, The protégés of George Liele along with David George were the first people to build a Baptist oriented churches in the southern side of Carolina and Georgia. These churches were built when the revolution was at its peak.

George Liele
By going through the history back in the year of 1700s and 1800s, It is interesting knowing that numerous historians felt that United State of America’s missionary in the category of overseas service goes to George Liele. George was born in Virginia in the year 1752 but lived the majority of his life as a slave residing in Georgia. He was born to slave family and their names were Liele and Nancy. He was taken away from his parents when he was a child like many other slaves. From his fellow slaves, he heard second hand stories
Like many slaves, he was separated from his parents when he was very young. All he knew about his father was from second-hand stories that related that the elder Liele was a deeply religious man. George could never confirm about his parents as he lived in many states of America when he was young and lived most of his time in Georgia. He learnt from people around that his father was an African American who was close spiritually and to God. George Liele was one of the first African American Baptist in Georgia. The first African American Baptist church was a result of his preaching. He was converted to baptism by Mathew Moore who was also a Baptist minister.
George initially began annotating the Scriptures to those who couldn’t read or write amidst the slaves. Formally George had no training in learning as well as annotating the bible but he gradually learned to read and learn the Bible, and at the same time was able to provide explanation of the Scriptures to the other slaves around. George’s ability to explain effectively to slave got him a fine success in the ministry. The ministry attained the attention of George Liele who was the pastor of the church. Upon being encouraged by the minister, George Leile was given the church license so that George could preach at a larger scale. At the same time, George felt that he should start preaching.
He was further encouraged by his owner master called Henry Sharp. Henry Sharp was not only a Baptist leacon but also a loyalist at the same time. George also became a probationer soon after he was licensed in the year of 1773. George was freed by his master Henry before the revolutionary war initiated. Henry Sharp died after the revolutionary battle in the year 1778. George soon shifted to Savannah which was occupied by the British. George initiated a congregation for the African American Baptists after few years, which included the slaves, as well as democratic people. It also included David George’s group who use to attend his congregation. Another converts through him was Andrew Bryan also was one of the converts through George Liele.
As soon as Liele settled to Kingston he made a church on his personal property. There was a lot of prosecution inflicted by the whites, but Liele bared it all. Despite the high level or prosecution, Liele’s church flourished. His church was under routine inspection for every prayer or sermon that was conducted. It was tolerated by all. Liele was given the right to preach and teach enslaved African Americans on the plantation and settlements. By the year of 1791, Liele was able to baptize four hundred people in Jamaica. It included 350 African American and the rest were whites (www.gfamissions.org).
As he was preaching, Liele also focused on promoting a free school been made for the African American children who would be taught by the deacon. He also focused on people in the congregation whom he taught, and they were also able to read and write. In the mean time, George also kept communicating with his fellow members such as David George, Andrew Bryan and many of the Baptist members which he converted.
By the year of 1790, Liele had immigration to Jamaica along with his Loyalists. He also made it a point that he constantly preached the three fifty converts (www.christiantimelines.com).

David George
David was a slave from the mere start since he was born into slavery. He was born in the year of 1742 in Virginia. Since David George was born into slavery, he had seen his mother being brutally whipped until she bled . He had also seen one of his brothers being whipped to death nearly. He knew what his future would entail and that is what stimulated him fee off. In order to free himself from slavery, he ran off for about 200 miles and hid himself in South of Carolina for several years. When he ran off he met some white travelers who supported him. He was given a job and he worked with them for some time when he learnt that there was a monetary prize kept for him. Upon learning, he instantly left that place and started working for another man. He worked for few years and again fled but this time he was caught by an innate leader known as Blue Salt. George became the innate leader’s prize and he was liable to work for him. George felt at ease with them since the natives treated them in a very kind and generous manner. David George’s master was able to locate him and paid the native leader Rum, along with linen and a gun in return of George. In order to avoid spending the same life that he had seen his mother and brothers living, David George ran off again but he was again captured. This time, a man named Gualphin enslaved him. David George worked under Galphin for the next four years. In the mean time David George got married and had a child.
In the initiation of the American War, the ardent preachers were forced to discontinue from preaching the African American communities. David George learnt to read as well as write by listing down with the support of the children of the master and at the same time trying to learn the alphabets along with the other words whilst utilizing the bible as a form of base. In order to understand more, David George began to read the bible and as well as conducting the preaching services.
With the permission of David George’s master, David was released and he became a free man. He was then given a job as a food broker for the British and their troops in the city of Savannah. He was also allowed to conducting the preaching services for the African American people. George Liele was also in a similar situation. When the war was on the verge of ending, few of the British managed to arrange for him a safe and secure way to Nova Scotia.
From the year, of 1773 to the year of 1775, David along with his family and slaves which were six in number owned by George Galphin were preached Christianity and they were baptized. All of them were baptized by white Baptist Itinerant known as Joshua Palmer. There was a proclamation by Dunmore which stated that white Baptist ministers are not allowed to preach slaves. They weren’t allowed to preach slaves who didn’t show knowledge. George then took the responsibility of teaching the silver bluff group. With the help of Galphins, David was able to educate himself with bible. The church flourished under the leadership of David. The number of churches grew from being eight to thirty. Liele, the black Baptist, preached in a congregation (www.pbs.org).
George had to immigrate and get settled in the city of Shelburne. He then quickly became renowned black preachers. He founded the first Baptist Church in the city of Shelburne and then second in the city of Nova Scotia. His mode of preaching was able to attract both the communities, which was the, black communities and as well as the white community.
When the British arrived, there was a sense of competition building up between the African American and whites in terms of jobs and in terms of resources. In the year of 1784, innumerable riots broke out when David tried baptizing the whites. The army trued driving the Negroes out of the town by forcing them. They destructed the houses of the Negroes. David was also threatened by a band of soldiers not to preach else the consequences are going to be worse. David and his family fled to a town called Birch town where they settled. He obtained a preaching license. He faced a lot of opposition from the black Anglicans and threatened him to return to Shelburne. He was able to have an immense following. David was able to make seven churches (www.blackloyalist.com).

