Slave Missions and the Black Church in the Antebellum South
Slave Missions and the Black Church in the Antebellum South examines the fascinating but perplexing interactions between white missionaries and slaves in the 1840s and 1850s, and the ways in which blacks used the missions to nurture the formation of the organized black church. Janet Cornelius uses church records and slave narratives and autobiographies to show that black religious leaders - slave and free - took advantage of opportunities offered by missions to create a small break in the oppression of slavery: to conduct their own meetings, become literate, and build the black community. Slave missions also provided whites with a rationale for training and supporting black leaders and protecting black congregations, particularly in the visible city churches.
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