American MemoryThe National Digital Library Program: Archived Documentation

The Library of Congress / Ameritech National Digital Library Competition (1996-1999)

Image from collection

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

The Church in The Southern Black Community: Beginnings to 1920

Amount of award: $74,513

This collection of 19,000 pages from approximately 100 works (including autobiographies, spirituals, sermons, church reports, religious periodicals, and denominational histories) traces how Southern African Americans experienced and transformed Protestant Christianity into the central institution of community life. The materials are taken primarily from published works and observations by African American authors on ways the black community of the South adapted evangelical Christianity and made it a metaphor for freedom, community, and personal survival. Later works authored by African American church and lay men and women tell the post-emancipation story of the growth of churches and their sustaining role in the face of disenfranchisement, segregation, and bigotry. Also included are the early twentieth-century assessments of black scholars concerning the Church's role in American history and society.

Online Collection

Image Caption: The First African Baptist Church, Savannah, Ga. frontispiece from History of the First African Baptist Church... by Rev. E. K. Love, Savannah, Ga.: The Morning News Print, 1888. (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Academic Affairs Library).