Levine by African-Americans. Levine states that “black preachers

thinks that the Africans taken from their culture and forced to be a slave for
whites was something he did not agree with. Stated by Levine “the sacred world
of the slaves was not confined to Christianity.” He also states that “the
slaves’ sacred folk beliefs may not have been part of their formal religion,
but they were religious beliefs nonetheless, and many slaves would have had
some difficulty disentangling the web that bound their formal creed and their
folk religion into an intelligible whole.”

            Levine felt that the
African-Americans created this form of religious believe because Christianity
was mostly involved with white people, during the 1930s-gospel music started to
become the most important black religious music ever created by African-Americans.
Levine states that “black preachers themselves could embody the full spectrum
of religious beliefs.” Many of the slaves enhanced his authority because they
strongly believed that a Christian preacher could “raise the spirits” and use
the charm he wore to become invisible whenever he was threatened stated Levine.
Traditional beliefs and practices were facilitated by the African slaves to
Christianity, many white Christians did not like the fact that slaves would go
to their Christian churches because they felt that blacks were “savages” since
they felt that Christianity was only for whites not blacks. Since then the
years to come they had to accommodate their religious beliefs to the demands of
a harsh economic social system. According to Levine “if the possibilities of
syncretism with European folk beliefs and the relative absence of competing
religious before 1800 fostered the slaves’ sacred folk beliefs the dependent
situation they found themselves in was no less important.”  African slaves had not many saying in what
they wanted to do and slaves were not dependent upon whites as many have imagined,
many slaves used folk beliefs as a protection and preservation of health. Many
slaves took precautions even without a sign of beating, some slaves would carry
voodoo bags to protect themselves from whites.

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            Many people that were motivated by
the rooted religion felt that it was only whites right to have religion. According
to Levine “in the 1712 slave insurrection in New York, the conspirators bound
themselves to secrecy by sucking the blood of each other’s hands and were given
still greater determination by a free Negro sorcerer who distributed a powder
which when rubbed on their clothing would make them invulnerable” Many blacks would
sing when they felt that they needed closure or wanting to get closer to God,
they would go to church most of the time when they were not doing labor for
their masters and they would spread the word of God. Religion was big just like
freedom to the blacks they wanted to have their rights to freedom and their
rights to freedom, even though only a very few blacks had it many of them did
not. Cultural marginality was unknown and not available to most

            Levine would study what he calls
Afro-American culture during the antebellum and postbellum periods by studying
African-American songs that they sang, folktales they would share to one
another, how they would joke with each other, and how they would interact with
one another when doing activities, singing, or playing games. Levine believed
that these are functions that the black community created in order to get to
know each other and to have their own believes as well as to make their own
black culture. Blacks would talk in “bad English” as Levine stated (Pg. 152)
“but whether or not there have been structural barriers to the acquisition of
standard English, there can be no question of the existence of cultural
barriers.” By the twentieth century religion grew and so did the dilemma grew
to be, stated by Levine “whatever direction Afro-American language practices
take in the future, the patterns of change since emancipation seem to suggest
that the movement until now has been in the direction of diglossia or
bi-dialectics, the use of different languages.”

            Many songs that the blacks would
write and sing were thought to be songs for the devil or it would look
suspiciously like a surrogate for the white men stated Levine. This is part of
a song a slave wrote according to Levine “if we put away our worries And think
of good along the way Just take the whole world as you find it And try to live
one day each day Life can be beautiful if you live it right today.” Gospel
songs remained a sustaining and encouraging thing for religion and the blacks,
many of these songs verbalized ideas and attitudes and was very important to
add it to the lyrics. Levine wrote that an Alabama minister said, “A box,” he
roared. “A guitar! One of the devil’s playthings. Take it away.” Many people
felt that certain instruments and any type of song that was not gospel music or
any type of content that was not “good” or religious was the devils work.

            Traditional Afro-American religion
and music styles of the twentieth-century was of the black community. Stated by
Levine “while the message of black gospel music manifested the dissolution of
the traditional sacred world and a high degree of acculturation to a modern
religious consciousness.” They would sing ad write not just gospel music and
such but also detailed moralistic tales of slaves and freedom. People believed
that if you believed in god and spread the word of him that salvation was there
for everybody no matter what, they believed that he would forgive. Levine
stated that “this transformation of jesses is symptomatic of the slaves’
selectivity in choosing those parts of the bible which were to serve as the
basis of their religious consciousness.” Whites would think that blacks had
their own god and they had their own god as well all because they were black.
Levine studied all of this information, the wat blacks thought about religion,
their music and how they acted among each other as well as how whites felt
about it all during that time. Levine showed in his book the truth of many
things that many people did not know including myself.


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