Carter G. Woodson: History of the Negro Church: Ch.5 Early Development

This year I will attempt to get through all of Carter G. Woodson’s (the father of Black History) History of the Negro Church. This post is on Chapter 5 – Early Development.

A major figure for the fifth chapter is a Christopher Rush.

Bishop Christopher Rush (1777–1873)

Rush was connected to the Zionist branch/ part of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.  He was active in New York in the late 18th century. He was a notable preacher and helped with the flourishing of the AME church after it experienced a moment of decline.

The chapter is half AME history and half Black Baptist church history.

For the Baptist portion the central figure is Andrew Marshall.

Something I did find interesting, and I don’t find much of this book interesting, was how some churches were organized. There would be churches where African Americans outnumbered the white congregation.

Carter G. Woodson: History of the Negro Church: Ch 4 The Independent Church Movement

This year I will attempt to get through all of Carter G. Woodson’s (the father of Black History) History of the Negro Church. This post is on Chapter 4 The Independent Church Movement.

I will pick out a few people mentioned in this chapter, because I have misplaced my notes for this chapter. One being Richard Allen in the late 1770s-1780s. Allen was born a slave, his ’employer’ allowed him to pursue his interest in preaching and allowed him to purchase his freedom. Woodson credits Allen for founding the African Methodist Church. Later he notes other gentlemen who were co-founders. He was active in Philadelphia and Baltimore.

As with the way of Protestantism, there is a bit of a split with the African Methodists. There were the followers of Richard Allen, the Allenists, and another group the Zionists.

Allen is mentioned throughout the chapter.

I must end this here because I do not want to re-read the chapter and I have no notes.

Carter G. Woodson: History of the Negro Church: Ch.3 Pioneer Negro Preachers

This year I will attempt to get through all of Carter G. Woodson’s (the father of Black History) History of the Negro Church. This post is on Chapter 3- Pioneer Negro Preachers

If I could create a subtitle for half of this book it would be Black People Doing Things Prior to Emancipation. In this case, for this chapter, it is preaching the Gospel.

Here Woodson looks at the Silver Bluff Baptist Church founded around 1774/1775. It was the first Black Baptist church in America in South Carolina. Slaves founded the church and enslaved men were its earliest ordained preachers, such as David George and George Liele.

Silver Bluff Baptist Church

The American Revolution happened. The war sends George and Liele out of SC. Then the chapter turns a particular focus on George Liele, who Woodson depends on a Dr. Walte H. Brooks for the biography and history of. Liele winds up in Jamaica, after he was released from slavery, where he preached to slaves there.

Rev. Andrew Bryan (1737–1812)

The next preacher is Andrew Bryan, who was influenced by Liele. The person who owned him and other whites encouraged Bryan’s preaching. He founded a church in Savannah, GA but not everyone was keen on this and there were challenges, to say the least, even after Bryan was ordained. When Bryan died in 1812, the white Savannah Baptist Association noted,

“This Association is sensibly affected by the death of the Rev. Andrew Bryan, a man of color, and pastor of the First Colored Church in Savannah. This son of Africa, after suffering inexpressible persecutions in the cause of his divine Master, was at length permitted to discharge the duties of the ministry among his colored friends in peace and quiet; hundreds of whom through his instrumentality were brought to the knowledge of the truth, as it is in Jesus. He closed his extensive, useful, and amazingly luminous course in the lovely exercise of faith and in the joyful hope of a happy immortality.”

The Methodists produced Black Harry who worked with Bishop Francis Asbury. Harry had a gift for preaching, but was unfortunately illiterate.

Woodson covers the history other influential Black pastors working in the South and Northeast. These include John Gloucester (Presbyterian), Lemuel Haynes (Congregationalist), John Stewart (Methodist Episcopal), John Chavis (Presbyterian), and Henry Evans (Methodist). Most were born free, a few were college educated, all were protestants. So Woodson threw in the odd dig, once again, at the Catholic Church.

Carter G. Woodson: History of the Negro Church: Ch. 2 The Dawn of the New Day

Reprint from 2022.

For this year I’m just doing two chapters of Carter G. Woodson’s History of the Negro Church because I find the book a little less interesting. Finding an audiobook made this review easier than the one for the first chapter.

In this chapter he takes a look at the Methodists. Woodson does not give a history of Methodism. Maybe his audience of 1921 readers are familiar with the denomination and how it is one of the dissenting sects coming out of Anglicanism/ the Church of England. My quickie version is that Methodism was founded by Rev. John Wesley (with help from brother Charles) where they reached out to the middling and working classes. There was a difference in how they expressed their faith and that comes into play in this chapter.

