The Black Church has always been the bedrock of the progress that we have made in this country. In 1773, in the dead of night, slaves came together and constructed the Baptist Church in Savannah, Georgia. It was built by slaves for slaves. This was the beginning of all that we have accomplished in this country. The civil rights movement was not a political movement, but a spiritual movement that was born in the basement of the black church.
The Black church was the incubator for black leadership. It gave us Martin and Malcolm, Marcus Garvey and Louis Farrakhan. Long before Mahalia Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder sang on the concert stages of the world, they sang in the choirs of the black church. It was the black Church that made famous the old slave songs: “Up above my head, I hear music in the air, so there must be a God somewhere”. So, before Elvis Presley checked into his heartbreak hotel, and told the women not to step on his blue suede shoes, blacks were singing “Way down yonder by myself, I couldn’t hear nobody pray.”
Banks, Business, and Burial Associations were all born in the black church. Atlanta Life. North Carolina Mutual, and most sports came from the black church. The black arts, and inventors like Garret T. Morgan, who gave us the traffic light and George Washington Carver, who gave us more than three hundred products and by-products from the peanut and sweet potato.
Through more than 240 years of brutal slavery, and another 100 years of dehumanizing segregation, we found hope in the black church. We had only God and the black church. He promised to fight for us, if we would only let Him. We did and He was always our protection, even when we went down through the valley and the shadow of death.
There was a fire burning in our souls that Bull Connor’s dogs couldn’t bite out, that Jim Clark’s Billy clubs couldn’t beat out, and the Ku Klux Klan couldn’t bomb out. God was our light and our salvation, and we walked with Him and talked with Him, and He told us we were his own. In the black church we had each other, and God had us all. We had no arm, and no militia. We had only God and the black church, that was the faith that we lived by, marched by, and talked about.