Black Consciousness Movement Essay

1090 words - 5 pages

Adolph L. Reed, Jr. an African-American “scholar and professor of political science at Yale University” criticizes the myth of the Black Church and politics. Reed contends the prediction of W.E.B DuBois has culminated and the Black Church is no longer needed as a catalyst for politics or political leaders. Reed further suggest the fallacy in the myth is grounded in historical misnomers of the origins of politics in the church. Lincoln and Mamiya critiques this perspective by establishing several truths. First they expound on the historical attributes of politics in the church, then they evaluate the Black Church and the electoral politics, thirdly they look at the “empirical data on the ...view middle of the document...

Since the arrival of the African, white people have constantly tried to assert the necessity for them to be converted to Christianity. Even though the slave was degraded and treated less than human, he was introduced to this Christian religion. There are many reasons for this, but the most profound is social control. Controlling the social and physical conditions of the slave would further keep them enslaved. Christianity was often used as a tool to keep the slave further enslaved; finding solace in their current situation with the hopes that “a better day is a coming.” Even though this country was founded on the premise of freedom, the only free refuge the slave could take was in religion. The Black Church “became the only institutional area,” black people could develop.

There are some who describe the Black Church as being “apolitical.” A place where they uphold the same ideology of I will suffer down here on Earth, because I know I spend eternity in Heaven; a place where the streets are paved in gold. The Black Church was often thought to be apathetic to the struggles and lending a voice of change to the power structures. Mary Berry and John Blassingame dispel this notion with “survival tradition.” Since the African came to America they have had to survive their current conditions “In the midst of extreme dehumanization.” (3560) The only to combat their current situation was through the usage of “political” cunningness. The Black was able to survive; while maintaining a degree of self-worth. It is this survival tradition which has continued to permeate in the minds of Black people, even after slavery. Survival is what made it possible for black people to become involved in either “protest or electoral politics.” ( 3560) With the abolishment of slavery, black churches were no longer disillusioned with the status quo, but many sought reform and demanded change. Since the church was still the only place where Black could converge, talks of change and plans of action were conceived in the Church. During the reconstruction era, Black people became energized and motivated to participate the political process, they had been denied to participate in. “Thousands of former slaves registered to vote and succeeded in electing twenty black congressmen and two black senators.” (3615) ...

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