Albert Raboteau's Slave Religion

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As a category of American religious history, African-American religious life and the history behind it has often forgotten or briefly summarized in most historians’ work. Prior to the 1970’s, most history written on African-American religion was vague, often just trivial paragraphs in textbooks and considered irrelevant to our nation’s religious history. But as time progressed, history was revisited to show African-American’s having a more prominent voice in America’s religious culture. One historian, Ulrich Bonnell Phillips wrote one of the earliest collections of slave history and life, American Negro Slavery. This book, written in 1918, shaped the perception of what slavery was like for most who did not experience the institution, but …show more content…
Albert Raboteau’s, Slave Religion “The Invisible Institution” in the Antebellum South, is a chronicle of the slaves’ religious life during the early part of the 18th century, up until after the Civil War. Raboteau, being an African American himself, almost seems like he wrote this book to show he has a purpose for being a historian, which shows in his writing. The underlying theme this book asks is how could blacks accept a religion that was seen to justify slavery. This theme is disputed by Raboteau in arguing African-American Christians established their own evangelical rituals and customs that shaped their identity as African-Americans and used faith to challenge racism against their community …show more content…
As time passed and more historians began to write about the history in a more sensitive manner, they used Raboteau’s work as a standard to follow. Laurie Maffy-Kipp, an associate professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill wrote the academic article The Church in the Southern Black Community: Introduction, published in 2001. This article contained a general overview of the history and customs African-American churches in the South after emancipation of the slaves, having features Raboteau wrote in 1978, mentioning the slave’s assimilation into Northern and Southern white churches, with the addition of African customs to their ceremonies to add a sense of community. Errol Henderson, also the author of another academic article about slave religion, Slave Religion, Slave Hiring, and the Incipient Proletarianzation of Enslaved Black Labor, used elements found in Raboteu’s book. Henderson proves justification of slave revolts with religious aspects, using important African American philosophers, like W.E.B. DuBois who’s argument about black participation in the Civil War delved into his writing and used examples mentioned in Raboteau’s like prewar experiences of slaves and revolts included about religious frustration of the slaves. Both are accurate

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