African American Spirituality Essay
The peoples grace towards God is manifested in the foundation of the spirituality bestowed upon them. Flora Wilson Bridges is a minister working in a Spellman college at the Fisk University. Her work manifests the African American spirituality in the expression of the black languishes. The core foundations of the society are considered having believed in God as being the creator (Bridges, 67). The descendants in the America had to fight for their freedom as they put their trust in church to see them through the most difficult moments. Various symbols of social justice have been discussed such as, Martin Luther King jr. Harriet Tubman and Malcolm X
Slavery is seen to be a social malady that manifest among the society of the blacks in America. This made the churches and political affiliations to question the progress of this notion as, it pertains the civil rights that is entitled to human beings. Slaves were viewed to be subjects to the masters who regarded them as being properties. The double contradiction that emanates is the belief bestowed upon the religion and the idealized liberty.
In the history of the world, slavery has touched nearly every part of the world. U.S. legacy of slavery commenced as early as 14th century, when. This was the era when Africa slaves were captures by the Spanish and Portugal’s. (Bridges, 73). When African slaves revolted against their masters, they were severely punished. Fifty-four slaves mutiny on a ship owned by the Spanish was an exception.
The fifty-four Africans were kidnapped in West Africa and sold to Spanish. They were transported to Cuba, classified as Cuban slaves, and sold to Spaniards. They were then loaded on the schooner Amistad, which was going to Haiti. Cinque and the other trader were charged with murder. The Amistad Committee organized a legal defense that sought the slaves’ freedom. President Martin Van Buren of United States pressed Spain to return the slaves without trial.
The heart of African American spirituality comes from the African origins of the enslaved. These slaves were brought to the West in chains to help the white in their various activities. Flora Wilson Bridges tries to reflect “African retentions” from their manifestations in Africa. His study involves presence of African slave in the American communities and in Black churches today. The uniqueness that was in African-American spirituality had a great influence on many of the black leaders for example, Howard Thurman, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. Bridges also shows how these African backgrounds were portrayed in the black film and literature.
Human spirit is seen to be involved in the endless cycle of birth, of living and dying.. African are known to believe in deciding what one believes and to prepare for the day when we they would die. Being with a clear picture of where people are going and who we dwell and might be met is an essential part of the process. African Americans still remember the old ways of their culture; they have remained in touch with their own greater community of ancestors. White Christian concepts taught the blacks that God did not care for them and that he disregarded and ignored them. In the Black Christian church, the past African customs can still be seen and felt. The African customs manifest itself in many ways in the African-American churches. Some of the most unique ways are the beliefs that relates to death and the life after death. In the African community their death is perceived as a rite of passage where the soul of parson usually passes into another part of existence. The soul has been seen to abandon the material world and, passes over into the spiritual world. One can prepare for death, experience it, and this should be acknowledged, rather than ignoring as it is in the modern-day American Christians of European decent.
The role played by the religion and the church serves as an outer format through which death is handled. African-American view the body and spirit as one and the physical body should be guarded as much as the spirit. At death body is well prepared, anointed with oil and bathed. The appearance of a person, when is very important for it is used to comfort the dying person and his attendants. Doing this is seen as assisting the spirit in its transition and the family may include the bereaved to be among the ancestral family.
Thus family in the African community is seen one branch of the cosmological Tree of Life. In this view spirituality is used in all understandings of oneself, the reality, and the divinity. How the person will be after the transition is directly connected to their thoughts, actions and preparation while they were still on earth. There is an effort of reintegrating the demise of a given individual so that the strength of the community is realized.
Difference in cultural roots can well explain why Europeans were successful in coming to Africa to establish an international slave-trade.
The Black education in post-slavery provided the present slaves with some form of skills and citizenship training so that they could participate in a society which was democratic. This education could help in intellectual, moral and spiritual development. The responsible leadership that arose from this later one, organized masses and led them to search for equality and freedom. Black principals acted as agents of change as they fought against theories of inferiority and blatant resistance to the education. Racial pride, self-esteem, and self-respect were instilled as a form of resistance to inferiority.
African knew that they were different from the white i.e. In America; various individuals associate the death with Christianity that conforms to the traditions. Family and community experience a transition as one of their member do passes to the next world. The word dying is often not used and mostly they use passing on or to make a transition’ (Bridges, 77). Unifying aspect can also be seen in the African cycle concept; the past and present are eternally linked together. This was considered consist of birth, puberty, initiation, marriage, procreation, old age, death, community of the departed entry and being accepted in the community of spirits. Dead ancestors are taken to be a part of the living African-American community.
The ancestors plays the role of leadership and are available to the living for advise, discipline enforcement on unruly, and in the aid of the dying. It was believed an ancestor could visit someone in a dream so as to take precautions of the befalling. Dying family members may sometimes be heard communicating with people who are already dead died.
Slavery is seen to allow the development of capitalism that manifested in the US. This makes the subjects to be victims of moral obscurity. This defined slavery to presume the form of a closed system. Slaves had no freedom to express their opinions, family life, and the rights of marriage. Indeed there was a denial of the elementary human need.
The need to bring social equity has to be evaluated in terms of negative stereotyping developed among fellow citizens. The realization of various cultures suffices the need to embrace human justice to fellow individuals. As stipulated by Franklin and Martin Luther king junior, they advocated for self criticism and raising above inferiority complex in tandem with realization of the purpose of living as equal human beings. The leaders have to embrace social justice. These missions have an advantage of ensuring that harmony exists even as the world tends to be a global village. The interaction between people from various spheres enables globalization to take forefront which improves the economy of member nations. Spirituality tends to harmonize the relationship of people from various backgrounds and realize each as equal individuals. Despite this, the challenges that may emanate may be due to tendency to rely of others. There is need to rise above the occasion and fend for ones need rather than depending on the affirmations.
In conclusion, there are the pros and cons that emanate in line with embracing spirituality among the Africa –American in the 21st century in trying to assist citizens of California. The pros include; the spirituality brings the aspect of solace amongst people’s heart. Most depressed and those looked down upon would find the new hope and rekindle their aspirations. The church strengthens the foundations of the family and, in cases where the minority such as, the women were mistreated would realize the new paradigm shift of human equality. Spirituality has been associated with the mental functioning and would help in well being of the citizens. This is in tandem with reducing feeling of depression that faces various individuals. The cons that emerge in this quest, is the fact that spirituality would tend to integrate passion and comparison that would make the citizens to be relational. In addition, some citizens may fear this approach may bring about equality and take away their freedom.