By Jr. Walter F. Pitts, Vincent L. Wimbush
This significant new examine of the African origins of African-American kinds of worship relies on wide fieldwork in black Baptist church buildings in rural Texas. Pitts, a pupil of anthropology and linguistics and a church pianist, performed at and recorded various worship prone over a interval of 5 years. via old comparisons and linguistic research of this fabric, Pitts uncovers extraordinary parallels among "Afro-Baptist" companies and the non secular rituals of Western and principal Africa, in addition to different African-derived rituals within the usa Sea Islands, the Caribbean, and Brazil. elevating the concept that of formality body, he unearths the binary constitution underlying African and African-American worship: the somber depression of the 1st body and the excessive emotion of the second one body are either necessary to the success of that constitution. within the procedure, Pitts creates a memorable portrait of this important but misunderstood element of African-American tradition. With a Foreword through Vincent Wimbush.
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Extra info for Old Ship of Zion: The Afro-Baptist Ritual in the African Diaspora
Praying louder as she continues, Sister Pearson moves other congregants to sway to the rhythm of her voice, keeping time with their church fans and responsive Amens: This evening, O Heavenly Father, I come to You in the humblest manner that I know how. I come, Lord Jesus, with a humble heart and a bowed head. I call upon Your name, Lord Jesus, because I know no other name to call. Lord Jesus, bless the ones that are here under the sound of my weak voice. O Heavenly Father, we might be few, Lord, but You said where there are two or three gathered in My Name, You would be in the midst.
During the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, American colonists in the South were uninterested in, if not opposed to, converting their chattel to Christianity for several reasons. Their paramount objection to conversion was economic: white slave owners feared that Christian values would undermine the "peculiar institution" of slavery (Burnim 1980: 54-55): "The process of slave conversion was blocked by major obstacles, not the least of which was the antipathy of the colonists themselves.
L. Pearson, pastor, who chastises his young members from the pulpit about their lateness. In his late sixties, gray-haired, and balding Pastor Pearson reminds his musicians, who do not play their instruments during Devotion, that attendance at this part of worship is mandatory. Pastor Pearson, a part-time carpenter as well as the leader of his flock, is especially proud of the new glowing plexiglas windows he and the deacons installed. The glow they create spreads over the bloodred carpet covering the center aisle that leads to the dais and the pulpit.
Old Ship of Zion: The Afro-Baptist Ritual in the African Diaspora by Jr. Walter F. Pitts, Vincent L. Wimbush