Spiritual Moments in Black History

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Captive Africans Arrive in Colonial America

Colonial Slavery on Tobacco Farm

In 1619 the first Africans arrived in Virginia. Despite being systematically stripped of their identities, cultures, languages, religions, and values, they created unique expressions of faith. Like jazz and the blues, the slave spirituality was rooted in Africa, and born of deep suffering and shared experience. Their faith had a singular aim: liberation.

Their spirituality of sorrow and joy bred a passionate host of martyrs; those who died for the faith; confessors: those who suffered yet continued to bear witness; and passion bearers, those who suffered and/or died, not explicitly for faith, but for standing for a righteous cause. Today we continue to benefit from their powerful witness.


Claudia Mair Burney is the author of novels "Zora and Nicky: A Novel in Black and White" and "Wounded: A Love Story", as well as the "Amanda Bell Brown Mysteries" and "The Exorsistah" series for teens.

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