Churches: The Faith of Soul & Slavery

For millions of white Americans, the televised services for the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. at Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church marked their first opportunity to observe the soul and spirit of the black man's Christian faith. Compared with the austere and stately worship at most mainstream Protestant or Roman Catholic churches, the funeral service was almost unbearably emotional. The simple, old-fashioned hymns, sung with tearful intensity by the church choir, were pure "soul"; a succession of black-robed speakers praised the memory of Dr. King in fustian oratory rich with Biblical imagery. In effect,...

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