The Negro church presents an important field of investigation to students of American social history. Many slaves found in Christianity a substitute for primitive African religious beliefs and practices and a source for the satisfaction of their religious longings. The churches offered to the American Negro his first opportunities for participation in organized group life in a new environment. Experience in church organization and activity trained thousands of slaves for the larger fields of effort which were opened to them after emancipation. Approximately one-tenth of the present total membership of the American churches belongs to this race. For more than three centuries the church has served as the most important factor in typing the institutions and ideals of our largest minority racial group.
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