Religion and Slavery By Helena Paice • Accept for the society of friends all religious groups in America supported slavery. • In the south black people were not permitted to go to church, and if they did they were segregated from white people. • Slaves were forbidden from continuing their own African religious rituals, where spirits are everywhere and ensure morality. • Slave masters did not encourage Christianity because of the Bible. Many of the teachings in the New Testament include equality! • Many slave masters didn’t encourage or even tried to prevent their slaves from learning to read. • Traditional African drums were also banned as the masters feared that messages could be signalled and a slave uprising organised. • Black people in the north were more likely to attend church. • In 1794 Richard Allen set up the first church for black people in Philadelphia, closely followed by Peter Williams in 1796, a tobacco merchant who felt unwelcome in his local Methodist church in New York. • In 1816, Richard Allen lead a group of churchmen to form the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Allen became the first Bishop. • “I can not see why the more favoured class should enslave the other. True, God has given to the African a darker complexion than to his white brother: still, each have the same desires and aspirations. The food required for the sustenance of one is equally necessary for the other.” Austin Steward, slave 22 years – 1857.