LISTEN: Slavery in Mainland Latin America, Part 2; Negro Religion in the City, Part 7 (The History of Black Americans and the Black Church #58 with Daniel Whyte III)

Our Scripture Verse for today is Colossians 3:13 which reads: “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”

Our History of Black Americans and the Black Church quote for today is from John Lewis. He said, “The civil rights movement was based on faith. Many of us who were participants in this movement saw our involvement as an extension of our faith. We saw ourselves doing the work of the Almighty. Segregation and racial discrimination were not in keeping with our faith, so we had to do something.”

In this podcast, we are using as our texts: From Slavery to Freedom, by John Hope Franklin, The Negro Church in America by E. Franklin Frazier, and The Black Church In The U.S. by William A. Banks.

Our first topic for today is titled “Slavery in Mainland Latin America, Part 2” from the book, “From Slavery to Freedom” by John Hope Franklin.

It would be erroneous to assume that slave traders in Spanish America confined their activities to the insular possessions. Almost from the beginning they transported slaves to Mexico, Panama, Colombia, Peru, and Argentina, and from these points the slaves were disperses in all directions. Only the lines of supply directly from Africa or from the Caribbean entrepots were officially recognized, but smugglers and interlopers were not averse to bringing Africans from English, French, or Dutch colonies or from other points when it was profitable to do so. By these various routes of commerce more than 60,000 Africans entered Mexico during the first century of conquest. In the following century the number was even greater. While the islands and the adjacent continent possessed a limited capacity to absorb slaves, the Mexican market was a veritable paradise for traders. The Jesuit Father Andres de Rivas estimated that 3,000 or 4,000 entered the country each year. Gonzalo Aguirre Beltran, the Mexican historian, asserts that a conservative estimate for the seventeenth century would place the figure at 120,000 slaves. In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries importation declined sharply, with no more than 20,000 slaves entering the Viceroyaltyof New Spain during that period. When Baron Alexander von Humboldt visited the country in 1793, he said that there were only 10,000 slaves. Certainly 200,000 had entered the country by that time, but the majority had become mixed with the whites and Indians so extensively that perhaps they were no longer recognizable as a distinct element in the population.

If the Lord tarries His Coming and we live, we will continue looking at this topic in our next episode.


Our second topic for today is “Negro Religion in the City, Part 7” from “The Negro Church in America” by E. Franklin Frazier.

The secularization of the Negro church has not affected to the same extent and in the same manner all sections of the Negro population. The manner in which secularization has affected Negroes is related to the new stratification of the Negro population. In a study of stratification in Negro churches in Chicago, it was found that church-going was not important for many persons of upper-class status and that those who attended church attended churches with services that were ritualistic and deliberative, the Episcopal, Presbyterian, and Congregational. The upper middle class was found to be affiliated with the same churches as the upper class with the important difference, however, that the upper middle class was more faithful in church attendance. Some members of the upper middle class also attended the Methodist and Baptist churchs for social reasons. On the other hand, the members of the lower middle class were affiliated with churches which were described as semi-demonstrative, as there was emotional participation on the part of the members. This was indicative of their recent social ascension from the lower class for whom demonstrative participation in the church services is regarded as indispensable. In fact, some of the members of the lower middle class preferred to attend certain Methodist and Baptist churches for this very reason.

If the Lord tarries His Coming and we live, we will continue looking at this topic in our next episode.


Our third and final topic for today is from “The Black Church in the U.S.: Its Origin, Growth, Contributions, and Outlook” by Dr. William A. Banks.

Today we are looking at part 1 of Chapter 5: “Radicalism: 1915 – 1953”

Migration to the cities was inevitable. Many Blacks went to the urban centers of the South after the Civil War, but it took the First World War to cause mass migration to northern cities. This urbanization had a tremendous effect upon the life of the Black man. Prior to the war, 90 percent of the Blacks in America lived in the South and most of these, some 80 percent, were in rural areas. When the war came the population began to shift and Blacks headed North. Many reasons were given for the migration: oppression, forced labor, the Ku Klux Klan, lynchings, etc.

One hundred Negroes were lynched during the first year of the twentieth century. By the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, the number stood at 1,110. When the war was over, the practice was resumed–28 Negroes being burned alive between 1918 and 1921. Scores of others were hanged, dragged behind automobiles, shot, drowned, or hacked to death.

Natural calamities also caused some Blacks to leave the South. Northern industry’s need for unskilled workers probably played the most important part in drawing the Blacks North. The war brought European immigration practically to a halt; from 1914 to 1915 the number of White immigrants decreased from 1,218,480 to 326,700. The cities’ Black populations increased by leaps and bounds. Migration from the farm to the city and from the South to the North brought many difficulties. In housing, there were restrictive covenants, segregation ordinances, and White landlord exploitation, all of which led to ghettos and the poor health and high mortality that accompany large families living in small, unsanitary homes. The city’s impersonalness and destruction of family life, with increaed desertion, illegitimacy, and juvenile delinquency aggravated matters. Increased migration North created hostility there, and the churches were greatly affected.

If the Lord tarries His Coming and we live, we will continue looking at this topic in our next episode.

Let’s have a word of prayer.

In closing, allow me to say that like many of you, I grew up in a very religious and church-going family, and during that time, I often heard the phrase “Being Saved.” Now, much of what the church people whom I grew up around said “being saved” was I now know is wrong according to the Bible. For example, joining the church, being baptized, doing good things, or being a good person does not mean you are saved. I wrote an article about this matter titled “On ‘Being Saved’ in Black America” which is available for you to read free of charge on our website, Right now, I want to share with you very briefly what the Bible says “being saved” really is.

First, understand that you need to be saved because you are a sinner. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, understand that a horrible punishment eternal Hell awaits those who are not saved. In Matthew 25:41, Jesus Christ said that God will say to those who are not saved, “depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

Third, realize that God loves you very much and wants to save you from Hell. John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

If you want to be saved from Hell and be guaranteed a home in Heaven, simply believe in Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose from the dead for your sins, and then call upon the Lord in prayer and ask Him to save your soul. And believe me, He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

If you do that today, then you can truly sing in the words of the Old Negro spiritual: Free at last, Free at last, Thank God Almighty I’m free at last.

Until next time, may God richly bless you.