Andrew Bryan
He was born in the year of 1737 in Southern part of Carolina. Andrew was the founder of the first African Baptist Church. He worked as a planter and then was arrested along with his brother for preaching. This plantation also became a centralized place where a set of planters were dissented to evangelize slaves.
In 1782, Bryan and his wife called Hannah were baptized by George Liele. Even after, Liele and his follower left the place because of the British Andrew never stopped preaching and continued to do so for small groups outside the area of Savannah. He eventually built a place for his followers, which also included few whites. He bought in 350 people who couldn’t be converted because their masters did not allow doing.
There was a high fear of the uprisings of the slave as well as the desertions to the British. So the masters forbid their slaves to attend the preaching and congregation of Andrew Bryan. Whenever somebody came to attend the congregation, be it a slave or a free man, they were harassed, whipped and then were jailed. Andrew was also imprisoned. Many followers protested against the imprisonment. Later he was released, but he didn’t stop preaching. He used to preach in the plantation inside a barn during daytime.
There was a positive effect seen in slaves by the white masters in Savannah. Bryan was subsequently given the certification in the year of 1788 to continue preaching. Later when Bryans master died, he was able to purchase his freedom. In the year of 1794, Bryan Andrews was able to construct a church by the money he raised and had a congregation of 700 people.
Bryan Andrews died in the year of 1812 after having a property of his own on which he built a house. He resided in Savannah. Later his only daughter married a free man also picked up the same religion. She was married to a free man. She had seven children, and they adopted the same religion as their enslaved mother (www.georgiaencyclopedia.org).

Schism and Controversy
Regardless of the opposition faced by the African Americans from the white’s in Savannah, the very first Baptist church grew consistently the first few decades of the nineteenth century. In the year of 1802, the authority of the church which consisted of elders arranged and organized another congregation. The second Baptist Church that was made had an overcrowded adherent following. The second church accommodated around 800 members and beyond which belonged to the charter congregation. By the year of 1831, the First African Baptist church confirmed up to 2700 members in totality.
Irrespective of the large number of adherent following of baptism, the city of Savannah had a restriction and the African American Baptists were still restricted and confined to the area’s code of racial etiquette. In the year of 1832, Andrew Marshal became Andre Bryans successor. He broke the code of conduct which was placed by Savannah, and he sent an invite to the white evangelists on behalf of the Baptist Congregation. The White evangelists used to teach the concept of equality amidst the different races that exist before God. There were severe actions taken and Andrew faced severe consequences. The Baptist Association of white’s belonging to Sunbury immediately suspended Andrew Marshall for some time. Andrew Marshall was then reinstated and bought back to the designation he was in earlier. As soon as he was reinstated; a total number of 155 members had withdrawn and later on joined the 3rd African Baptist Church. This church was later renamed as the first Bryan Baptist church.
Following the separation or the schism, the African as well as the Bryan church persisted to constantly grow. The relationship between the First African and the first Bryan congregations continued to be friendly until the year of 1880s. The conflict had arisen because the churches congregation claimed that they were the oldest church in the northern side of America.
In the year of 1888, the Missionary convention developed as well as appointed a committee to solve the situation between the two churches congregation. The missionary was given the responsibility make a decision based on facts before June. The centennial celebration was to take place in June. After the missionary committee reviewed all the documents and church histories for facts, the committee openly determined and declared that the First African was the actual descendant of the Andrew Bryan's original congregation as well as the oldest African American church (www.nps.gov).…...

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