In the South, Anglican ministers sponsored by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, founded in England, made earnest attempts to teach Christianity by rote memorization; the approach had little appeal.Some white owners allowed the enslaved to worship in white churches, where they were segregated in the back of the building or in the balconies.Standing apart from the dominant white society, yet engaged in a continuing dialogue with it, the church evolved with countless acts of faith and resistance, piety and protest. In its origins, the phrase was largely an academic category.
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In the 1780s, a slave named Andrew Bryan preached to a small group of slaves in Savannah, Ga. Despite persecution and harassment, the church grew, and by 1790 it became the First African Baptist Church of Savannah.
In time, a Second and a Third African Church were formed, also led by black pastors.
The term "the black church" evolved from the phrase "the Negro church," the title of a pioneering sociological study of African American Protestant churches at the turn of the century by W. African American Christians were never monolithic; they have always been diverse and their churches highly decentralized.
Today "the black church" is widely understood to include the following seven major black Protestant denominations: the National Baptist Convention, the National Baptist Convention of America, the Progressive National Convention, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church and the Church of God in Christ.