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I like to see things like this...

PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:54 pm
by Sandy

Re: I like to see things like this...

PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2018 2:12 pm
by Rvaughn
Nice article about a nice gesture. Thanks for posting.

I am a little curious about the wording on the marker "enslaved members of the First Baptist Church of Charleston whose names we do not know." My experience is finding that slaves who joined the churches were recorded in the membership books of the churches I've researched. Perhaps, though, this is referring to how they were usually only recorded by their given name and owner and just who they were is often lost to history.

Sounds like they had a very nice service.

Re: I like to see things like this...

PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2018 7:52 pm
by Dave Roberts
Also, after the Civil War, some churches in the South removed the names of former slaves from the church books since they had broken free of their master's shackles.

Re: I like to see things like this...

PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2018 10:21 pm
by Rvaughn
Thanks, Dave. I hadn't thought about that.

Re: I like to see things like this...

PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 6:40 am
by William Thornton
My first church, founded in 1804, had slave members and a small balcony where they sat when at church. After the war, they started their own church just down the road. The balcony was later removed. Both churches exist today. The old church minutes were not redacted.

Re: I like to see things like this...

PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 9:32 am
by Dave Roberts
I served a church that had over 100 slave members before the Civil War. There were no minutes from 1859 through 1867, but when the minutes resumed in 1868, there was no mention of the slave members or what had happened to them. Later, an African-American pastor and I reconstructed what we could to pretty solidly prove that their church was actually the daughter church of the one I was serving, but some did not want to acknowledge that relationship.

Re: I like to see things like this...

PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 11:37 am
by Sandy
I'm wondering if those names were simply lost during the long history of the First Baptist Church of Charleston. I did a paper on it as part of my Baptist history course at seminary and when I had a chance to visit I did. I've been back several times including to worship.

I'm just wondering if membership records were destroyed or lost at some point during the siege in the Civil War. The building was damaged by shelling, though it doesn't appear that there was any interruption of its function. But it could just be that this was the practice of this particular church.

Re: I like to see things like this...

PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 12:19 pm
by Haruo
It's even conceivable that the records were deliberately hidden. There were times and places in the antebellum South when it was illegal for slaves to join white churches even if the churches wanted them to. I think this was more common in plantation country than in cities, but still, the records might have been suppressed out of caution.

Re: I like to see things like this...

PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 1:18 pm
by Sandy
It's a good insight to the culture to see how slaves were treated by church members in the Antebellum South. They weren't just allowed to attend church, they were required to in most cases, and not just to tend to the needs of their owners. There's not really any consistency in that with Christian faith and Biblical teaching, though the cultural context of the Bible recognized the existence of it as a human institution and gave advice on how to handle it rather than advocating for ending it. The opposition to slavery also drew its principles from the Bible in their efforts to get rid of it.

Someone has to have written on this dichotomy of American Christian existence somewhere, any recommendations? I can't recall that I've ever seen anything specific.