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Links to Online Resources
Related to "The 19th Century" essay:
African American Christianity, Pt. I: To the Civil War
by Laurie Maffly-Kipp, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
©National Humanities Center

UVA Lib.
Slave preaching on a cotton plantation
Slave preaching on a cotton plantation, engraving in The Illustrated London News,
5 Dec. 1863



The Emergence of the African American Church
Section in Part 5 (Religion and the New Republic) of the online exhibition Religion and the Founding of the American Republic, from the Library of Congress

The Church in the Southern Black Community, 1780-1925
Valuable collection of over 100 primary texts (histories, memoirs, sermons, catechisms, church records, etc.), 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. Texts include:

Guide to Religious Content in Slave Narratives in Documenting the American South
Exhaustive list of religious content in the entire collection Documenting the American South (including the section cited above), with references to baptisms, conjuring, the celebration of Christmas, secret prayer meetings, revivals, spirituals, and more.

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 primary texts are:

African American Perspectives: Pamphlets from the Daniel A. P. Murray Collection, 1818-1907
From the Subject Index at, consult the topics African Methodist Episcopal Church, Afro-American Baptists (Presbyterians, etc.), Afro-American Churches, Afro-American Clergy, Christian Life, 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, consult the topics Afro-American Churches, Afro-American Clergy, Afro-American Women, Afro-Americans: Religion. Church and Social Problems, Religious Gatherings, etc. From the Ohio Historical Society and the Library of Congress (American Memory).

Abolition, Antislavery Movements, and the Rise of the Sectional Controversy
Primary texts & images in Part 3 of the online exhibition African American Odyssey, from the Library of Congress.

African American Voices: Religion
Annotated excerpts from primary texts, in Digital History (University of Houston).
Phillis Wheatley, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, 1773

Angelina Grimké, "Appeal to Christiam Women of the South," 1836
Published by the Anti-Slavery Society of New York, from Furman University's 19th-Century Documents Project.

Frederick Douglass: Addresses on Abolition to Eurpean Religious Groups
On this page, scroll down to the section Religion; from the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition (Yale Center for International and Area Studies.

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 relating to African American religion to 1865 include:
Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1938
This collection consists of digital images of the narratives as typed by the interviewers employed in this New Deal project. Therefore a content-based search is time-consuming but well worth the effort.
  • To search the collection for content relating to slave religion, go to the Search page and enter search terms in the Search Full Text window (not the Search Descriptive Information window). Search terms include religion, religious, church, preacher, baptize.
  • To read a sample of narratives that describe slaves' religious practices and experiences, go to the Narrator list State list to access these narratives:
    Charlie Aarons (Alabama, Vol. I)
    John Brown (Oklahoma XIII)
    Lewis Brown (Arkansas II-2)
    Mom Ryer Emmanuel (South Carolina XIV-2)
    Mattie Fannen (Arkansas II-2)
    Harriett Gresham (Florida III)
    Rev. Silas Jackson (Maryland VIII)
    Estella Jones (Georgia IV-2)
    Silvia King (Ex-Slave Stories, Texas 16-2)
    Henry Lewis (Texas XVI-3)
    George McAlilley (South Carolina XIV-3)
    Charlotte Martin (Florida III)
    Mariah Calloway (Georgia IV-1)
    Sarah Douglas (Arkansas II-2)
    Washington Dozier (South Carolina XIV-1)
    Mack Mullen (Florida III)
    Lina Anne Pendergrass
    (South Carolina XIV-3)
    Dennis Simms (Maryland VIII)
    Neil Upson (Georgia IV-4)
    William Ward (Georgia IV-4)
    Henry Wright (Georiga IV-4)
    "Stories of Ex-Slaves"
    (South Carolina XIV-3)


An Introduction to the Church in the Southern Black Community, 1780-1925
Introductory essay to the collection of primary texts in Documenting the American South (see above) by Prof. Laurie Maffly-Kipp, author of this Divining America essay.

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:
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.

The Religion of the Slaves
Lecture in the excellent online series "Religious Life of the United States" (1995), by Dr. Terry Matthews, Wake Forest University.