Woodson focused on how Methodists tackled the question of slavery. The dates covered in this chapter range from 1750 to 1793, so mainly during the colonial period and before the Methodists broke from Anglicans.  The founder Wesley, as well as Thomas Coke, and Francis Asbury opposed slavery.

The Methodists later (1780-ish) required that members not be slaveholders. If a member held a slave, they were expected to not be a slaveholder 12 months. Local leadership were the ones who were supposed to enforce this rule. There were some exceptions made for spouses of slave owners and people who held legal title to people who were too young, too old or too disabled to live on their own.

Despite efforts to purge slave holding among their ranks, Methodism wasn’t as appealing to African Americans as the Baptist denomination. Whereas the Methodists were making real efforts to address slavery, the Baptists, because they were less organized in this effort, didn’t really address it.  The Baptists deferred to local sentiments and there was less of an abolitionist fervor.

Woodson mentions the Presbyterians, another protestant denomination. It appears they encouraged emancipation but did not require it.

The History of the Negro Church- Chapter 1 The Early Missionaries and the Negro

Oh my. I forgot I wrote this last year. Since I have no interest reinventing wheels, here’s chapter 1.

Carter G. Woodson, a Shaw resident, living and working on the 1500 block of 9th St NW, created Negro History Week. This later became Black History Month. Last year I reviewed Carter G. Woodson’s Mis-Education of the Negro. I thought I would review his other book The History of the Negro Church this year.

I’ve read the first chapter. I want to find who edited this thing and do bad things to their grave. If Dr. Woodson edited it, then, this is evidence that authors should get someone else to edit their work.
I’m going to start with something from the book’s preface:

Whether or not the author has done this task well is a question which the public must decide. This work does not represent what he desired to make it. Many facts of the past could not be obtained for the reason that several denominations have failed to keep records and facts known to persons now active in the church could not be collected because of indifference or the failure to understand the motives of the author. Not a few church officers and ministers, however, gladly cooperated with the author in giving and seeking information concerning their denominations.

Given the current lack of popularity, compared to Mis-Education, I will say he had not done his work well. It is a hard read.

My summation of chapter one is that Blacks were a second thought to European missionaries. When they did get around to bringing Christianity to those of African descent into the New World there was a resistance because of an unwritten law (no citations) that once slaves became Christian, they would need to be freed. Catholics didn’t try hard enough and Protestants were more successful at evangelization to Blacks in America.

The one thing I learned reading this chapter was that Quakers taught African American slaves to read in Virginia and North Carolina.

I just wish there were citations for this piece of information and that gets to my first pet peeve. This book is 100 years old and historians of this period have a bad habit of not providing citations to back up anything they wrote. In the copy I have, I do not see end notes, nor is there a bibliography at the end. I blame the time period.

The other pet peeve I’ve revealed early on, was the need for an editor. This was not written for a general audience. It has the charm of a graduate dissertation. He uses $4 words when a $.25 word would do. He’s overly wordy as if he’s getting paid, per word, like a Raymond Chandler novel. The deep need for an editor, someone to strike out some sentences and suggest a better way of making a point, just annoyed the heck out of me.

I just discovered there is an audio book of The History of the Negro Church from December 2020. I will try to listen to this and maybe I’ll do more than 2 chapters this month.

2023 Update- Looking at my notes it appears that he was annoyed that the early Spanish and French missionaries in America were not focused on Blacks. For the Spanish, that’s a no brainer because they exploited the existing population for labor and didn’t need to import Africans, except in some spots. And France had what is now Haiti, and that place ate people up in the machinery of sugar production. People didn’t live long enough.

This chapter covers the late 1600s to about 1764. Geographically it wanders into Latin and South America and the Caribbean.

Obligatory February Carter G. Woodson Post- 2023 The History of the Negro Church

It’s February again, which makes it Black History Month where Shaw’s most famous resident, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, the father of Black History, gets some recognition. In previous years I’ve reviewed his most famous book, the Mis-Education of the Negro. Please go on over to my post from 2022.

Rev_Richard_Allen_dull_ballon
This would even bore poor Bishop Richard Allen

For something a little different for 2023, we’ll look at another book of his, The History of the Negro Church. I did not like this book because it was gawdawful boring. It was informative, but dull. Despite that, it is this month’s book and we’ll look at every stinking chapter. Maybe you too may learn something about the Black church.

