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date: 05 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Set against the history of slavery and abolitionism in the Atlantic world, the chapter first considers two essays of 1900 by African American leader W. E. B. Du Bois before addressing ways churches in the United States were often accused of complicity in perpetuating slavery. The chapter assesses the contested status of the ante-bellum black church and the covert worship slaves often needed to take in the South, before turning to the 1830 Southampton Insurrection and the 1831 Great Jamaican Slave Revolt. The focus switches to key texts that drew upon the Bible to oppose slavery, before considering how racial representations in the mid-century offered ambivalent views on racial equality. The chapter then turns to the shifting status of white and black churches during Reconstruction, and the re-entrenchment along racial lines in the late nineteenth century, before broadening out questions of identity and belonging by discussing missionary enterprises to Africa.

Keywords: abolitionism, Atlantic world, black nationalism, evangelical enlightenment, racism, slavery

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