Foundations of Faith
From the first independent congregations established by free Black people in the early 1800s to contemporary churches, temples, mosques, and synagogues, African Americans have built and developed diverse religious institutions. These institutions served the spiritual as well as the social needs of their communities, providing spaces for worship and connection—for fellowship—and establishing networks of care for those in need. Many also served as schools for religious as well as secular education, and as bases for political activism and moral leadership in the struggle for freedom, civil rights, and social justice. Spiritual beliefs and faith practices offered hope and comfort, sustained the will to resist oppression, and instilled values of self-determination and pride.
We considered it our duty to devise a plan in order to build a house of our own, to worship God under our own vine and fig tree.
Richard Allen and Daniel Coker, founders of the African Methodist Episcopal Church
We look with eyes of faith beyond our human tragedy and see God . . . . The voice of God sets our unconquerable soul on fire.
Nannie Helen Burroughs
Muslims, Christians, Jews, and others share basic values and a belief in a virtuous life that wants justice and peace for all.
Imam W. Deen Mohammed
From humble beginnings in the home of the formerly enslaved Bridget “Biddy” Mason, the First African Methodist Episcopal Church of Los Angeles has grown into one of the largest, most prominent churches in the African American community.