The African Roots of Afro-American Faith

The African Roots of Afro-American Faith

Many African religions are based on hierarchical relationships among various divine forces. At the top of the hierarchy is the Creator; somewhat below the Creator are various intermediary divinities, often embodied forces of nature representing aspects of cultural aesthetics or social order; and below these are eternal life-forces, ancestors or spirit-beings that uphold moral tenets in the human society. While it is commonly accepted that realm of the Creator is inaccessible to human beings, intermediary divinities and ancestor spirits play a part in shaping the lives of human beings. Of these it is the ancestor spirits that people would honor on a daily basis through shrines and rituals in their home. No doubt they would have carried the belief with them across the Atlantic Ocean that these spiritual guides and protectors would continue to operate in their lives. Over time, as they and their children embraced Christianity more closely these personal relationships with divinity would have been transformed and refocused on Jesus Christ, his disciples, and various biblical heroes. Write short answers, [3-5 sentences] for each of the questions below.

1. What are some examples of “double meanings” found in the spiritual songs created by African American slaves?
2. How were herbs, magic charms, and other sacred and spiritual paraphernalia used by African slaves for protection?
3. What role did religion play in African-American slave revolts in Haiti, Virginia, and South Carolina?
4. How were African spiritual traditions reinterpreted in the rituals of Afro-Baptist churches in Alabama?
5. How was food used as an expression of faith and spirituality in African American churches?

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APA Format, 465 words

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