LISTEN: The Plantation System, Part 8; Negro Religion in the City, Part 5 (The History of Black Americans and the Black Church #56 with Daniel Whyte III)

Welcome to episode #56 of the The History of Black Americans and the Black Church podcast.

Our Scripture Verse for today is Ephesians 2:20-22 which reads: “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”

Our History of Black Americans and the Black Church quote for today is from Gardner C. Taylor. He said, “There are days when we can bring before God a deep and glad laughter of joy and gratitude. There will be other days when we can only muster a bitter, angry complaint. If it is honest, be confident that God will accept whatever it is we truly have to lift up before him, and he will make it serve his purpose and our good.”

In this podcast, we are using as our texts: From Slavery to Freedom, by John Hope Franklin, The Negro Church in America by E. Franklin Frazier, and The Black Church In The U.S. by William A. Banks.

Our first topic for today is titled “The Plantation System, Part 8” from the book, “From Slavery to Freedom” by John Hope Franklin.

The cost of producing sugar increased as soil exhaustion manifested itself after a century of intensive cultivation. The price of slaves, moreover, was going up as the demand for them increased on the mainland. White society was so completely without resourceful and imaginative leadership that it was not able to discover areas of economic activity that would compensate for the losses it was sustaining in older activities. Desperate efforts were made both in Europe and in the island colonies to encourage whites to migrate to the Caribbean. Some islands required planters to import proportionate numbers of whites for all the slaves they brought, but many planters found it easier to pay the fines. With a surplus of slaves on their hands, the residents of the West Indies were willing to sell many of them to the mainland colonies.

The increasing exportation of slaves from the West Indies is a clear manifestation of social and economic debility. After several centuries of European occupation, religious institutions were still weak, and vice and immorality of all kinds flourished. Education was at an especially low ebb, and ignorance prevailed even among whites. The ineffectiveness of the law showed itself in its inability to prevent running away, insurrections, and widespread miscegenation. In sending many of their slaves to the mainland, the West Indies served notice to the world that they had yielded the long-held economic primacy in the New World to the mainland.

If the Lord tarries His Coming and we live, we will begin looking at “Slavery in Mainland Latin America” in our next episode.


Our second topic for today is “Negro Religion in the City, Part 5” from “The Negro Church in America” by E. Franklin Frazier.

The change in status was related in part to the fact that in the northern city the Negro children received the same education as the white child even when they were not in the same school with whites. The education was of a nature to broaden their intellectual horizon and give them an entirely new outlook on life. In addition, education opened the door to many occupations that had been closed to Negroes on account of race in the South. As a consequence there was an acceleration of the occupational differentiation of the Negro population in northern cities. Whereas, for example, preachers constituted about fifty percent of the professional class among Negroes in the South, in northern cities, where nearly nine-tenths of the Negroes in the North lived, only one professional Negro in ten was a preacher. And what was important, Negroes were not only to be found in most of the occupational groups in the northern cities but Negro professional men and women and white-collar workers were not confined to the Negro community as in the South.

On the basis of the occupational differentiation of the Negro population, a new system of social stratification or socio-economic classes came into existence. We have noted the simple stratification of the Negro community in the South which consisted of a small upper class based largely upon family and a light complexion and later based to some degree upon education. As a result of the entrance of Negroes into new occupations, some of whom served the new needs of the large Negro communities in northern cities, a new class structure emerged consisting of three major classes. This new class system has not only helped to change the traditional organization of Negro life but it has caused the Negro church to adapt itself to the general outlook and religious requirements of the different classes.

If the Lord tarries His Coming and we live, we will continue looking at this topic in our next episode.

Let’s have a word of prayer.

In closing, allow me to say that like many of you, I grew up in a very religious and church-going family, and during that time, I often heard the phrase “Being Saved.” Now, much of what the church people whom I grew up around said “being saved” was I now know is wrong according to the Bible. For example, joining the church, being baptized, doing good things, or being a good person does not mean you are saved. I wrote an article about this matter titled “On ‘Being Saved’ in Black America” which is available for you to read free of charge on our website, Right now, I want to share with you very briefly what the Bible says “being saved” really is.

First, understand that you need to be saved because you are a sinner. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, understand that a horrible punishment eternal Hell awaits those who are not saved. In Matthew 25:41, Jesus Christ said that God will say to those who are not saved, “depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

Third, realize that God loves you very much and wants to save you from Hell. John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

If you want to be saved from Hell and be guaranteed a home in Heaven, simply believe in Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose from the dead for your sins, and then call upon the Lord in prayer and ask Him to save your soul. And believe me, He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

If you do that today, then you can truly sing in the words of the Old Negro spiritual: Free at last, Free at last, Thank God Almighty I’m free at last.

Until next time, may God richly bless you.