The Great awakening: Meaning of religion for slaves

All the phases of The Great Awakening had a considerable impact on the way of life of the slaves. The first Great Awakening familiarized evangelism to the slaves while the second Great Awakening achieved their mass conversion, since the slaves found the religion as a source of equality and freedom (Hankins 68). This was enhanced by the way they combined African heritage, their slavery experiences and the elements of biblical teachings which fashioned a unique African -American religion. Some blacks became more religious themselves and they were interested in promoting revival among their fellow slaves. They believed that, by opposing slavery, their rights would be heard through the Baptists and the Methodists. John Leland, an advocate of religious liberty, campaigned for religious liberty to be extended to the slaves and be allowed to travel to night revival meetings. To many blacks and slaves, religion was a moment of truth. Religion was also meant to bring important instrument support, self-examination and self-transformation. Men and women found justification and consolation in religion. Women’s daily lives also changed and were shaped by the newly founded religion. From the revival, there was a greater sense of responsibilities for the slaves, who were more respected after the evangelicals denounced slavery considering it a sin. The slaves accepted religion as part of their culture, and more so, gave meaning to the bondage and those who were craving for their freedom. The religion also enabled the slaves to view the whites as equals since it brought them together in baptism, Holy Communion and in death.


The effect of the Great Awakening to the way of life of the Slaves and black Americans are noted in the discussion. Though at first such evangelism was viewed with suspicion by many blacks and curtailed by the masters, subsequent events lead to the establishment of black religion that incorporate their customs into the way of worship and promised a life free from oppression. This led to mass conversions in the second phase which was further enhanced by black-to-black evangelism. By the discussions outlined this paper sought to assess the events that characterized the Great Awakening in the early1700s to late 1800s and the implications of such events to the slaves’ way of life.

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