From the beginning of their sojourn in an often-cruel land, Africans found solace and strength in the conviction that there loomed something beyond the veil of our everyday existence. Many came to this land believing that animals and objects harbored unseen spirits, or that sacrifices to ancestors might protect them from harm, or that certain people had the ability to cast malevolent spells. As enslaved people, they were introduced to Christianity, largely as a means of keeping them docile and under control. But the enslaved people would make Jesus their own. They would worship him in secluded clearings out of white folks’ hearing, use his words as a freedom code, pray to him in the dark night of an unendurable existence, sing his praises with rhythm and fervor that would shock Thomas Jefferson and generations of white men after him. These are the men and women who led African Americans to the throne of grace – along with one or two charlatans who sought to shear the flock along the way.
These are... PEOPLE OF FAITH.