Yet there were some internal tensions
Of course, many African Americans still go to church
Most significant for us today, these African American church leaders recognized the importance of what they were doing for future generations of Americans. They wrote histories, biographies, memoirs, and other accounts of religious life in the South during this era. It is through these written texts that we still have access to the many voices that comprise the first century of the black church in the United States.
What Is The Church and Why Does It Matter Essay | …
Yet there were some internal tensions. With the emergence of middle-class membership came issues about women's participation in the church, as some black women now had the relative leisure to look beyond the immediacies of life. Several female leaders in this era raised the issue of women's ordination, only to be rebuffed by the male hierarchy. Instead, women formed missionary societies to address all manner of local and international needs, from the support of job training in their communities to funding for African American missionaries to Africa. They worked on urban ills, established reading groups, and advocated for better living conditions. They also wrote for religious periodicals, promoting quite traditional ideals of Victorian womanhood, respectability, and racial uplift. Women also continued work among their less fortunate counterparts in the rural South, in what continued to be an uneasy alliance. Like male religious leaders, too, they protested the creeping effects of Jim Crow laws and the systematic violence of lynching.