They are full of dancing, clapping, screaming and shouting that may seem jarring to the untrained ear.
The church contains in full the kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence and the shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes, the love and yes, the bitterness and bias that make up the black experience in America.
It is likely that the slaves who arrived in Jamestown had been baptized Catholic and had Christian names.
For the next 200 years, the slave trade exported slaves from Angola, Ghana, Senegal and other parts of West Africa to America's South.
" Wright's most famous parishioner was the leading Democratic contender for the presidential nomination, Barack Obama. Obama seized the moment to deliver a profound meditation on race in America, a speech titled "A More Perfect Union." Tracing the deep historical roots of racial inequality and injustice, Obama put Wright's anger into historical context.
Trinity was Obama's spiritual home -- the place where he had found religion, where he was married, and where his daughters had been baptized. In very personal terms, he also described his experience at Trinity: Like other black churches, Trinity's services are full of raucous laughter and sometimes bawdy humor.
Eventually Obama broke with Wright and left Trinity, but his speech illuminated the role of the black church in the African American experience.
No story spoke more powerfully to slaves than the story of Exodus, with its themes of bondage and liberation brought by a righteous and powerful God who would one day set them free.
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Many worshipped in established, predominantly white congregations, but by the late 18th century, blacks had begun to congregate in self-help and benevolent associations called African Societies.
Functioning as quasi-religious organizations, these societies often gave rise to independent black churches.
They came from the kingdoms of Ndongo and Kongo, in present-day Angola and the coastal Congo.