Documenting the American South Logo
Collections >> The Church in the Southern Black Community >> Document Menu >> Summary

G. R. Wilson (Gold Refined)
The Religion of the American Negro Slave: His Attitude Toward Life and Death. From The Journal of Negro History, Vol. 8, 1923. p. 41-71
Lancaster, Pa; Washington, D. C.: The Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, Inc., 1923.


In this article, published in the Journal of Negro History in 1923, G. R.Wilson discusses \"the religious behavior of the American Negro slave, between 1619 and the close of the Civil War\" (41). He contends that as the slaves in America adapted themselves to their new circumstances, they quickly forgot their native African religions and acquired \"a primitive Christianity, with the central emphasis, not upon this world, but upon heaven\" (41). He begins with a short explanation of the religious customs the slaves brought with them from Africa. He then describes the \"Christian atmosphere\" (46) in which, he argues, the slaves found themselves in America. For the balance of the article, Wilson defines their religious lifestyle in terms of an acceptance of struggle and a belief in heaven, both of which, in his view, mark the slaves' redemptive exposure to Christianity in America.

Brent Kinser

Document menu