The Church in the Southern Black Community, 1780-1925
Valuable collection of over 100 primary texts (histories, memoirs, sermons, catechisms, church records, etc.), including The Negro Church (Du Bois, 1903), Afro-American Encyclopedia . . . and a History of the Denominations (Haley, 1895), The Evolution of the Negro Baptist Church (Brooks, 1922), History of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (Payne, 1891). and From Log Cabin to the Pulpit (Robinson, 1913). In Documenting the American South from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Libraries (the collection is also a part of the American Memory collection of the Library of Congress, at memory.loc.gov/ammem/award99/ncuhtml/csbchome.html).
An Introduction to the Church in the Southern Black Community, 1780-1925
Introductory essay to the collection of primary texts (see above) by Prof. Laurie Maffly-Kipp, author of this Divining America essay.
African American Perspectives: Pamphlets from the Daniel A. P. Murray Collection, 1818-1907
From the Subject Index at memory.loc.gov/ammem/aap/murraybibsubjindex1.html, consult the topics African Methodist Episcopal Church, Afro-American Baptists (Presbyterians, etc.), Afro-American Churches, Afro-American Clergy, Christian Life, National Baptist Convention, Sermons, etc. From the Library of Congress (American Memory).
The African-American Experience in Ohio, 1850-1920: Selections from the Ohio Historical Society
Newspaper articles, periodicals, images and more. From the Subject Index at memory.loc.gov/ammem/award97/ohshtml/aaeosubjindex.html, consult the topics Afro-American Churches, Afro-American Clergy, Afro-American Women, Afro-Americans: Religion (386 items), Church and Social Problems, Religious Gatherings, etc. From the Ohio Historical Society and the Library of Congress (American Memory).
W. E. B. Du Bois, The Negro Church. 1903
Subtitled Report of a Social Study Made under the Direction of Atlanta University; Together with the Proceedings of the Eighth Conference for the Study of the Negro Problems, held at Atlanta University, May 26th, 1903, in Documenting the American South, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Libraries.
W. E. B. Du Bois, "Of the Faith of the Fathers," 1903
Chapter Ten of Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk, from American Studies at the University of Virginia.
Booker T. Washington, The Religious Life of the Negro, 1905
Brief essay published in the North American Review; from the University of Virginia Electronic Text Center.
African American Women Writers of the Nineteenth Century
Memoirs, essays, fiction, and poetry; from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library. Titles related to religion include:
For more online primary sources, go to Primary Sources.
African-American Religion: A Documentary History Project (AARDOC)
Online component of a project housed at Amherst College that is producing a three-part, multi-volume series with primary texts and scholars’ commentary. Online resources include:
The North Star: A Journal of African American Religious History
Online resources from this periodical (housed at Vassar College) include articles and primary texts with commentary, including "The Reverend Harry Croswell and Black Episcopalians in New Haven, 1820-1860" (Burkett, 2003), "Du Bois’ Souls: Thoughts on ‘Veiled’ Bodies and the Study of Black Religion" (Pinn, 2003), and "The African Methodist Episcopal Church Media and Racial Discourse, 1880-1900" (Little, 1998).
African American Religious Experience
Brief helpful overview in the online Encyclopedia of Religion and Society from the Hartford Institute for Religion Research, Hartford Seminary, Rhode Island.
This Far by Faith: African American Spiritual Journeys, from PBS
Episode Three in this five-part PBS series is "1866-1945: From Emancipation to Jim Crow" at
Reconstruction: The Role of the Black Church
Overview with images, in African American Odyssey: A Quest for Full Citizenship, from the Library of Congress (American Memory).
Reconstruction: Building the Black CommunityThe Church
Part of an annotated image presentation, in America’s Reconstruction: Race and Politics after the Civil War, from Digital History.
Historical articles, photographs, links digital images and text of early issues of Apostolic Faith (and one page marketing Azusa-related CDs and books); created by Rev. Curtis Bond, Graysville, Indiana.
Azusa Street Revival
Two articles in Enrichment Journal: A Journal of Pentecostal Ministry (Fall 1999), on the website of the Assemblies of God.
The Origins of Pentecostalism
Clear historical overview including the Azusa Street Revival and aftermath, by Vinson Synan; from Oral Roberts University.
"‘There is Magic in Print’: The Holiness-Pentecostal Press and the Origins of Southern Pentecostalism"
Article by Randall J. Stephen, The University of Florida, in Journal of Southern Religion, December 2002.
A Multi-Racial Movement in the Baltimore YWCA, 1883-1926
35 well-annotated documents, from Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1775-2000, from SUNY-Binghamton.
An online community for people of African descent and others interested in the African and African American Christian experience.
Bible Pictorial Quilt by Harriet Powers (1837-1911)
Overview and analysis of the Bible quilt produced by Harriet Powers, a former slave, and exhibited in the "Colored Building" (African American Exhibition Hall) of the 1895 Cotton States Exhibition in Atlanta.
African American Quilting Traditions
Characteristics of African American quilting, including religious symbols; from American Studies at the University of Virginia.
Slave Songs of the United States, 1867, by William Francis Allen
Overview, lyrics, and sheet music for over 130 African American spirituals, in Documenting the American South from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Libraries.
Negro Spirituals, 1867, by Thomas Wentworth Higginson
Lyrics and annotations for over 35 spirituals, from the University of Virginia Electronic Text Center
The Spirituals Project
From this home page, click "The Spirituals" to access a eight-part history of African American spirituals (see left frame links). From the University of Denver.
African Methodist Episcopal Church (A.M.E., created in the late 1700s, formally organized 1815)
African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church (A.M.E. Zion, organized 1821)
Christian Methodist Episcopal Church (C.M.E., organized in 1870 as the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church)
National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. (organized 1895)
National Primitive Baptist Convention, Inc. (organized 1907)
National Baptist Convention of America (organized 1915)
Progressive National Baptist Convention (organized 1961)
Church of God in Christ, Inc.
Images of African Americans from the 19th Century: Religion
34 illustrations and photographs, from Digital Schomburg, The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library.
Images of African American Life in Georgia, 1890-1900, collected by W. E. B. Du Bois et al. for the 1900 Paris Exposition
At this search page, enter the words church and religion (click "Match any of these words") to access over twenty-five images of churches and religious activities.
Through the Lens of Time: Images of African Americans from the Cook Collection of Photographs
Photographs taken by the white photographers George Cook and his son Huestes Cook in Virginia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries; at this page, select Religion in the subject menu. From Virginia Commonwealth University Library.
Reconstruction Era: African American Houses of Worship
Overview and photos of twenty-two churches, in Reconstruction: The Second Civil War, from PBS.
The First Colored Baptist Church in North America, 1788
Illustration from 1888, in The African Presence in the America, 1492-1992, from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library.
Return to 19th-Century Links to Online Resources
Return to "The 19th Century" essay, African American Christianity, Pt. II: From the Civil War to the Great Migration, 1865-1920
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Revised: February 2007