The First Black Baptist Church in America

Discussion in 'Baptist History' started by Hardsheller, Aug 22, 2003.

  1. Hardsheller

    Hardsheller
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    Found this interesting book describing the First Colored Baptist Church in North America, Savannah, Georgia, 1788.
    CLICK HERE
     
  2. Jim1999

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  3. rsr

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    Thanks for the links. I love whole-book links; they're awesome.

    Walter Henderson Brooks, writing in 1910, contends that Silver Bluff, in South Carolina, was the first African-American church and was founded in 1774 or 1775.

    Leon McBeth, in The Baptist Heritage, writes the the Savannah church was in fact established by 1777 by George Lisle, who had been a frequent preacher at Silver Bluff.

    THE SILVER BLUFF CHURCH

    To prove it's a small world, David George was second pastor at Silver Bluff and later moved his flock to Savannah during the American Revolution. He then went on to Nova Scotia to found the first black Baptist church there.

    BLACK BAPTISTS IN NOVA SCOTIA

    Keep the good links coming.
     
  4. rlvaughn

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    These links claim the Silver Bluff church as the oldest black Baptist church: www.mamiwata.com/bchurch.html and www.wycliffe.org/history/BlackMissions/timeline.htm, while these links cite Savannah as the oldest, and give the 1777 date: www.oldestblackchurch.org/html/body_history.htm and www.aaregistry.com/african_american_history/2134/First_African_Baptist_Church_founded. Most sources I have checked tend to call either the Silver Bluff or Savannah church the oldest Black Baptist church, but here is a link that makes the claim for Springfield Baptist Church of Augusta, Georgia: www.augustachronicle.com/stories/022399/his_springfield.shtml. Mechal Sobel's book, Trabelin' On: The Slave Journey to an Afro-Baptist Faith, which appears to be well-researched and reliable, seems to favor the Silver Bluff church as older. One cause of confusion concerning dates may be that some of the black Baptist churches were started by blacks, and were then later formally organized by white ministers. In reading Sobel's book, I ran across the interesting account of Andrew Bryan of Savannah, a black slave who purchased his freedom (before 1788) and became an owner of both property and slaves. Bryan was whipped and imprisoned twice, not for being black or a slave, but for preaching the gospel.
     
  5. rsr

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    Sobel also contended that black congregations existed by 1758, based on Robert Semple's History of Baptists in Virginia. This is seconded by Sid Smith in In Search of the First Black Baptist Church in America, "Ethnicity" (Spring 1984.)

    As McBeth points out, there are different definitions of a "black" church, as outlined by black historian Lewis Jordan. There were black congregations with black pastors (the Silver Bluff model); black congregations with white pastors (the likely condition of the 1758 church) and mixed congregations that were essentially segregated into departments.

    "Such churches sometimes met together, usually with blacks segregated in balconies, but at other times the white congregation met on Sunday morning while the blacks mets in the afternoon. Often the black branch would have their own deacons, their own discipline, and occasionally their own pastors."
    Leon McBeth, "The Baptist Heritage"

    Interestingly, McBeth adds this:

     

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