Slave Religion: "We'll Soon Be Free"
Section in online exhibition "The Cultural Landscape of the Plantation," based on the publication Back of the Big House: The Cultural Landscape of the Plantation, by John Michael Vlach (UNC Press, 1993).

African American Religion
List of course syllabi, e-texts, and websites, from the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion, Wabash College, Indiana.

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 "Black Theodicy: African Americans and Nationalism in the Antebellum North" (Rael, 2000) and "The Reverend Harry Croswell and Black Episcopalians in New Haven, 1820-1860" (Burkett, 2003).

Africans in America
Resources in the website accompanying this PBS/WGBH series (1998).
Slavery and Religion in America: A Timeline, 1440-1866
From the Internet Public Library, University of Michigan School of Information.

Slavery and Christianity
African-American Worship in the Pentecostal and Holiness Movements
Extended essay by Dr. Cheryl J. Sanders, Howard University School of Divinity; on the site Wesley Center Online (Wesley Center for Applied Theology).

Islam in America: From African Slaves to Malcolm X
An introductory essay on this site by Prof. Thomas A. Tweed, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

African Muslim Slaves in America
List-serv discussion among scholars and teachers on H-Africa, an H-Net network.

Omar Ibn Said (Sayyid), enslaved West African Muslim in America (ca. 1773-1864)
African Religious Traditions
Overview of religious traditions brought by the captured African slaves to America, focusing on the Gullah traditions on St. John's Island, South Carolina. Episode entitled "There is a River" in PBS series This Far by Faith: African American Spiritual Journeys.

African-Based Religions
Resource list compiled by an Dr. Mary Ann Clark, an independent scholar in religious studies.

Religious Music: The African Roots
Overview with images and audio clips; part of an NEH seminar project "North by South: The Great Migration."

Grave Matters: The Preservation of African-American Cemeteries
Includes discussion of slave burials and west African traditions, from SciWay (South Carolina's Information Highway)
Vodun (vodou, voodoo), Santeria, and Candomble: overviews and extensive resources


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.

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.

"Like a River Flowing with Living Water": Worshiping in the Mississippi Delta
Overview of African American religious practices that blend African and European traditions, by Joyce Marie Jackson, Louisiana State University; on the website The Mississippi River of Song (PBS/Smithsonian).

The Ring Shout
Overview of the ring shout in the history of African and African-American dance, in the essay "From Slave Ships to Center Stage" by Zita Allen, on the website Free to Dance (PBS/Great Performances).

"Run Old Jeremiah": Echoes of the Ring Shout
Lyrics and audio of a ring shout, as recorded by folklorists in 1934, in History Matters, from the City University of New York (CUNY) and George Mason University.

The McIntosh County (Georgia) Shouters

Entry on the ring shout and its performance by this group, with photographs, in the online New Georgia Encyclopedia.


African American Archaeology Web Resources and Bibliography
Extensive lists compiled by Christopher C. Fennell, Dep't of Anthropology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
African American Archaeology and Religious Artifacts: a representative sample of websites
The Archaeology of Ethnicity in America
Valuable lectures from Prof. Elizabeth M. Brumfiel, Albion College; see lectures #15-20 on African American archaeology. On the site MATRIX (Making Archaeology Teaching Relevant in the XXI Century), Indiana University, Bloomington.

African American Quilting Traditions
Characteristics of African American quilting, including religious symbols; from American Studies at the University of Virginia.

DENOMINATIONS (founded before 1865)

African Methodist Episcopal Church (2004-05)
A.M.E., created in the late 1700s, formally organized 1815)
African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church (2004-05)
A.M.E. Zion, organized 1821)

DENOMINATIONS (founded after 1865)

Christian Methodist Episcopal Church (2004-05)
C.M.E., organized in 1870 as the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church)

National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. (2004-05)
organized 1895)
National Primitive Baptist Convention, Inc. (2004-05)
organized 1907)
National Baptist Convention of America (2004-05)
organized 1915)
Progressive National Baptist Convention (2004-05)
organized 1961)
Pentecostal Denominations (2004-05)
Google directory)

Church of God in Christ, Inc.

Return to 19th-Century Links to Online Resources
Return to "The 19th Century" essay, African American Christianity, Pt. I: To the Civil War

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