Most of the first Black congregations and churches formed before 1800 were founded by free Blacks. The oldest Black Baptist church in Kentucky, and third oldest in the United States, was founded about 1790 by the slave Peter Durrett.
After slavery was abolished, segregationist attitudes in both the North and the South discouraged and even prevented African-Americans from worshiping in the same churches as Whites. Freed Blacks most often established congregations and church facilities separate from their white neighbors, who were often their former masters. These new churches created communities and worship practices that were culturally distinct from other churches, including unique and empowering forms of Christianity that hybridized African spiritual traditions. [Read more…]