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The African American religious experience has been formed by its people to fit its people The journey began in the homeland and evolved through difficult circumstances in North America The culture has been oppressed but survived both slavery and segregation Religion has been the cornerstone in a proud ethnicity that continues to shape itself todayUpon arrival to North America African slaves were deeply rooted in their home religious practices They believed religion coincided with day-to-day life events Their rituals were distinct and gatherings emphasized rhythmic song and dance These practices did not endure the transition into enslavement In the British Colonies of North America no African religion remained whole 101 ButlerWhite Christians who came to America believed they were heading to the New Israel a land of milk and honey African slaves believed the opposite they believed America was similar to Egypt a land of suffering Class Lecture 127 The Africans were separated from their families and even tribes The colonists wanted the different tribes to have dissention in the groups through barriers of language and culture A unified African society in America would pose a threat so they did their best to relocate and control the masses Some colonists would justify the enslavement of the Africans by converting the tribes into Christianity However the African people had their own ideas for conversion They incorporated their own spirituals that were not allowed but yet still practiced There were symbolic meanings for gates roads and ships Gates were associated with entrance to new life while roads were not always golden as streets and ships represented the desire for change The Christian Slaves had secret meetings where they shouted and not in the form of yelling This referred to bodily movements as well as handclapping singing and foot-stomping Something special was being created a new identity African Americans were strategically divided but yet they still displayed a strong sense of unityChristianity made little progress in the
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