Encyclopedia of Religion Volume 15 (APPENDIX-SYNOPTIC by Lindsay Jones

By Lindsay Jones

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Mary McLeod Bethune, for instance, was educated at Moody Bible Institute, and she prepared for life in the mission fields of Africa. When told by the Presbyterian Church that there were no posts for Negroes in Africa, she taught in the South, founding her own school in Daytona, Florida. Newly established black colleges routinely sent their students as “missionaries” to teach in the rural South during the summers. Freedom from slavery brought dilemmas in religious life. African Americans sought education for their children, but not at the expense of community, traditions, and religious folkways.

Through a systematic sociobiological study all the highest forms of religious practice can be demonstrated to confer biological advantage (congealing identities is one of its characteristic goals). In the words of one of its main critics, “sociobiology challenges the integrity of culture as a distinctive and symbolic human creation. In place of a social constitution of meanings, it offers a biological determination of human interactions with a source primarily in the general evolutionary propensity of individual genotypes to maximize their reproductive success” (Sahlins, 1976, p.

Women as well as men articulated the folk theologies defending these practices. Furthermore, African American women are far more numerous and prominent in religious traditions emphasizing the Holy Spirit. E. E. Zion churches grew, the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church was formed, and the National Baptist Convention became the largest religious body among African Americans. Black churches, as Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham points out with specific reference to the Baptists, became the primary public square for African Americans.

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