This book is Methodist heavy. There are many denominations in American Christianity and a fair number of majority Black churches in more than a handful of those denominations. Woodson does mention the Catholic and Anglican churches but he doesn’t seem to care for them.

I have seen write ups that claim Dr. Woodson was an atheist. His Wikipedia article says he was an “outspoken detractor of the Christian Church.” I don’t really get that from this book. He seems more like an agnostic. He’s not against the Black church, he’s just not impressed with it. In Mis-Education, he spends far more time bad mouthing ‘educated Negroes’ than he does the Christian church. He’s not a believer but he seems okay with those who are, to a point. In this book, he sees the churches as a means to an ends and an organizing body of the community he cares about. He’s very interested in the denominations’ approach to slavery and how/if they addressed it and pushed back against it. And that’s why it is Methodist heavy.

Lastly, the book was originally published in 1921 and was his 3rd book. The more notable Mis-Education of the Negro, was published in 1933, long after establishing Negro History Week (which became a month, decades after his death), other achievements, and developing the skill to write for a more general audience.

History of the Negro Church- A Dull Report

So in prepping for February 2023, I have finally finished Shaw resident and father of Black History, Carter G. Woodson’s, History of the Negro Church. Good lord this book is boring. I’m just yawning at the thought of writing anything about it.

Sadly, this book is not as engaging as the Mis-Education of the Negro. But there are some useful parts, which unfortunately require getting through the tedious parts of the book to appreciate.

19-22-011-museum.jpgBishop Richard Allen By Dsdugan - Self-photographed, CC0, Link

One of the biggest things I got out of it was that African Americans were organizing and establishing and operating churches and preaching in America prior to the Civil War. Slavery and emancipation where major themes in the book. It is also Methodist heavy.

Thinking of this book makes me wonder if there is an alternative approach to Black history, which tends to be focused on the period of slavery. It is so much so, one may be left with the impression that African Americans didn’t do anything until they were emancipated, either by running North or with the Emancipation Proclamation.

There are gems, but you need to dig through a lot of dullness to get to them. When February rolls around, I’ll try not to bore anyone. Well, no more than I normally bore you.

Carter G. Woodson and The Mis-Education of the Negro- 2022 Wrap Up

I’m really tempted to go off on a rant. Not against Carter G. Woodson and his faults. No, I’ve taken to heart his criticisms of Black college educated people. Because he’s right. We suck.

We, and I am speaking as an African-American woman with two graduate degrees, haven’t done enough, and some of us have done nothing but exploit Black pain and misery for our own advancement. I look at the test scores for Black children and despair, because they are sorely miseducated. And those Blacks who do succeed in academia do they use their education to serve the Black community? Woodson was annoyed at educated Blacks who could not (would not?) use their education to support Black business or understand the Black customer.

Okay, rant over, here’s a list of the 2022 reprints of the 2021 posts, with a little editing.

Chapter 1- THE SEAT OF THE TROUBLE
Chapter 2- HOW WE MISSED THE MARK
Chapter 3- HOW WE DRIFTED AWAY FROM THE TRUTH
Chapter 4- EDUCATION UNDER OUTSIDE CONTROL
Chapter 5- THE FAILURE TO LEARN TO MAKE A LIVING Part 1 and Part 2
Chapter 6- THE EDUCATED NEGRO LEAVES THE MASSES
Chapter 7- DISSENSION AND WEAKNESS
Chapter 8- PROFESSIONAL EDUCATED DISCOURAGED
Chapter 9- POLITICAL EDUCATION NEGLECTED
Chapter 10- THE LOSS OF VISION
Chapter 11- THE NEED FOR SERVICE RATHER THAN LEADERSHIP
Chapter 12 HIRELINGS IN THE PLACES OF PUBLIC SERVANTS
Chapter 13- UNDERSTAND THE NEGRO
Chapter 14- THE NEW PROGRAM
Chapter 15- VOCATIONAL GUIDANCE
Chapter 16- THE NEW TYPE OF PROFESSIONAL MAN REQUIRED
Chapter 17- HIGHER STRIVINGS IN THE SERVICE OF THE COUNTRY
Chapter 18- THE STUDY OF THE NEGRO
APPENDIX

This was fun and educational. You should read the whole book or listen to the audiobook.

