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Black Church Studies

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Historically Black Protestant Congregations

Black Protestant churches are those that minister to predominantly African American congregations in the United States. The first black churches were founded by free blacks in the 18th century. Historically black churches have long been the centers of communities, serving numerous important functions.

  • While the religious-meaning system and social organization of these denominations are similar to those found in white evangelical denominations, African American Protestants emphasize different aspects of Christian doctrine, especially the importance of freedom and the quest for justice. Black Protestants tend to be liberal on economic attitudes and conservative on social issues.

  • The states with the highest population of black protestants are the District of Columbia, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and Tennessee (collectively have 1,302,149 adherents (as of 2020).

The seven larger Black Protestant denominations are (as listed by ARDA):

For more information regarding historically black protestant congregations see below:

Association of Religion Data Archives: Black Protestant - Religious Tradition

Documenting the American South: The Church in the Southern Black Community

Pew Research Center: Historical Black Protestantism

Pew Research Center: Religious Portrait of African Americans

LPTS Black Church Studies LibGuide

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