The Importance of the African American Church Vote
The black church has been a place for creating individual, systemic, and political change within the black community. From its emergence in the late 18th century to its present day relevance, the black church has and will always serve as a safe haven for African Americans, a place to worship God together, and a place where we are motivated to rebuild our communities.

“Historically the Black church has played a significant role, even from the Voting Rights Act of 1965; it’s part of the DNA of the Black church,” said The Reverend Kevin Slayton Sr., of New Waverly Methodist Church, Baltimore, MD.

The involvement of churches in elections isn’t a foreign concept for Black people. Many churches in the US are advocating the importance of voting and trying to get their congregants to register and vote.

Pastors in the black church wield much influence in our community. They fill us up with wisdom, knowledge, and of the Word of God. Our pastors pray with and for us, provide resources and tools, even visit us when we are sick. Our pastors serve as our “elected” spiritual representatives.

W E. B. DuBois noted how its structure and achievements demonstrated “the ability of the civilized Negro to govern himself” Given the high level of segregation in the American religion and the need for Blacks to find independent spaces to develop socially and politically, the church became a prime location for these pursuits. An example of this is Wilberforce University, the oldest private Black university, which was founded by the African Methodist Episcopal Church, in 1856. Further, the Black abolitionist movement was developed in the church. Prominent Black abolitionists, such as Richard Allen and Henry Highland Garnett were also prominent ministers. Further, many of the early Black Baptist associations were formed with an emphasis on supporting the abolitionist movement.

By being the center of Black spiritual, social and political life, the Black church also became central in shaping Black political thought. Because of its ability to break down class barriers, scholars argue that churches play a strong role in helping the race develop a sense of connectedness.

As President Obama stated in his Eulogy for Sen. Pinckney, “That’s what the black church means. Our beating heart. the place where our dignity as a people is inviolate.” So, with this said, it is critical that the black church vote and partake in continuing to the build the community as a whole.

Sources include: afro.com and the western political science association
 

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