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Toolbox Library, primary resources thematically organized with notes and discussion questionsOnline Seminars, professional development seminars for history and literature teachersThe Making of African American Identity: Volume II, 1865-1917
The Making of African American Identity: Volume II, 1865-1917
Topic: FreedomTopic: IdentityTopic: InstitutionsTopic: PoliticsTopic: Forward
Topic: Institutions
Toolbox Overview: The Making of African American Identity: Volume II, 1865-1917
Resource Menu: Institutions
Text 1. Power
Text 2. Associations (I)
Text 3. Associations (II)
Text 4. Education
Text 5. Leadership
Text 6. Religion
» Reading Guide
•  Link

Text 7. Business
Text 8. Family
RESOURCE MENU » Reading Guide Link

Reading Guide
6.  Religion
- Laurie Maffly-Kipp, "African American Religion, Pt. II: From the Civil War to the Great Migration, 1865-1920," 2004, in Divining America: Religion in American History on TeacherServe© from the National Humanities Center
- William E. Mathews, Jr., "An Address Delivered in Baltimore on the Occasion of Our Semi-Centenary," 1866, in Rev. Benjamin T. Tanner, An Apology for African Methodism, 1867

   A. M. E. Bishops, 1876

The first selection, a secondary source, will illuminate and contextualize William Mathews's address. Written by a Fellow of the National Humanities Center, the essay discusses the differences between northern and southern African American churches during this period. It also provides valuable strategies for promoting student discussion and useful links to other online resources.

From William Mathews, a lay member of an African Methodist Episcopal church in Baltimore, we read a rousing summary of the growth of the African Methodist Episcopal Church from its European roots to the challenges it faces in 1866. He cites the growth of missionary societies, the value of church property, the number of ministers, etc. Imbued with evangelical fervor, he points out the work that remains to be done, naming specific reforms the Church must implement to carry out its special ministry to newly freed African Americans. 5 pages total.

Discussion questions
  1. As Prof. Maffly-Kipp explains, what challenges did African American churches face after the Civil War? What divided the churches? What unified them?
  2. Why does Mathews begin his address with the founding of Methodist Church in 19th-century England?
  3. What is the nature of the reforms he promotes? How do they relate to African Americans in the South?
  4. Why is he so insistent on an educated ministry?
  5. What, according to Mathews, is the A. M. E. Church's major achievement?
  6. What is its major role in postbellum America?

» Link

Topic Framing Questions
  •  What roles did institutions play in African American life at this time?
  •  In what ways did institutions shape and reflect African American identity?

Toolbox: The Making of African American Identity: Volume II, 1865-1917
Freedom | Identity | Institutions | Politics | Forward

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