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The Black Church

Religion as we know it infiltrated the black community during slavery. While the objective leaned on pacifying slaves, black people rose against the negative narrative and invested in a community that would be known as the black church.

Records indicate that as early as 1794, Richard Allen, a formerly enslaved black man, founded his own denomination and church. Reverend Allen, a man who purchased his own freedom, sought to abolish slavery and help other people escape, as well. As the nation continued to work through the Civil War, Jim Crow, racism, and economic disparity, the black church and its leaders mobilized its followers to speak out and stand up for injustices.

In this series of Black History in Two Minutes or So hosted by Henry Louis Gates Jr., with additional commentary from Brittney Cooper of Rutgers University and Peniel Joseph of the University of Texas, we look at a fundamentally important piece of American history that has been a haven for blacks who have often times been isolated by the nation and the rules of the land.

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