Source: To save on typing I used the History is a Weapon website’s reprinting of The Mis-Education of the Negro.

Carter G. Woodson: History of the Negro Church: Ch. 2 The Dawn of the New Day

For this year I’m just doing two chapters of Carter G. Woodson’s History of the Negro Church because I find the book a little less interesting. Finding an audiobook made this review easier than the one for the first chapter.

In this chapter he takes a look at the Methodists. Woodson does not give a history of Methodism. Maybe his audience of 1921 readers are familiar with the denomination and how it is one of the dissenting sects coming out of Anglicanism/ the Church of England. My quickie version is that Methodism was founded by Rev. John Wesley (with help from brother Charles) where they reached out to the middling and working classes. There was a difference in how they expressed their faith and that comes into play in this chapter.

Woodson focused on how Methodists tackled the question of slavery. The dates covered in this chapter range from 1750 to 1793, so mainly during the colonial period and before the Methodists broke from Anglicans.  The founder Wesley, as well as Thomas Coke, and Francis Asbury opposed slavery.

The Methodists later (1780-ish) required that members not be slaveholders. If a member held a slave, they were expected to not be a slaveholder 12 months. Local leadership were the ones who were supposed to enforce this rule. There were some exceptions made for spouses of slave owners and people who held legal title to people who were too young, too old or too disabled to live on their own.

Despite efforts to purge slaveholding among their ranks, Methodism wasn’t as appealing to African Americans as the Baptist denomination. Whereas the Methodists were making real efforts to address slavery, the Baptists, because they were less organized in this effort, didn’t really address it.  The Baptists deferred to local sentiments and there was less of an abolitionist fervor.

Woodson mentions the Presbyterians, another protestant denomination. It appears they encouraged emancipation but did not require it.

Carter G. Woodson- Mis-Education of the Negro- Chapter 18: The Study of the Negro

It’s Black History Month, so I am continuing with a reprint of the series of posts regarding Shaw resident and Father of Black History, Carter G. Woodson and his book The Mis-Education of the Negro, published in 1933.

Okay. Last chapter. Last day of a very short month.

The oppressor, however, raises his voice to the contrary. He teaches the Negro that he has no worth-while past, that his race has done nothing significant since the beginning of time, and that there is no evidence that he will ever achieve anything great. The education of the Negro then must be carefully directed lest the race may waste time trying to do the impossible. Lead the Negro to believe this and thus control his thinking. If you can thereby determine what he will think, you will not need to worry about what he will do. You will not have to tell him to go to the back door. He will go without being told; and if there is no back door he will have one cut for his special benefit.

Woodson points to the main problem and the purpose of his life’s work. African Americans in their own schools and in majority white schools were being taught that they had nothing to offer and never had anything to offer to the world. Woodson sought to counter that with the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History.

The Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, however, has no special brand for the solution of the race problem except to learn to think. No general program of uplift for the Negroes in all parts of the world will be any more successful than such a procedure would be in the case of members of other races under different circumstances. What will help a Negro in Alabama may prove harmful to one in Maine. The African Negro may find his progress retarded by applying “methods used for the elevation of the Negro in America.” A thinking man, however, learns to deal wisely with conditions as he finds them rather than to take orders from some one who knows nothing about his status and cares less. At present the Negro, both in Africa and America, is being turned first here and there experimentally by so-called friends who in the final analysis assist the Negro merely in remaining in the dark.

So not all Black people are alike and there is no one size fits all solution to the African diaspora’s problems.

And finally, the last paragraph:

In this outline there is no animus, nothing to engender race hate. The Association does not bring out such publications. The aim of this organization is to set forth facts in scientific form, for facts properly set forth will tell their own story. No advantage can be gained by merely inflaming the Negro’s mind against his traducers. In a manner they deserve to be congratulated for taking care of their own interests so well. The Negro needs to become angry with himself because he has not handled his own affairs wisely. In other words, the Negro must learn from others how to take care of himself in this trying ordeal. He must not remain content with taking over what others set aside for him and then come in the guise of friends to subject even that limited information to further misinterpretation.

A 2022 summation, don’t waste time thinking about white people. Black Americans must figure out on our own how to take care of ourselves. As it goes for the individual it goes for the group. Only you can quit bad habits. No one can lose weight, stop smoking, and exercise more for you. Someone else can ban Big Gulps, over regulate cigarettes, and make gyms affordable but that won’t have the same effect as someone taking on the challenge of choosing and maintaining a healthier lifestyle.