PODCAST: Slavery in Mainland Latin America, Part 3; Negro Religion in the City, Part 8 (The History of Black Americans and the Black Church #59 with Daniel Whyte III)

Our Scripture Verse for today is 1 John 5:5 which reads: “Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?”

Our History of Black Americans and the Black Church quote for today is from Ralph Abernathy. He said, “Christians should be ready for a change because Jesus was the greatest changer in history.”

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 “Slavery in Mainland Latin America, Part 3” from the book, “From Slavery to Freedom” by John Hope Franklin.

During the colonial period Central America was largely a part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain, and no separate figures are available for the importation of slaves into that region. Africans in Central America perhaps were a small but important segment of the population. They were imported into Guatemala as early as 1524, when the Spaniards occupied the land. While the number was never as large as 10,000, they were a considerable source of trouble to the Spanish authorities. Runaways would band together in the woods of Sierra de las Minas and with their bows and arrows harass the countryside for miles around. The entire military force of Guatemala City found it impossible to subdue them. Some slaves became free, developing into substantial citizens. One such freedman became an extensive landowner and herdsman. Although he made a great profit from dairy products that he sold in Guatemala City, the authorities felt that perhaps some hidden treasure was the real source of his wealth. He periodically denied this, and until his death he stood as an example of what an African was able to accomplish in Central America.

Perhaps the largest concentration of blacks in continental Spanish America was to be found in the Viceroyalty of New Granada, comprising the modern states of Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador. The ports along the Caribbean early became entrepots for Negro slaves and points from which they were distributed to the interior. Panama, Caracas, and Cartagena were among the largest slave markets in the New World. By the time that accurate census figures for the area became available, Negroes were present in considerable numbers. In the Audiencia of Santa Fe–present Panama and Colombia–there were in 1810 approximately 210,000 Negroes and mulattoes, slave and free, in a total population of 1.4 million. In the Captaincy General of Caracas–present Venezuela–Negroes and mulattoes numbered 493,000 in 1810, while the total population was 900,000. About the same time, the Presidency of Quito–present Ecuador–had 50,000 Negroes and mulattoes in a total population of 600,000.

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


Our second topic for today is “Negro Religion in the City, Part 8” from “The Negro Church in America” by E. Franklin Frazier.

In the cities of the North the churches were much larger than the churches in the South. The average membership of a North church in the North was close to 800 while the average for the South was less than half that number. The Negro preacher in the northern city has striven to build up large churches which are a measure of his status and influence, not to mention his control of economic resources. These churches are vast social organizations with a number of departments concerned with many aspects of Negro life other than the religious. They have established systems of book-keeping and something approaching an impersonal bureaucratic organization. In spite of the wealth and power of these churches, they repel the Negro masses who seek a type of religious association that is warm and intimate and in which they have a satisfactory status.

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


Our third and final topic for today is from “The Black Church in the U.S.: Its Origin, Growth, Contributions, and Outlook” by Dr. William A. Banks.

Today we are looking at part 2 of Chapter 5: “Radicalism: 1915 – 1953”

Not surprisingly, the migrants generally continued their denominational affiliations. Those who were Baptists in the South were still Baptists in the North. The Methodists also remained relatively loyal to their denomination. Statistics in 1916 for the four major all-Black groups are: for the Baptists, 3,196,623; AME, 545,814; AMEZ, 456,813; CME, 202,713. The 1998 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches gives this breakdown for 1998: National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., 8,200,000; National Baptist Convention of America, 2,500,000; Progressive National Baptist Convention Inc., 2,500,000; AME, 3,500,000; AMEZ, 1,252,369; CME, 718,922; COGIC, 5,499,875. These statistics do not tell the complete story. Other Pentecostal and apostolic groups have been omitted; figures for some groups are difficult to obtain; and some of the Black Baptist churches belong to more than one Convention.

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, gospellightsociety.com. 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.