A dive into Negro Spirituals: The Invisible Church

Before the “Invisible Church”

When the white man brought the Africans to America, one of their main goals was to conform them into Christians in order to have complete control over them. The white man stressed the importance of “obedience” in church and manipulated the black man into doing whatever he said through scriptures (which contained double meanings). These scriptures encouraged the slaves to stay obedience, and did not include chapters that would result in revolt. This then rooted the beginning of the invisible church.

What is the “Invisible Church”

The “Invisible Church,” was a space (not certain) in which the slaves would practice their religion through hymns, negro spitituals dance, and overall interpret the scriptures as in a raw manner. This space could be in their houses, out in the woods, or anywhere away from the white man when little free time was permitted. If caught practicing religion without their master as pastor, the slaves would be in deep trouble which would result in whipping and other forms of punishment.This act was illegal in those days. The slaves tried to continue the spirit of the church that was with them in Africa through this. In the church that the white man set up every Sunday, the message was more about obedience, and less about the word of God. The slaves deemed this necessary because religion had been such an uplifting method for them and the white man had turned it into something less exciting. This eventually lead to emancipation as intellectual thoughts were bounced off each other (more generations down). 

What prompted this change?

In 1740, the “Great Awakening,” took place and inspired the Negro Spirituals to thrive. Many religious figures had begun to tour around American to promote religion in its most raw form. This raw form included prompting the slaves to think of freedom, because in the bible there were many revolts against unjust leaders. Many slave owners would not allow their slaves to attend. But, the ones who did attend had ability to get insight about religious freedom and leading up to freeing themselves one day. These figures deemed it important to study the word of God in order to “evangelize” them to make sure they would have a place in heaven.

Future implications of the Invisible Church

Conclusion and connecting back to today

The white man’s goal to maintain the blacks as slaves horribly failed. Although this was a strong attempt to keep slaves ignorant and ill informed, the Africans always found a way to keep themselves educated through song, music, and spirituality. These churches even lasted throughout history, whether it be the gays who congregate and speak of their goals for the community, or many other groups with many other missions. Although the white man tries to diminish our purity and souls, he is in for a rude awakening. African Americans always find away around it, and this is what led to our freedom. This is what led us to be empowered. This is what will lead us into fully having equal rights. The white man may think he is ahead of us but we must keep fighting. 

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